Reflections on The Old Rectory Garden, Littleham

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Reflections on The Old Rectory Garden, Littleham, 11th April 2009.


The insects feeding on the nectar of the camellias made me think of how God created all his different creatures to be dependent upon each other, how interconnected we all are.

The buds and blossoms, the fading blooms and fallen petals reminded me of the unending cycle of life – the death and re-birth – that we are all caught up in.

The self seeded primroses brought to mind how dynamic God’s creation is – not a static exhibit cast in stone, but a vibrant living thing, continually growing in new ways, new life seeking out new toeholds even in the inhospitable gravel. It reminded me that our God created, and is still creating – around us and within - new growth softening even the barren places.

The periwinkle growing behind and through a formal azalea, reminded me that the Spirit of God grows where he will, and not always where we might look, or put him!

I recognised in the split, cut horizontally through the middle of the branch of the old fruit tree, how broken we all are, and yet how we still manage to blossom.

In the stout poles weathered into the same colour as the tree, quietly supporting two old branches which otherwise would have broken under their own weight, I saw the quiet but sure and steadfast support of God, support which keeps us alive, as we realise we cannot, on our own, hold ourselves up.

The dead leaves on the ground and the fallen petals from the camellias reminded me how in God’s economy, unlike our own, nothing is ever wasted.

The infinite variety of colour and form, texture shape and smell reminded me how God created the world in such infinite variety. And, how every thing has its place: the great pine tree and the tiniest blade of grass, the magnificent bloom and the wild upturned daisy flower, the beautiful and the leaf ravaged by an insect, the rich and glossy and the gnarled old trunk – and, how, like every one of his people, all are equally valuable in the sight of God.

The massive pine tree reminded me of the age and scale of the cliffs at Hartland, the layers of bark looking just like the folds of rock, and it made me think of the Almightyness of God – of his eternity and his steadfastness. And in the same tree I noticed weathering and cracks and little holes where other creatures lived, and I reflected that though we are so tiny and insignificant in the aeons of time, our Almighty God welcomes us and allows us to make our homes in him. That God is at the same time a strong refuge and yet still allows himself to be vulnerable.

The weeping willow fronds just touching the water, reminded me of Jesus washing the disciples feet.

The new leaves bursting out from their sticky buds, reminded me of Jesus bursting out from the tomb.

And finally – the birdsong, the sky, the sunshine, the quietness, the wild banks of primroses – filled me with the peace that Jesus left us with. The peace that passes understanding, the peace that is not as the world gives, the peace that comes after the trauma of his death and resurrection and all that surrounded it. The peace of the resurrected life.