Beyond Words

Words, Wit and Wisdom for Today's Style and Decision Makers

Garden of God April 30, 2023

Filed under: Uncategorized — carlawordsmithblog @ 3:31 pm

This past week we celebrated both Earth Day and Arbor Day and I blogged about gardens. It must be spring! I sprung into action this week by visiting a local wildflower center, which inspired me to plant some flowers in various flower beds at our home. One such garden encircles a giant oak tree, making “sun,” “full sun,” or “shade” flower choices beneath it a challenge. I got what I’m hoping grows and if not, am grateful we have that we at least have that majestic tree.



Trees are very symbolic and did you know they are mentioned in the Bible more than any living thing other than God and His people? Did. Not. Know. As He always does, He had a plan when he created trees in that they give us oxygen, shade, fruit, beauty, and everything from the furniture we use to the tires on our cars to the medicines we take.


Trees are very symbolic in the Bible and many people and events involved something related to a tree starting of course with the Garden of Eden and the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil that God forbid Adam and Even to eat from. Adam’s first instructions were to “dress and keep” the trees in Eden. We all know what happened instead.



Trees were also significant in Noah and his Ark, Moses and the burning bush, the palms waved at Jesus as he rode into Jerusalem before being crucified, and of course the cross He was crucified on. There is a tree mentioned on the first page of Genesis and on the last page of Revelation and everywhere in between.



This photo really spoke to me as vines are throughout our bodies. In fact, we are all called to be “trees” in so much that we are to bear good fruit and that we will be known by the fruit we produce. An apple tree would still be pretty without its fruit, but what good would one be if it never produced apples? A healthy tree generally produces good fruit, but a tree that is sick will bear either bad fruit or no fruit at all. Same with you and same with me. Too deep for you? Think the children we raise and the lives we live and leave behind.



Saint Paul described some of this as the Fruits of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance. In a sense, this is also all about putting down roots; which is something trees also do in order to grow and thrive. In order to have healthy roots, trees need to be planted in healthy soil, need water, and need light. In general, the bigger their roots, the bigger they grow. The bigger and deeper our roots are, the better we are able to withstand troubles and other life droughts caused by the lack of living water. The light they need is gained through a process called phototropism, from the Greek “phos” meaning light and “tropos” meaning turning.



I loved an analogy on this very subject published by It told the story about a Kindergarten memory of planting seeds in two different pots. One pot was placed on a window sill while the other was put in a dark closet. Once the seeds began to sprout in both, the plant on the window sill’s leaves began turning toward the sun while the one in the closet became pale and thin. One was strong; one was weak. One had light in its life; one lived in the dark.



But where do we start? By planting seeds. Gardeners plant seeds and then tend to them so they grow. Yes, weeds will come up but a grounded gardener will make sure to pull those weeds and toss them. Even the smallest of planted seeds can grow into something big. I love the parable of the mustard seed where Jesus reminds us that even the smallest of seeds can grow into something literally heavenly.



I also love the Jesus’ parable of the Seed Sower in which the seeds planted on rocky ground have no roots and only last for a short time, the seeds planted among thorns get choked out and bear no fruit, but those planted in rich soil bear the best fruit. When we plant our own seeds on rocky ground of the ways of the world, we lose direction and our joys are short-lived. Those we plant among the thorns of anxiety and the riches of the world get choked out. But those we plant in the rich soil of truth and discipline, help us thrive. The Seed Sower is special to me as the above statue stands prominently on the campus of my alma mater, the University of Oklahoma, which is where I learned how to plant the seeds of my life in fertile ground and bloomed.



Then there is the olive tree; so prevalent in so many faiths. The olive branch has been a symbol of peace dating back to the fifth century BC, when the Greeks used it as a symbol of peace. Perhaps the most famous of these accounts is when Noah sent a dove out to see if the waters had subsided but not until it flew back with an olive branch did Noah know it was safe. The Mount of Olives, where Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane before His crucifixion and then returned to for his triumphant ascension, is actually a mountain range near Jerusalem and is named for the olives groves that line the hillside. To this day, there is an olive tree that’s more than 2,000 years old and both Christians and Jews consider it a sacred place. And finally, the United Nations flag and the Great Seal of the United States both feature an olive branch.


When you think about all of this it’s really not complicated and makes perfect sense. Plant the seeds, spread your roots, and bloom.





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