for the second time during my curacy at Brunswick I was asked this week by the team at S4B to help judge their annual Gardening Competition. It’s a role that I have some experience of having judged lots of gardens over the years as a City Council Housing Officer. Given that gardening is one of my favourite pastimes, walking around the local area looking over fences and walls, inspecting shrubs, trees, flowers and veg is an enjoyable experience for me.
Judging gardens may be a pleasant task, but not necessarily an easy one. Just taking account of the appearance and layout of the planting, hides the challenge of growing unusual plant varieties or the obstacles the gardener may have had to overcome difficulties with their type of soil, invasive weeds or hungry pests. That’s why I especially like talking to fellow gardeners about how they have nurtured their plants and the time and skills they have used to get their gardens looking in such good shape despite the unpredictable Manchester weather.
The themes of horticulture and judgement cropped up in our sermon on Sunday morning. To help get his teachings across, Jesus often used the things around him that were common to the people of his day, weaving them into his parables to help illustrate his point. Just like the gardens that I saw around Brunswick this week, judging the message of the parables on first appearances alone might mean that we miss out on some new insight if we fail to dig a bit deeper. The Parable of the Weeds, (Matthew 13:24-30 & 36-43) with its surprising advice to leave the weeds growing in the wheat field, can tell us something about us leaving the judging of the World at the end of time to God, whilst at the same time taking up the responsibility to grow the Kingdom of God by sharing the Good News that we hear from Jesus with those around us.
Come and join us this Sunday to hear more about the Parables of Jesus as we move into our Summertime all age services. I hope that your eyes and ears will be blessed, just like those of the first disciples, because of what God shows us and how he speaks us as we come together for our weekly gathering.