Saturday, February 11 – Isaiah 61:10-62:5

For as the earth brings forth its shoots, and as a garden causes what is sown in it to spring up, so the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise to spring up before all the nations.

In the beginning, humanity dwelt in the midst of a garden; as I’ve been reading Water My Soul recently, I’ve been encouraged by the author to consider myself to be a garden, watered, tended — even weeded — by our Lord, for the health and growth and beauty of my soul. Today in Isaiah, we are given the image of collectively comprising a garden, each of us a shoot of a flower or foliage, of a fruit tree or a lush shrub. Two points of this passage encourage me: first, the actor is the “garden” and analogously, “the Lord God.” I’m not under pressure to make myself grow and thrive, indeed, I have no power to move or pluck or water myself, I am completely dependent upon the gardener for my well being. Second, I am not an entire landscape by myself, stretching to accommodate many and various venues of expertise and assorted moments; it is as a collective body, Christ’s body, that we come together to complete a fulsome picture. 

The flip side is the rub for me — I am not made to be the director of my own growth or direction, I am made to be cultivated, to be acted upon by the Lord God, not to go my own way; in a similar vein, I’m also not a self-sufficient island, but indeed need the sometimes annoying companions in Christ for the sort of life that God envisions for me. May we so order our lives to recognize both our need for God and our need for others.