The spirituality of gardening

PHOTO: Contributed

“The best place to find God is in a garden,”  wrote George Bernard Shaw. The Green Thumbs gardening group at Beach United Church would definitely agree with this statement.  

Gardens take many forms and a walk up and down the streets of the Beach attest to this. At Beach United Church the garden wraps around the building and is filled with  a myriad of different plants and shrubs: all of which have a story to tell.

The native plants tell the story of the natural habitats that flourished in a time before humankind  re-shaped the land into a cityscape. If you walk by our garden on Wineva Avenue, there are native grasses swaying gently in the breeze. These grasses will keep growing skyward and eventually show-off their feathery flower heads. They remind us of the First Nations peoples that paddled through the waters and reeds of this former wetland paradise.

All the plants in the BUC garden are perennials, coming  back year after year. It is a resurrection of sorts, as first the crocus and then the daffodils push through the earth, which might still be dusted with snow.  A garden helps us to stay in touch with the rhythms of the seasons and the cycles of our spirits. Spirits that are nurtured by both the bright shining light and the womb-like darkness.

Tending a garden can be a spiritual practice, as we become attuned to the energy of life which pulses within our earth home. Gardening involves not only the entire body in the physical act of planting but also the mind and spirit. As our muscles work, our hands get dirty, our minds are released from the commonplace, then our spirits are free to soar.

Gardening draws us deeply into the present moment, as we focus on a particular task. It might have a repetitive rhythm, such digging, which help us let those concerns of our lives take a back seat for a time. Often when we re-engage after a garden sojourn, something has shifted and perhaps our perspective is changed.  

The BUC garden is watered by the rain and melting snow, not by hose pipes!  Our wise woman of the garden has taught us that you need to encourage the roots to grow deep. External watering coaxes the roots to stay too close to the surface where they are vulnerable when the soil dries out. Deep roots sustain the plant through drought, just as deep spiritual roots sustain us through challenging times in our lives.  

Gardening grounds us in the earth  and connects us with the community of breathing creatures. We all inhale the same air, of which every molecule of oxygen in the planet comes from plants and is completely recycled by living organisms every two thousand years. We breathe today the same air once breathed by those ancient cedars of Lebanon, praised by the psalmist. It is a spiritual wonder, and Albert Einstein said “My sense of God is my sense of wonder.”

Working in a small garden plot in this corner of planet earth connects us with the dynamic forces of life that permeate this universe. In such moments we are blessed.

False Meeting Notice

Beach United Church is asking the community at large to disregard an event called ‘Community Discussion’ being advertised as happening at our church. This is a hoax event being promoted by an individual who has no association with our church. We find the material being “discussed” highly offensive and in direct opposition to our beliefs.

Our Open Doors series invites faith leaders from the Beaches Ministerial Association to submit columns on a regular basis.

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