One day I’d love to visit the RHS Chelsea Flower Show; but this year I’ve had to content myself with catching snippets of the BBC coverage.
What I find so important about these gardens is the intentional creation of space in which to experience restoration, recreation in the re-creation sense; and the role pleasure plays in that healing process. I believe that God wants us to be happy; but that if we pursue happiness it will elude us, whereas if we pursue the reconciliation of God and his creation, we will find it.
Water is, to my mind, an essential element in such a space; and it was great this year in particular to see so many creative ways of recycling water, so that its use is environmentally constructive, not destructive. There is something about water – the way it invites all five senses to experience its presence, its interaction with the rest of the garden; and also the deep symbolic connection between water and cleansing, life, even – that makes it a wonderful healing gift from God, a precious evidence of his care for creation.
The gardens also spoke to me of human partnership with the rest of creation, through complementary planting, species survival, and community development initiatives supported in Africa and Latin America by various exhibitors.
Perhaps the most well-known, and most misread, verse in the Bible is John 3:16 – “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life [or, life in all its fullness]. 17For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” We tend to read this verse anthropocentrically – For God so loved the people of the world…But God’s vision is bigger by far: for us to live life to the full – the fullness of what God wants for us – is (would be) good news for the whole of creation.
The emerging church will need to develop not only a theology but a missiology of gardening, on a glocal [combining the global and the local] scale.
Chelsea Flower Show , environmental impact , theology , emerging church