As the weather’s been a bit better, I’ve ventured out to the garden to see what’s what. It looks like there are a lot of dead things everywhere. As Spring is a season of new things appearing, it doesn’t look right to have all the dead branches remaining alongside the new green shoots. So I’ve been bravely cutting them off. Whilst I am mindful of the slightly negative comment I once heard that gardening is just ‘housework outside,’ I also remember the wise words of my mother, that it’s worth gardening since just one hour in the garden produces instant results. After some time of bravely cutting things off, the garden looks better. What’s more important, the living things now have more room to grow.
This is a great illustration for Lent. Christians remember the forty days that Jesus went into the desert to be tempted, and use this period of the year for greater spiritual reflection. Spiritual reflection is about spending more time looking at things with God. This can seem like a waste of time, but actually by paying attention to things, we see life differently. We start to slow down. We may start to see that there are some things which are stopping new life getting through. We may even be brave and allowing God to cut some of these dead things off. This is so that there is more room for new things to grow.
You might be giving up chocolate, or alcohol, or something else. You might even be taking something on. Whatever you do (or don’t do), I encourage you to use this time to slow down, to let God speak to you, and show you whatever he wants to do in your life. The Bible calls us ‘his masterpiece’ and there is much that God marvels about in your life. May this Lent be a time when the Divine Gardener can speak to you and show you the green shoots he is growing in you.