Monday, July 3, 2017
Jeff Lampl

How Life with God is Found in the Garden
Why Kathy and I Like to Garden and How God is Behind Every One of Our Motivations 

Part 4  What Violets Have Taught Us

Read Revelation 2:8
“Write this letter to the angel of the church in Smyrna. This is the message from the one who is the First and the Last, who was dead but is now alive:” 

Violets and Smyrna   (read the 1st three ways that God ‘speaks’ in the garden here and here and here)

Smyrna, a city in what is now modern-day Turkey, was destroyed in 600 BC only to be ‘resurrected’ by the inspiration of Alexander the Great in the third century BC.  It couldn’t be killed!  The city became a metaphor for the death and resurrection of Jesus (Rev. 2:8)
On our patio wild violets with white flowers have appeared.  Since we didn’t plant them and since they didn’t fit into our planting scheme, I weed whacked them.  But they kept coming back.  Then I’d whack them some more.  But they just came back to life.  I couldn’t kill them.   The spread faster than I could whack them.
One day I noticed that they actually looked kind of nice.  In fact, in some places they looked nicer than what I had planted.  So, I told Kathy that we should leave them and work our plans around them.   But Kathy wasn’t on board with this idea, so I went back to whacking them, until once again they had taken over.
Then I realized what was happening.  Beauty, unasked for, undeserved, unmerited, at first unrecognized, was coming to us.  It was relentless. It couldn’t be stopped.  Beauty had decided to invade our lives!
What to do?  I decided to work my plans around the beauty that was given.  The result?  We now have a swing on our patio surrounded by full, flowering patches of violets that enhance our patio in a stunningly beautiful way.
In those violets God has done it once again.   He’s given us (well, to me at least, Kathy isn’t as spiritual as I am, but of course, I’ve been to seminary where I took a course on violets-as-Kingdom of God) a visual in the garden of the inexorable growth of God’s Kingdom.  It just happens. It can’t be stopped. It’s better than anything we can pull off on our own.  It’s beautiful.  It surrounds and enhances our own efforts and makes them beautiful.  It’s invasive.  God won’t stop until his beauty becomes our beauty.
A you convinced yet that you, too, should be a gardener? 

“Lord, thank you for the violets.  May I notice your invasive love and, instead of fighting it, arrange my life around it.  Amen.”