“The Lord God planted a garden in Eden, in the east; and there he put the man whom he had formed. Out of the ground the Lord God made to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food, the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil… The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to till it and keep it.” (Genesis 2:8-9, 15)
My garden is green with potential. Spring is well under-way and the fruitful summer is just around the bend. I can envision in the plump buds and delicate blooms of my tomatoes and peppers the bounty that is to come. The vines are growing into the form of fruit-bearing plants; they are not there yet. Still immature, they twist this way and that, changing shape and direction day-by-day. Every time I step through my garden it is like I am getting to know another aspect of its personality.
Potentiality is latent in all growing things. The potential to bear fruit, to spread seed, to propagate its own kind. The potential to feed, to offer shade, to give themselves up for the sake of another.Love is embedded in the sap.
Love is the driving force in the cosmos, enticing all things forward toward the consummation planned for it by God. Love is gravity, attraction, drawing all things together in their proper sphere. Love is the invitation to allow your potential to become reality.
The entire creation is a garden, planted by God. We are given gardener-status over this planet, and entrusted with its care. We are not doing a great job at that. Instead of recognizing the lesson of the tomato, to grow in our form, to provide for others, to give ourselves up for the sake of another, we have instead insisted that all things exist for our own sake. We translate that into the
ways we interact with other people, as well. Copernicus proved that we are not the center of the universe; that lesson has hardly sunk into the egotistic mind. We place ourselves in the center and expect everyone else to bend to our will. When we do this, we betray our potential. We are actually working against our nature, and will never find fulfillment within this scheme of things.
We must learn to look into our souls and see the potential for glory God has put there. Each one of us, and by “us” I am including all created things from atoms to galaxies, has the potential to be a tomato plant, the potential to exist for the good of others, and not ourselves only. When we embrace that potential, we will find personal flourishing in the midst of cosmic flourishing.
Cody Nygard, Director of Discipleship and Connection