Common Ground, Holy Ground
In Revelation 22, John describes the garden of Eden in a fully restored state. Except it’s no longer simply a garden, but a garden within a city where the tree of life spans both sides of a crystal clear river. The whole image is breathtaking, but the part of the description that captures me most is the leaves on the tree of life, which are “for the healing of the nations.”
We need those leaves…now. We need them even more than the leaves of an aloe plant that heal our summer vacation burns. (Are those leaves? What does an aloe plant look like anyway? I digress.) From Israel and Palestine to Russia and the Ukraine and even our own backyards, we need healing. We need a reason to come together.
It makes sense that it would be the leaves that hold the healing. Gardens and the plants they inhabit have always brought people together. Last year, my son and I planted a garden for the first time with the help of my dad. My thumbs aren’t the greeniest of green, so I needed to enlist some help.
Every day we helped each other remember to water the plants, and together, we watched the leaves grow and vegetables form. And eventually, the best part came. We ate. Juice ran down our chins and we laughed, and we felt proud that we had been part of making something grow – together.
Over the weekend I finished reading Jen Hatmaker’s book “7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess” and in it she tells the story of her family’s first garden which they planted with the help of a super cool organization called the KP Project. Jen writes,
“Some of us were on the streets three months ago, some of us have master’s degrees, lots of us are battling addictions, and all of us have failed, but the ground is leveled when together we turn the soil, plant the seeds, cut back the leaves, pluck a perfectly gorgeous tomato, each learning the same ancient practices that have sustained humanity since Eden. The earth brings us together. It is common ground that is becoming holy ground.“
Until Eden is fully restored, we need reasons to practice coming together. We need opportunities to remember that we’re so much better together than we are on our own. This year, I did the gardening by myself…most if it died while we were on vacation because I forgot to ask our neighbors if they would throw a little water over the fence. Lesson learned – again.
We’re better together! What are you growing in this season of your life? And, more importantly, who are you growing it with?