May I speak in the name of God who is Creator, Redeemer and Sustainer. Amen
How are your gardens looking at the moment? Good – Good excellent. Mine looks a tip so I’m glad someone (laughter) looks nice.
I’m going to tell you this morning about three very special gardens and between them those three gardens hold the clue to how our lives can produce the fruit and the harvest that God is looking for.
So we have three gardens. Three very different gardens. We have our apple orchard, our olive garden, and we have our vineyard, that as Julia said produces some rather lovely wine.
These three gardens have a message for us about harvest, and about how God is faithful and wants us to produce a harvest of good things not only physically but in our lives and in our selves. So the apple garden, the orchard, is right there at the beginning of human history in the story of the Garden of Eden and it’s a garden of choice God in love allows us to choose whether to love him or not and we choose and chose in the Garden of Eden not to. We chose to have ‘knowledge’ and to turn away from God as the source of all knowledge and to find our own love and our own knowledge.
So God never wants to force love on us and so it meant that we chose often what is bad for us and bad for our world. Christians take the mess of the world with its failed harvests and unfair trade very seriously and climate change. All the things we’re thinking about when we think about our Eco Church which is really important to us. We take those things seriously and we own up to the truth and face the facts that it is we who have caused all of that damage to the environment. So the Garden of Choice that produces the apples
But God of course is faithful and doesn’t leave us in the mess that we have chosen and so we have the olive garden and this is a real garden in place and in time and it’s the one where God in the form of Jesus once knelt to pray. The garden of Gethsemane and olive garden at the foot of the mount of olives. And it was here that Jesus made a decision Jesus chose to be crushed metaphorically like the olives in that garden crushed on the cross in our place for all the mess that we have caused in the world. He took on himself all of the bad things that we have brought into the world so that we could have the opportunity of a new start a clean sheet and a new beginning.
Which leads us on to the last garden. The vineyard. In this garden Jesus used to describe how we can be different how that clean sheet that new start that we have been provided can make a real difference in every single one of our lives. In this garden Jesus says he is the main trunk of the tree and that if we choose to belong to him we can produce the good fruit of the spirit that we see in Jesus the love the joy, the peace, the patience, the goodness, the gentleness, and the self control. Jesus describes this garden to his disciples on the night before he died – and as we become joined with Jesus this grape garden, this vineyard is the way we can be different and we can produce a harvest of good things that can make us and the world the kind of place that God intended it to be right from the very beginning. Amen