“I’ve been out in my garden working quite a bit. Maybe I shouldn’t be spending my time there as much as I should be reaching out to other people? Maybe my time could be better spent.”
My friend and I pondered these thoughts together as we chatted round her kitchen table. We circled back to it several times throughout our conversation looking at it from many angles.
“Do you like doing it?” I posed.
“Yes, it’s fun to be about in His garden among the things He created.”
We talked about the sacredness of time spent with Him and the prayerful paths upon which He leads while He refreshes.
Once home, as I swept the kitchen floor, I began to ponder days-gone-by when gardens were not an option but rather, a necessity. My friend, with whom I had been visiting, cans tomatoes for sustenance, cucumbers for special dips, and adds home grown radishes to the tasty dish made up for her family. The onions grown are also tossed into the dip and served up fresh upon her table of grace. The fruit of her labor in the garden went well beyond herself as she utilized each portion for others—yet, she wondered aloud if this was allowed.
My friend already knew the answer. She knew well James 1:17: “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” And because she knew this verse, she knew it was pure gift to spend time in the midst of that which He created—so she, in turn, could create as pure gift for others.
As I finished sweeping up the crumbs upon the floor, my mind wandered to songs sung as a child which had certain days of the week designated for specific jobs within the home. Monday might be wash day—Tuesday mending—Wednesday ironing—Thursday yard work—Friday cleaning— and Saturday baking. Sunday was a day the family went to church which was the kickoff for a day of rest.
Those were not the exact days things happened in our household, but the rhythm of life was ever present and like clockwork, it offered stability.
The sacred rhythm of work offered not only weekly stability, but seasonal. Spring housecleaning, fall canning, summer gardens, and winter lead right on up to Christmas. Repetitive, sacred stability weaves the fabric of life into patterns and creates an offering, if you will, of prayer.
The generational consistency of setting aside a holy day of rest offered stability to the rest of the week knowing there was something much bigger surrounding our purpose in doing what we do each and every other day of the week. It was and is like an internal liturgical celebration of sacred.
Hebrews 13:8 gives Word to this. “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” It just can’t get any more sacred or more stable than this.
As we find our rhythm, may it be in Him. As the days and weeks pass and as the seasons come and go—He never changes, never has changed, and never will change.
What a beautiful rhythm of sacred stability in which to rest both now and forever. Amen.
This article was first published in Theology in the Trenches, a column written by oblate Kathleen Kjolhaug. Posted with permission. Read more articles on her blog, Theology in the Trenches.
Photo: Sister Elizabeth Theis working hard in the garden, taken by Sister Carleen Schomer