I’ve mentioned before that I’m not much of a gardener, but this year I’ve decided I’m going to have some pots in my back garden, filled with shrubs that have pretty flowers or interesting foliage. That’s the plan anyway.

So I went to a garden supplies website and purchased a bulk deal for twelve shrubs with twelve pots to put them in.

I must admit, when they arrived they didn’t look like much. Twelve small bare sticks of varying shapes, with fluffy bits at one end.

Well, I planted the fluffy ends, watered them, talked to them and watched eagerly for something to happen. To my great joy (and no little surprise), very gradually little things did begin to happen. Small leaves began to appear, wonderful signs of life in all the sticks, except one (there’s always one isn’t there – a late developer I’ll be bound).

When I planted them out, I wouldn’t have said there was any life contained there at all, the only thing to be seen was tightly constrained drab sticks. Sounds like what our own lives have become over the last few months.

Yet here we are at the beginning of spring, with green shoots of renewal beginning to creep out.

Some of us are pushing forward, hurrying that growth as much as we can, while some are like my late developer and are only going to peek out when good and sure the bad conditions have passed. And that’s fine, as we gradually move forward together, the whole will make a wonderful garden.

It reminds me of the passage in John 10, where Jesus says he has come to give his followers life – and life in all its fullness. This doesn’t mean we’re all guaranteed to be super-happy or super-successful with jobs or money (or gardening) or any other material thing, but it does mean we can still live rich and rewarding lives. We just need to follow our Master Gardener and be strong together, helping each other as this lockdown gradually eases. Then the garden will be something to behold!

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