Back to the garden

Date: Wednesday, December 18

ScriptureJohn 20:11-18

Verse: Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for?” Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.” (John 20:15)

When I lived in New Jersey I would often enjoy fresh vegetables from my dad’s garden, which is fairly remarkable from a man who grew up in the Bronx. All summer, it seemed, we would eat fresh tomatoes, lots of zucchini, and whatever else he had decided to plant that year. In addition to the vegetables, I think my dad enjoyed participating in this miraculous process of growth and fruit bearing. I didn’t inherit that gene, but I know there are those who love being in the garden, pushing their hands into the soil, and eventually enjoying the harvest. Gardening provides many with a connection to who we are as people “formed … from the dust of the ground” (Genesis 2:7 and yesterday’s devo).

As he tells the story of Jesus’ death and resurrection, John takes us back to the garden. He points out (twice in the same verse) that Jesus’ tomb was in a garden (John 19:41-42), and in today’s passage Mary mistakes Jesus for the gardener – not just a gardener, but the gardener. John, whose gospel begins with the same words that open the book of Genesis, “In the beginning,” is reminding his readers of the story of creation, which includes a garden and the first gardener, Adam. John is telling a story beyond the story about Jesus’ resurrection bringing about a new creation, announcing a day when God’s realm and ours will be fully one.

Putting our hands in the dirt connects us with who we are. Giving our lives to Christ connects us with who we will be in the resurrection to come. Jesus invites us to join him in his new creation.

If you are reading this and do not have a relationship with Jesus and this new creation, please talk to a friend, family member, or pastor who can tell you what that’s about. Or you can contact me, and I’ll be happy to speak with you.

Prayer: Thank you, Lord Jesus, for the gifts of life and new life. Amen.

Action: Consider planting something, buying some flowers, or doing something else to connect you to your place in this creation. Then reflect upon the creation to come.

Respond: What connects you to your humanity – gardening, hiking, something else? Answer by clicking “Leave a Comment” below.
If you are receiving this via email, click the title at the top of the email to take you to the devotion webpage where you can leave a comment.

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About Joe Iovino

Christian, husband & father, Associate Pastor in Monument CO, guitar player, motorcyclist, Mets fan.
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