Starter Prayer: Creator God, a True Gardener: take me on a seeing tour of the garden of my soul. Show me hidden things I need to see for encouragement, enjoyment and health.
Focus Phrase: Sacred Garden
Optional Read-along: Water, Wind, Earth and Fire pp. 116b-120a (Chapter Three: Sister Earth, Section: Secret Garden.)
My mother, my grandmother and my mother-in-law are all true gardeners. I am a fake gardener. I have a green thumb, healthy houseplants and vibrant patio pots. What I don’t have is the commitment and constancy to plant and tend larger spaces on my hands and knees.
If you are a true, earthly gardener you’ll see yourself in this passage from Vigen Guroian: I have said on occasion that I think gardening is nearer to godliness than theology… True gardeners are both iconographers and theologians insofar as these activities are the fruit of prayer “without ceasing.” Likewise, true gardeners never cease to garden, not even in their sleep, because gardening is not just something they do. It is how they live.
A garden is that earthy place in between the wild and the cultivated (Christine Valters Paintner). So too it is with the soul. Our souls are a mix of well-tended beauty, accidents of nature, weedy-rough and sometimes neglected, overgrown and in need of care and water.
For reflection: What does your inner garden look like? Is it carefully ordered and cultivated or wild and unruly? What kinds of plants grow there? What memories of gardens do you have? What role have they played in your life?
For prayer practice: Take a walk through your neighborhood as a journey of discovery. Watch for beautiful weeds, small hidden gardens, grass sprouting from concrete. Georgia O’Keeffe says that “seeing takes time.” Take time to see. Take photos. Reflect on gardens over time.
Be encouraged in your practice,
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This daily devotion is part of the Summer Growth Journey: Learning to Pray with Nature with Crossroads Church. Many of us are also reading through Water, Wind, Earth & Fire: The Christian Practice of Praying with the Elements by Christine Valters Paintner. To purchase a copy, or for more information, email us at [email protected].