‘Then God said, “Let the earth put forth vegetation: plants yielding seed, and fruit trees of every kind…” And it was so.’ (Genesis 1:11)
‘Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the middle of the street of the city, and on either side of the river, is the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, producing its fruit each month; and the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations.’ (Revelation 22:1-2)
From the Bible’s first chapter to its final chapter, the garden is a constant theme in the story of God’s love for this creation. It is in the garden that the man and woman are first placed, as God’s partners in the care of creation. The city of God, the New Jerusalem, the final completion of the Divine Intent, is built around a garden. And in between, gardens and plants are employed as metaphors and images of life with God. Our Lord Jesus used the images of vineyards, grapevines, fig trees, sowing and reaping to help us grasp something of what it means to live faithfully. It was in a garden that He faced his greatest struggle; it was a garden that witnessed His resurrection.
This garden, filled with the plants mentioned in Holy Scripture, is meant to be a place for you, a place where you may rest, or pray, or learn, or listen for the breath of God. St. Hildegard of Bingen, the 12th-Century German mystic and Benedictine nun, wrote of her visions of God’s viriditas, the ‘greening power’ of the Almighty. In her greatest work, Scivias, she quotes God’s word to her: ‘I am the breeze that nurtures all things green. I encourage blossoms to flourish with ripening fruits. I am the rain coming from the dew that causes the grasses to laugh with the joy of life.’ May your soul find laughter in the joy of life here, surrounded by the beauty of this garden – or at least a small chuckle of delight in the faithfulness and optimism of the women and men who have created this garden in the Hill Country of Texas!
Welcome to you! Enjoy the garden! May Christ’s viriditas restore your soul!