Originally scheduled for September 8
Have you ever noticed that human beings are
absolutely addicted to gardens? If you take a look at a typical
suburban home, you’ll find that it is fairly well landscaped. Some
people are absolutely addicted to gardening, and their houses are
showcases. Others of us are a little more casual about it; if we can
keep the grass growing in a green color, that is sufficient. But
most of us do appreciate the sense of living in a garden.
Those who rent office space are well aware of
this. If you notice, the more expensive a building is, the more
likely it is to have very creative gardening. The cheap building is
content with the lawn, or perhaps one or two palm trees at the
entrance. The expensive building will have exotic greenery and
places for people to sit down and eat their lunch.
It seems we like living and working in the
garden. It may be because of the common stress of our time; gardens
are soothing places. It may simply be that we take pleasure in a
well ordered bit of greenery. Who can really say?
We find gardens in the Scripture; in
particular, there are two which are very prominent.
The Garden of Eden is the first. We
still use the phrase today to describe a paradise. It was a place
which was pure and had no sin — until we introduced it. The garden
of paradise can contain no sinners.
The Garden of Gethsemane is the
other. It is a garden of this sinful world, but like many such
gardens it is a place of comfort. If we left Eden because of our
sin, Christ entered Gethsemane for the same reason.
Christ went to Gethsemane to pray. It would
seem the gardens are somehow connected with our deepest needs.
In the scene in the garden of Gethsemane we see
Christ as he prepares to be our sacrifice on the cross. In some ways
this is very comforting to us because it shows us that Christ is
human, as we are. He is human because he sought out the comfort of
the garden in the night of his greatest need.
He is human also because of his prayer; he
asked his Father that the agony before him might not arrive in that
he be relieved of it. He prayed, “let this cup pass from me.” I
think most of us would ask the same thing.
He is human because he sought comfort and
courage, and did so in a place where he thought he would best be
heard by the Father — in a garden.
We are often encouraged to remember the
suffering and agony of Christ. Much of that suffering was in
anticipation of the next day’s events. So I will ask you to remember
the agony of the night before the crucifixion suffered in the midst
of the beauty of the garden. We may see the comfort that God gives
to those who suffer in the fact that Christ suffered beginning in
the garden. When you partake today, remember that God does limit
your suffering and grant you comfort, just as he did for Christ in