June 30, 2017

God’s Consummate Garden

Revelation 21:1-7; 22:1-5

He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!”

—  Revelation 21:5

It is difficult for me to really rest when there is work to be done in my garden. I want to have the garden perfectly weeded, cultivated, protected from pests, and perpetually producing a harvest of perfect fruits and vegetables. As you might guess, I have never been able to achieve all that, even if I compulsively push for it.

You could easily say I am being unrealistic—a dreamer. But I know this dream is rooted deeply in a desire implanted by our Creator. We human beings, created in God’s image, were not created with death as our destiny; we were created to cultivate culture, to tend and develop creation. God’s world was not formed for ultimate ruin. The Lord’s affirmation “I am making everything new!” is made at the end of human ­history as we know it with all its sorrows, and at the beginning of the new heaven and earth that will continue eternally.

Many observers have pointed out that God’s revelation about our life with him begins in a garden and then begins anew forever in a garden-city. We see rich echoes of Eden’s rivers and trees in our verses for today, and we see that our life with God will be consummated in a perfect garden in a new heavenly city. I am eagerly looking forward to an unfettered, full life of gardening and growing with God’s people in the new heaven and earth.

“My God, how wonderful you are!” We look forward to creation’s liberation from decay and death and our wonderful freedom as children of God in the new heaven and earth! In Jesus, Amen.

About the author — Don Byker

Don Byker has been a pastor since 1984 in various churches and institutional settings. Don and his wife, Donna, are the parents of four adult children, two of whom are married. Donna and Don are also the glad grandparents of three granddaughters. Currently Don is serving in a rural church in Michigan full of gardeners.

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