A Mystic In The Garden

The last school bell rang today. Yellow buses hummed into the neighborhood. And children from the cul-de-sac and just beyond soon filled our house.

It will be this way all Summer.

Kids eating watermelon around our kitchen table. Kids playing doctor in my office. Kids dressing up as princesses in front of the hallway mirror.

Kids everywhere.

And laughter and spats and stomping and running and more laughter…

I thank God for the garden.

My cathedral.

Backyard Garden

I know God is every place. But here more than most places.

Because it’s quiet?

Because I’m quiet?

Because I’m alone?


Becky and I eat our breakfast at a table beside the garden. The sound of morning traffic just over the fence crescendos through an hour of conversation. And there are birds and no e-mail chimes, no phone rings, no questions from children who’ve finished quickly and gone inside to get dressed already.

Always a procrastinator, I’m the last one in the house.

I walk the pebbled garden path inspecting the night’s growth…

I feel the soil, knowing there’s no rain in the forecast.

Clover is poking up through the soil near the tomatoes. I pull it.

A worm is drying on the path. I bring it to dirt.

And I sit.


First thing in the morning.

Last thing at night.

And when the house gets too crowded and loud for me a couple times in-between.

Is God more here here? Or are my eyes opened wider? Are my ears more tuned in?


In these raised beds, these meager crops, God’s invisible qualities — his eternal power and divine nature — are clearly seen, understood from what has been made. And I’m without excuse.

My doubts dim here. Jesus fed five thousand with a boy’s sack lunch and it’s called “miracle.” What is one seed becoming a vine that gives food enough for a family? A miracle close-up. I believe here.

My plans are prayed here. Jesus said God the Father makes the sun shine on good and evil and the rain to fall on the righteous and unrighteous. I till and plant and weed but I can’t grow. I learn to depend on the One who can here.

My head is filled with revelation here. Jesus said the kingdom is like a mustard seed, insignificantly small, blossoming into a home large enough for birds from all around to call home. And He is the vine and we are the branches and apart from Him we can do nothing. And a tree is named for its fruit. And a plant that bears no fruit is not alive. And…I see the sermons between the rows here.

I am not alone here. Fame is not friendship. Friendship is not Lordship. Being truly alone here I feel that I never am. Seeing God here teaches me to spot Him everywhere. Hearing God’s voice here, helps me listen for it everywhere. I am not alone here…and everywhere I go can be just another here.


Here I’m somehow more certain of the things I’m certain of. I believe more easily that Christ is in me. And that when I leave here He doesn’t leave me.

I believe and it helps my unbelief to come here.


Where is your cathedral? A deer stand in the woods of East Texas? A concert with a thousand other fans? At the beach with a good book? On your knees in the predawn dark?

Where do you experience God as more present than any place else…when your house and head get loud and full?

Therefore that joining together of head and members, that indwelling of Christ in our hearts—in short that mystical union—are accorded by us the highest degree of importance. -John Calvin

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