Rather than the statutory one hour’s walk I decided to work in the garden instead on this particular day. It was chilly and overcast, but somewhere in the ambience of the air, spring was making its presence felt. The cherry tree was full of tiny buds ready to spring open at the merest hint of sun and there was a single daffodil hiding in the moss nearby. Winter moss covered the rockery stones and the dead fern clumps begged to be pulled. Buttercups, yet to flower, were pushing their way through the base of bushes with the obligatory dandelions making their presence felt wherever I looked. Everything that looked dead through the winter months was sprouting green shoots, birthing buds of promise. Despite the world’s lockdown nothing can hinder the course of nature and the beginning of spring signals hope for the nations.
Why then do we find God in human form, in the centre of a garden which promises hope, down on his knees and crying out to his father as he saw the suffering which was about to come upon him? This was the Mount of Olives which had been there since the time of King David. A place that David himself had run to as he wept when his son Absalom had taken his crown from him. A beautiful garden called Gethsemane had been planted as a place where people could go to worship and reflect on their faith in God. Why such sorrow in a place of beauty and hope?
It was from this holy hill that God answered King David and reminded him that no matter what was going on around him he could lie down and sleep in peace because he, God, was putting a shield around him to give him protection. As Jesus wrestled in the same garden with the plan of rescue for mankind that he was about to enter, so God sent an angel to strengthen him in his darkest hour.
And from the depths of his soul Jesus Christ pulled out the barbs of love and cried out ‘not my will, but yours be done!’
In the same way that spring is a certainty every year, so hope is offered to every one of us even though the world around us looks dark. Nothing can extinguish the nature of seasons and everywhere we look just now we see evidence of that in every single garden. Neither can the cry from the garden be obscured by the presence of a virus in the world.
Take a look at the gardens around you and see in them hope for this world which rests in the cross, empty because Jesus gives us hope through the power of his resurrection.
Ruth Aird, Qualified General Nurse MSC (Ed)