Friday, April 21, 2017

Spirituality: “A Meditation on John 20:13-16” by Maureen Gilmer

It is moving to think that the risen Christ was so like a gardener that Mary Magdalen did not recognize him at first. This event sanctifies gardening, for this calling was important enough for John to include it in his Gospel. Perhaps becoming a gardener satisfies us so deeply because it is a quasi-religious act. Unlike other hobbies that are strictly in the human realm, the cultivation of living plants becomes much more than mere science or aesthetics. It was no mistake that the early church fathers placed the Resurrection so close to the spring equinox, the time for sowing, when all plant life returns the countryside to green. Spring is also the greening of the gardener’s soul, for it is the coming forth of our whole passionate world of plants after the cold, dark, and seemingly endless winter.

When winter binds the earth with ice,
all the glory of the field perishes with its flowers.
But in the spring-time, when the Lord overcame Hell,
bright grass shoots up and buds come forth …
Gather these first-fruits and bear them to the churches
and wreath the altars.
(St. Hilary, Bishop of Poitiers)

Maureen Gilmer, God in the Garden: A Week-by-Week Journey Through the Christian Year, page 67.