Creation Time Day 7

august-at-mottistone-manor

It may seem strange to some to include gardens in this celebration of the creation. Since the rise of industrialisation and the claustrophobic atmosphere of the crowded cities it created in Europe in the early 19th century, there’s been a romantic tendency to regard the wildness of (apparently) uncultivated country, the mountains, jungles and savannahs, and also the oceans , of the world as more authentically natural and awesomely beautiful than human- influenced spheres like gardens.Yet the garden is a place where human creativity and co-operation with the natural world come together with life-enhancing result.To adapt a line from a children’s hymn : think of a world without any gardens!

Creating and working a garden is a source of huge satisfaction and fulfilment, emotional and spiritual, to many people as well as an underrated substitute for expensive gym fees! Gardening is a recognised form of therapy promoting psychological well-being.You do not need to be a house dweller to do gardening- there are many volunteering opportunities as community gardens are developed – or you might get involved in creating one in a neglected public area. And millions of people all over the world find retreat and refreshment for their soul visiting a beautiful garden. All of the senses may be engaged in a garden.

Spiritual writings in many faith traditions extol the garden as a foretaste on earth of the divine home. The Christian Bible begins its story of God’s purpose for humanity in the Garden of Eden and ends in the heavenly city, which with its river of life and its trees of many fruits with leaves for the healing of the nations, is clearly a garden city. (Revelation 22).

This photograph is of the garden at National Trust property Mottistone Manor in the Isle of Wight.

“God writes the gospel not in the Bible alone, but on trees and flowers and clouds and stars” Martin Luther, (1483-1546) , Christian theologian and church reformer.

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