Moving in to our new home as we did in the depth of last winter, I am discovering only by degrees what our new garden has to offer. As the seasons have changed, there have been ever new delights. Alongside the expected spring bulbs are other more exotic plants, the naming of which is way beyond my limited horticultural knowledge. Gardening, therefore, has to be for me a careful balance between making plans and forming projects on the one hand, and on the other, patient watching and waiting.
In my experience, spiritual growth, like that of a garden, needs a careful balance. On the one hand, there are ways in which we can put things in place that will help to prepare the way for flourishing and fruitfulness in the life of God’s people. In our own private devotional lives and in our shared life in the church we are right to think about how we plan for such growth. On the other hand, we are acutely aware that it is God’s grace at work in us that really counts, and this is not something for which we can devise projects. Rather, it requires patient and obedient watching and waiting.
I write this on Good Friday, with the heavy shadow of the cross hanging over us. By the time you read this, we may well be in the season of Easter. We will be celebrating and anticipating all that God has to offer us through the resurrection of Jesus Christ. I trust that we will think, plan, and act in order to prepare the ground for the new life God has in store. But above all, I trust that we will find time watch and wait to see in what surprising ways God’s grace will bring forth new things in our lives, in our churches, and in our world.