A tale of two gardens and love restored

Spring is in the air! It is a time when our thoughts turn to gardens and new growth. Gardens have always been a place where mankind has sought refuge. There’s nothing quite like enjoying a bit of quiet reflection sitting in the middle of a piece of controlled nature. To be able walk easily between the shrubs, bushes, and beautiful flowers on display is a quiet testimony to the skill of the gardener.

For those of us that enjoy the sights and scents of a garden in the full throes of spring our minds are naturally drawn to thoughts of that first garden that God had planted and Adam and Eve tended. There is something precious about that memory recorded in Genesis where God would walk with Adam and Eve in the cool of the evening through the beautiful garden paradise that he had created for them and them alone.

Today marks the event of Good Friday, the time when Jesus retreated to the quiet of his garden known as Gethsemane in order to spend a few moments of prayer before he went to the cross. It’s hard not to see the contrast were Adam and Eve enjoyed the sunlight and all of the sights and sounds of a garden paradise that was created solely for their pleasure, and the nighttime visit to the garden of Gethsemane. It was still springtime and with life renewing all around, Jesus still knelt and prepared to face his own death.

The question is often asked; why did he willingly go to the cross? Why would he sacrifice his own life for people, good, bad, or indifferent? Why did he not choose a different time when the preferred method of execution was a little more humane? Why the cross?

The best answer I can give is to point back to the original garden the time that God shared with his beloved creations Adam and Eve. There was an intimacy and a depth of love that was shared there in that garden that can never be expressed in words. When Jesus knelt in that garden he was looking towards the restoration of that perfect garden that was created in the beginning. In the New Testament, Jesus is described as a bridegroom and the church his bride. There will come a day in the future where the bridegroom and the bride will finally unite and all of creation will celebrate for all eternity. If we look at this grand story as one of love lost and love finally restored we can begin to see why he went to the cross.

What man would not cross fields of broken glass barefoot to rescue the woman he loves? What man would not brave untold and countless dangers in order to embrace his beloved? Imagine a man who has just learned that his fiancé is being held captive by evil and despicable men. Imagine that man has the skills and ability to be able to rescue his beloved but he knows that by doing this he may lose his own life. What true man would turn away and choose not to rescue her just because he may lose his own life in the process?

That story is us, we were held captive by an evil that we could not escape on our own. He looked down from heaven and saw us in captivity. He rushed to our defense, and chased the evil that held and enslaved us all the way to the garden of Gethsemane. He continued the chase up the hill of Golgotha where he finally caught it on the cross. In those final moments before he died with satisfaction he whispered the words, “It is finished!”

Of course we know that it wasn’t completely finished. They laid him in a tomb and in three days he rose again. And thus he restored access to that garden. It is his fondest desire and focused goal to finally walk hand in hand with his beloved in the garden of eternity. This coming Sunday as millions of people all over the world celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ, try to think of the differences between those two Gardens. The first garden mankind willingly left, the second garden Jesus willingly entered with the hope of leading us back into his warm embrace.

 

Pastor AL Weeks (author, teacher, and pastor) and his family serves the fine folks of First Baptist Church of Kenai. FBCK is a warm fellowship of believers that are committed to speaking the truth in love. Please join them this Sunday morning at 10:45 am for a special Easter Celebration!

More in Life

People gather in Ninilchik, Alaska, on Friday, Aug. 5, 2022, for Salmonfest, an annual event that raises awareness about salmon-related causes. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Unhinged Alaska: Bones

Just as we approached Ninilchik, we remembered that the Salmonfest would be in high gear

File
Minister’s Message: What a Friend we have in Jesus

Can Jesus really be your friend? Jesus said so Himself.

The procedure for this quick kimchi is much less labor-intensive than the traditional whole head method, and takes less time to ferment, making it ideal for first time kimchi-makers. (Photo by Tressa Dale/Peninsula Clarion)
Garden fail — but kitchen win nonetheless

This quick kimchi technique is less labor-intensive than the traditional method

Kate Lochridge stands by one of her paintings for a pop-up show of her work on Friday, Aug. 5, 2022, at the Homer Council on the Arts in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by MIchael Armstrong/Homer News)
Pop-up exhibit shows culmination of art-science residency

The exhibit by Kate Lochridge came about after her internship this summer as a National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration Ernest S. Hollings Scholar and Artist in Residence

File
Minister’s Message: The power of small beginnings

Tiny accomplishments lead to mighty successes in all areas of life

A copy of “Once Upon the Kenai: Stories from the People” rests against a desk inside the Peninsula Clarion’s offices on Wednesday, Aug. 3, 2022, in Kenai, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Off the Shelf: Hidden history

‘Once Upon the Kenai’ tells the story behind the peninsula’s landmarks and people

Artwork by Graham Dale hangs at the Kenai Art Center in Kenai, Alaska, on Tuesday, Aug. 2, 2022. These pieces are part of the “Sites Unseen” exhibition. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Apart and together

‘Sites Unseen’ combines the work of husband and wife pair Graham Dane and Linda Infante Lyons

Homemade garlic naan is served with a meal of palak tofu, butter chicken, basmati rice and cucumber salad. (Photo by Tressa Dale/Peninsula Clarion)
On the strawberry patch: Naan for a crowd

When it comes to feeding a group, planning is key

P.F. “Frenchy” Vian poses with a cigar and some reading material, probably circa 1920, in an unspecified location. (Photo courtesy of the Viani Family Collection)
Unraveling the story of Frenchy, Part 6

The many vital chapters in the story of Frenchy fell into place

File
Jesus, God of miracles, provides

When you are fishing or eating them, remember how Jesus of Nazareth used fish in some of his miracles

Sugar cookies are decorated with flowers of royal icing. (Photo by Tressa Dale/Peninsula Clarion)
Blooming sugar cookies

These sugar cookies are perfectly soft and delicious, easy to make, and the dough can be made long in advance