The sixth and final chapter in our book explores the theme of the garden. The garden is key to the story Victor Hugo tells in Les Misérables. It is also key in the story of Scripture. Gardens are a sign of grace. They show us the beauty and creativity of God. They remind us to rest. They also invite us to participate as workers and cultivators, creating space for communion with God, with creation, and with others. Not only are gardens signs, but they also offer us a foretaste of the new creation that has come and is coming.
Matt Rawle states,
“When the new heaven and the new earth become one, when God brings God’s story to a close, Christ, the Lamb of God, is there offering perpetual light on all the good work that God has done. There at the end of it all, all of God’s creation will come together at the foot of the tree of life for the ‘healing of the nations’ (Revelation 22:2). Until then there is still work to be done.”
What is our everyday work as followers of Jesus? Where do we sow seeds? Where do we create beauty? Where do we open up space for rest? How do we cultivate and steward God’s creation until the day Jesus restores all things, making the new heaven and the new earth one? Be specific. What does this look like in practice?
Do you have a significant life memory that involves a garden? Did a family member cultivate a garden? Perhaps you grew up in an urban area and have had very little experience with gardens. If you have a memory, share it. What effect do gardens have on the human spirit? What is life-giving about a garden?