My brother has removed the high and low electrical fencing around his garden. The high fence is to keep out deer and the low one discourages raccoons. Similar measures would be necessary in suburban areas.
It’s time to leave the garden. Frost has nipped the tomatoes. Icy fingered Jack won’t appear in the southern Midwest until later; nevertheless the waning sun-hours have slowed the production from the jungle of vines that passes for my tomato patch.
In the Garden of Eden there would have been no need for high and low fencing. Only after Adam and Eve’s disobedience against God did humanity and “nature” become adversaries, reflecting the gulf between God and the crown of his creation.
Augustine writes, “[Adam] was condemned and received a field like himself, for God said, ‘thorns and thistles it shall bring forth.’” Augustine continues, “The same God who creates man and makes him man also [mercifully] cultivates man and guards him so that he may be good and happy.”
As Augustine writes, we are like the field full of thorns and thistles. In Christ, God is the gardener in our life. In effect, Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane that if it was the Father’s will he would become a gardener in our lives, he would obey. In behalf of the crown of God’s creation he wore a crown of the thorns of the field. He was buried in a garden. After he arose, he appeared to Mary as the gardener.
The Holy Spirit has planted the seed of the Christ’s word in us. He has watered it in baptism and fertilized with his continual word and his body and blood. The Holy Spirit hoes and weeds the thorns and thistles that grow in our lives. He will continue to do so until that day we awake to discover that we are walking by a stream flowing from the “throne of God and of the Lamb.” As we walk down that boulevard, there will be growing tree of life, with for the healing of all the ills that beset the nations of the world.
We do well to keep that Garden in mind when next spring we go to create a bit of Eden in our yards. As we weed, come to understand that the Spirit is doing the same in our lives.