by Christine Sine,
I am getting ready for summer. Our retreat on Saturday was an important step in that direction but I have also created a new garden that I will help focus my reflections during the season. I even took the plunge and bought a small fountain for my desk.
When I started thinking about dismantling my Easter/Pentecost garden, I was thinking my new design would revolve around special symbols of summer for me but God had other ideas.
You may remember that a few weeks ago my Meditation Monday was inspired by Psalm 32:8-9 especially the line God’s eyes are my guide. As I thought about the coming season those were the words that came to me again. Then on our recent retreat to the Washington coast, I found this beautiful piece of driftwood on the beach, that looked as though it had eyes in it.
I also found a piece of dried kelp that looked like a pair of spectacles – perfect objects for my new garden! I embellished it with a stream of pebbles and a few plants then had fun painting a couple of rocks while reflecting on my theme. Because the garden didn’t look quite finished, I casually threw in the latest addition to my heart shaped rock collection. I also purchased a small table top fountain so that I could more fully visualize the pebbles in my garden as the stream of my life through which God is guiding me.
Would you believe it – it was those heart shaped rocks so casually thrown into the garden that have become my focus of attention this week. And I am sure this is only the start of the lessons God intends to reveal to me as I reflect on my new creation. That is part of why I am drawn to create gardens like this. The revelation of God they provide comes both in the creating anding and the later times of reflecting. They are such a special form of spiritual practice for me.
Over the weekend I was reading a passage from Julian of Norwich’s Revelations of Divine Love. She wrote this book in response to 15 visions she experienced following a severe illness and then spent the rest of her life seeking the meaning of them. Revelations of Divine Love, is a tender meditation on God’s eternal and all embracing love.
And from the time that the vision was shown, I desired often to know what our Lord’s meaning as. And fifteen years and more afterwards I was answered in my spiritual understanding, thus: ‘Would you know your Lord’s meaning in this thing? Know it well that love was his meaning. Who showed it to you? Love. What did he show you? Love. Why did he show you? For love. Keep yourself therein and you shall know and understand more in the same. But you shall never know nor understand any other thing forever.’
Thus I was taught that love was our Lord’s meaning. And I saw quite clearly in this and in all, that before God made us, he loved us, which love was never slaked nor ever shall be. And in this love he has done all his work, and in this love he has made all things profitable to us. And in this love our life is everlasting. In our creation we have a beginning. But the love wherein he made us was in him with no beginning. And all this shall be seen in God without end.”
Wow. Love is our Lord’s meaning in all things. God’s love is never slaked. It is from everlasting to everlasting. This morning I turned on my fountain, picked up my heart shaped rock and held it tightly in my hand. I felt as though I was transported into a cool tree covered glade in a forest, sitting beside a stream with the love of God gently enfolding me. God’s eyes guide me and God is my tower of strength because of God’s great love for me and because of God’s desire that divine love might be expressed through my thoughts and actions and it looks as though I need lots of reminders to make that happen.”
So as I look around me this week I wonder: What makes me aware of God’s love, just as this garden and its heart shaped rock have? And in what ways do I express that love? I hope you will join me in not only reflecting on these questions but also considering how you could put them into action.