One of my biggest challenges during this season of the year is the tension between my preparations for Lent and my commitment to gardening. I so often feel that these two interests are at loggerheads. This year, however, I have spent a lot of time thinking about how I could combine my interests and decided to make a Lenten garden.
Over the last couple of weeks, I have researched Lenten gardens and found some interesting suggestions. Like this one made from sand, purple tea lights and stones to assist evening prayers.
I particularly enjoyed this Lenten wreath which my imagination immediately transposed into a Lenten garden.
However, I also struggled because none of the “gardens” I came across had any plants in them. They all represented sterile, lifeless deserts.
But, deserts are not lifeless, and the journey to the Cross isn’t lifeless either. Gardening, too, is a journey from brokenness to transformation, an exciting, hope filled journey that reminds us God is in the business of transformation. So here are my ideas for a Lenten garden which I intend to experiment with in the next couple of weeks.
Suggestion 1: Fill a bowl with compost – reminding yourself continually that this is garbage transformed. Decorate your bowl with stones or crosses or other reminders of the journey of Jesus towards the Cross. Take some seeds and sprinkle them with water in the name of the Creator, redeemer and sustainer. Allow them to soak overnight and then bury them in your garden, reminding yourself of the One who was buried in the darkness of death for us. Watch them sprout into life as you journey towards Easter and the resurrection.
Suggestion 2: Start with that sandy sterile garden and each Sunday during Lent plant a new plant in your garden. I suggest doing this on Sunday because Sundays are not part of the Lenten journey. Sunday is always a celebration of the resurrection. Planting something in your Lenten garden each week like this sounds like a great reminder of the meaning of Easter. Even thinking about it stirs my heart with longing for the completion of the Easter story.
I think that these are wonderful ways to creatively connect your own experiences of gardening and the Easter story together. This kind of congruence between our daily activities and the story of God strengthens our faith and stabilizes our lives.
So what are your ideas for bringing gardening and Lent together this year? I hope that you will share them with us.