It was winter when we bought our house in Richmond four years ago. The character of this 100-year-old cottage is what caught my attention when I saw it listed for sale on Zillow. Learning more about the property, we were told that the owner was a master gardener and had planted a three-season perennial garden in the back yard. And yet, the only thing I saw that January was frozen ground and stalks of dead plants. The only thing to do was trust that what we were told was true.
Early in April the Lenten roses began to bloom. Then the azaleas, daffodils, Lily of the Valley, and Lady banks’ roses began to add color to our backyard. Next, I believe were the clustered bellflowers, fuzzy deutzia, Japanese meadowsweet, foxglove, yellow and red columbine, daylilies, hardy begonia and in the goldfish pond, lotus bloomed.
And yet, here’s the thing. At first look, our backyard was seemingly dead. None of the growth was visible. It was all taking place within the depths of mother earth. And I had to trust that what we were told was true. That someone, (thank you Betty Smith) had lovingly, tirelessly, and expertly nurtured our garden over many years so that we could enjoy the fruits of her labor and in time, the garden would bloom again. And it does. From April until October our backyard buzzes with beauty, bees, butterflies and birds.
Parishes, too, go through seasons of growth and we can be reassured God is at work seen and unseen, in the barrenness of winter and blossoming of spring. Our work is to trust. To trust that God makes all things new in Jesus Christ. To trust that the Master Gardener is at work night and day tending the garden of our souls and that of Grace Church. Just you wait and see!