The Garden: Sacred Time, Sacred Hope

Morning has come, arise and greet the day!

Dance with joy and sing a song of gladness!  

The light of hope here shines upon each face.

May it bring faith to guide our journey home.*

The words of this relatively new Unitarian-Universalist hymn, Morning Has Come, announce two aspects of The Garden worth reflecting on today.

First, The Garden, both the actual ones that we grow and work in various settings and the metaphorical garden of human relations is rooted in a specific sacred time.  This time and timing are created solely by the cosmic fact that our Earth spins and revolves in a vital relationship with our Great Star, the Sun. What makes that sacred is the fact that there is absolutely no alternative to that relationship.  It is vital.  It is the product of cosmic events that we had no control over.  We are totally dependent on it.  One might say that it is entirely, for us, grace.  The sun rises today and brings the light that The Garden must have to thrive and grow, flourish and bring about new life.  This sacred time creates seasons to which we respond, consciously and unconsciously.  Most days we may just take it all for granted. Stop and ponder what the absence of the Sun would mean to us.  There have been periods of the Earth’s life spent in darkness due to volcanic activity which radically changed and threatened The Garden.  That the Sun shines today is a matter of deep rejoicing for us who both tend gardens and who enjoy Human Community together.

Second, The Garden, again both the literal kind where we grow flowers, fruits, vegetables and herbs as well as the human collective require a sacred mutuality.  There must be an Earth as a prior requirement.  There must be places where human beings gather.  And, human beings bring into these Gardens a certain quality called hope that we might think of as a kind of fertilizer of what happens in The Garden.  When I think about my own outdoor garden, how silly it is to think of myself walking into it and shouting:  grow something, stupid!  Likewise, whether it’s the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Gwinnett or the classroom I enter each day as a teacher, how arrogant for me to show up there demanding . . anything.  But hope.  Hope is what takes me into The Garden and it engages me in a mutuality of being that never fails to delight.

Bob Patrick

*By Jason Shelton, Singing the Journey, 2005

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