Musings from the Manse-Week17 12/07/20

Gardening edition. This year I have been very much into gardening. It is very satisfying growing your own produce. It was also very timely as lock down was being introduced and there was a real fear of food shortages. Well pasta and tomato- based product at least. So, we began digging for victory and hoped to have some basic supplies. Other people had the same idea there was a scarcity of seeds and growing medium. I just got mine in on time. I can grow things alright it’s the finer details that are the challenge; pricking out the seedlings and cutting out growing points. I kind of want to give all the plants a chance, it seems a shame to weed out the smaller ones. Then there is the battle with slugs and snails and all kinds of leaf diseases. We find several references to gardens in the Bible here are three.

The first garden “The LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden, and there He put the man whom He had formed. And out of the ground the LORD God made every tree grow that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The Tree of Life was also in the midst of the Garden, and the tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Now a river went out of Eden to water the garden.” Genesis 2:8-10

God is the Master Designer, not only of you and me, and of the world in which we live but also of the first garden. It must have been beautiful as every tree was ‘pleasant to the sight’. It was irrigated by the river. It was productive – trees were ‘good for food’ Possibly it was enclosed – sadly we know this as after Adam and Eve ate of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. God ‘drove then out’ of Eden and a Cherubim was placed in the way to keep them from re- entering we know Fig trees grew there – Adam and Eve made the first clothing from fig leaves sewn together. No apple trees are mentioned although tradition says that Eve gave of this fruit to Adam. However, some scholars say it was more likely to have been a pomegranate. As a result of Adam and Eve’s disobedience and subsequent banishment from the Garden of Eden, the face of gardening and diet changed: Instead of just wandering round

tending and admiring the garden Adam and Eve had to work the land, and work hard ploughing and sowing and reaping to feed themselves. The original Eden is synonymous with a place of perfect beauty, tranquillity, and flawless design.

The garden in the Song of Solomon One that is described in most detail is found in the Song of Solomon. This book of the Bible is full of imagery and symbolism much of which the reader of its day could identify with. In Song of Solomon 4:12-16, the garden is described as an enclosed garden. It has spring water and a fountain. There is an orchard of Pomegranates. There are fragrant plants and herbs growing within the garden: From other references within the Book, we can assume the pleasant fruit to eat could be Apples, Figs, and Grapes. Bees are not mentioned but the evidence of their presence is ie. Honey and Honeycomb. This amazing garden is almost a reference to Paradise.

Gethsemane One of the most significant gardens of the Bible must Gethsemane. It was a place well-known to the Disciples of the Lord Jesus, as He met often with them there. On the evening that Jesus celebrates the Passover meal with His disciples He and eleven of His disciples go to the garden. And it is here we witness one of the saddest events of Jesus’ earthly life, the betrayal by His disciple Judas Iscariot, and His subsequent arrest. Within hours, the Crucifixion takes place. In the Garden of Gethsemane, the closing chapter of the plan of redemption begins. The only path to the restoration of fellowship between God and humanity. After the account of the Crucifixion we read of one other Garden. The Tomb where Nicodemus laid the body of the Lord Jesus was in a Garden (John 19:41) When Mary Magdalene goes there, she meets someone she assumes is the Gardener, but it is the Lord, risen from the dead! (John 20:15).

Andrew and Jill