The Lectio Letter - Issue #78 - Gardening your inner life at the end of the year
Now the Lord God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there he put the man he had formed.
— Genesis 2:8
"I love to think of nature as an unlimited broadcasting station, through which God speaks to us every hour, if we will only tune in."
— George Washington Carver
"I have found, after a good deal of consideration, that the best place to seek God is in a garden. You can dig for Him here."
— George Bernard Shaw
"I think that if ever a mortal heard the voice of God it would be in a garden at the cool of the day."
— Frank Frankfort Moore
At the place where Jesus was crucified, there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb, in which no one had ever been laid.
— John 19:41
We’re in the beginning of Advent. I am considering writing about it (again) in the next Lectio, but if you are looking for resources already I have written about Advent several times; here, here, here, here and here.
This time I’ve been writing about growing our inner lives. As I mentioned in the article, this often gets called the ‘Spiritual life’, but in my experience that leads people to confine it to the spaces in life that are overtly religious. It is better instead to see that all of our lives are held in God and there is not one bit of it that Christ doesn’t desire to form us into his likeness. So what does it mean to cultivate growth in our inner lives? That’s what I’m reflecting on, with the help of my failing attempt to work in my garden, in the article below.
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The end of the year is racing in. We wrapped up our kids club here with a Christmas Party.. lots of fun!
We’re also really delighted to have some dear friends in town over the December period.
On top of that we’ve been finishing up lots of admin type things that insistently ask to be completed before the end of the year. But we’ve managed to get some of our mountain walks in, have our friends kids over on hot days to use the pool and attended an end of year school event that some of our Isi kids were given awards at.
This week I finished two books which had some similarities to each other;
This is a collections of letter that Eugene Peterson wrote to his son as he was pastoring a church. While some of the content seems related to the particular realities of being a pastor in north america, the values and countenance reflected in the book are gold even if you are not a pastor. Peterson’s insistence that ministry should be focussed on people more than programme and seeking local fruitfulness instead of wider influence is an important message in an increasingly “celebrity ministry” culture.
In an age where it is not simply enough to ‘be yourself’ you have to ‘brand yourself’ in what philosophers have called a ‘performative identity’ Pete Portal who also lives and works here in Cape Town has done an excellent job of unveiling the temptation of living a life that is sucessful on the world’s terms.
With his light-hearted humourous approach he covers the dark and difficult realities which life often offers us. The second chapter in his book, something I’ve been thinking quite abit about myself over the past years is “pursuing relationship over relevance”. It’s a great book and well worth your time.