Saturday, February 15, 2014

Little Garden Plots

Mark 6:

38"How many loaves do you have?" he asked. "Go and see."
When they found out, they said, "Five—and two fish."

39Then Jesus directed them to have all the people sit down in groups on the green grass. 40So they sat down in groups of hundreds and fifties. 41Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to his disciples to set before the people. He also divided the two fish among them all. 42They all ate and were satisfied, 43and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces of bread and fish. 44The number of the men who had eaten was five thousand.
There are times when Mark is particularly vivid and sensual in his presentation of the Gospel. I have heard that in the account of the feeding of the 5000, in the Greek, the arrangement of the groups of listeners had the appearance of "little garden plots".

That is rich! I have been in large gatherings, and have also seen in the presentations of Michael W. Smith or Hillsong, Australia, the segmenting of the large audience by spotlight into such small plots. The impression of the Good Gardener, Jesus, walking in the midst of the praises of his people, stays with me. Of His affording them life, food and joy.

It suggests the particular care of the Husbandman for each garden, for each plant, and his skill in assessing the right combinations of food, refreshment, pruning, light and climate. (John 15: 2)

I am reminded of this phenomenon when looking upon the spotlights of shopping mall, city park or college campus. I can be instant in prayer lifting up the people in each of those settings for the life-begetting input of the Gardener. I might even have a word in season.

Years ago I enjoyed reading "A Gardener Looks at the Fruit of the Spirit" by Phillip Keller. It is full of the imagery of the garden, and helpful guides to the recognition and operation of each of those nine fruit. (Galatians 5: 22,23)
Isaiah 61: 3b

...that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified.


beautiful image borrowed from link poetry cottage
I have little plots of this
And some little plots of that
And I break up ground
And pour in rain
And seed the place all flat.
Every species known by name
Every tenderness discerned
Yes, the hurting, hoping, lonely
Sadly judged, abused and spurned.
But the hardiness will come
With my love and pruning knife
And the blooms and fruits a-plenty
From my own Abundant Life.
Bringing Me delightful Glory
Bringing Me the lips of song
Soaking in the Gospel Story
Fragrant children, ever strong.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Up On His Shoulders

I had an hour all to myself this past Sunday afternoon. Driving around town. Seeing all the immense piles of snow shoveled at driveways. Very thankful for a good heater in the car. Listening to the local Gospel radio station and some of its new format.

The songs I have often heard. The church bulletins more of the same.

Then a distinct impression to my spirit, "Turn it off Doug."

And then the process started. Thinking on Him...privately. Mental wool gathering? Not one bit. There have been times when such silence has raised suggestions of much needed passages of scripture, or the beginnings of a poem. But this time just silence and the assurance that He was close.

How often did the errant sheep have this impression when the Good Shepherd swept him up to carry on the shoulders. Separated for an interval from the ongoing affairs of the flock; from cares and concerns. Sensing in a very tangible way the beating of that heart of kindness and keeping and constructive discipline.

The bond defies description. It unifies. It pacifies. It fortifies. Another touch from the living Christ.