On Lent and Sabbath

While our pastor is on sabbatical, I’ve been thinking a lot about Sabbath keeping. In my classes in seminary, professors would mention from time to time the importance of making rest time for yourself in the week – to refocus, reconnect with God, and rest like God rested from all the work of creating throughout the week.

I’m a horrible Sabbath-keeper.

I’ve decided to take  up gardening as a hobby- and as a way to help me become a better Sabbath keeper. I spent some time at the library last week and I learned about gardening tools, soils, containers, and different kinds of plants.

I’ve been interested in gardening as long as I can remember, ever since Mary Lennox asked Mr. Craven if she might have a bit of earth.

As soon as is read the last word and closed the cover of my favorite book, I just had to have a Secret Garden of my own.

Me: ” Mom,might I have a bit of earth?”

Mom: ” What?”

Me: ” Can I have a garden?”

My mom eagerly agreed and the next day my dad and I hit the supermarket. I picked out a spade, trowel and hand rake, along with a few seeds and I went straight to my bit of earthin the back yard to dig, till, and plant.

I deeply enjoy gardening. My problem with gardening, ever since I was very young has always been waiting.

When I was five, my parents let me help them plant carrots. Every day thereafter I would go to the garden and dig them up to see if they were ready.

My mom would say “you have to wait.”

And, even now at 31, when the bulbs are safely nestled in the dirt, the seeds are sown, and the carrots are planted; there’s no more excitement, no more playing in the dirt, no wielding awesome tools.

Just waiting.

But, at the end of the waiting, a beautiful flower, a lush earthy fern, a delectable carrot – the fruits of all  that waiting, burst up from the ground, creating new life, new beauty, new places to find God at work.

This year, I won’t fizzle out and get bored while I wait for blooms and shoots, because I have learned that in the process of waiting, things still happen.

If you brush a thick coat of yogurt onto a terra cotta pot, after about a week outside it attracts lichen and algae, making a weathered patina that will perfectly showcase the flowers growing inside.

While seedlings take root and blooms prepare to unfold, rocks can be collected and painted, or stacked and sculpted into garden accents which will welcome new blooms with a woodsy coziness.

In the waiting, the vessels become beautiful in preparation to receive the beauty that’s to come.

During the season of Lent, we wait. We look into ourselves as we ask God to show us where our lives need less of the world and more of Christ. We journey through a time of reflection and self-examination, as we allow God to make us beautiful vessels to receive the hope of Christ in the Easter to come. Thanks be to God.


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