For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven…a time to plant… (Ecclesiastes 3:1)

As you may recall, I like gardening, although I am far from being an expert.  I enjoy watching “Gardener’s World”, entranced by Monty Don’s expertise and passion, and, of course, his canine accomplices Nellie and Patty.  Early Spring lured me into buying packets of seeds, varying from the almost exotic Busy Lizzies to the more mundane wild flower collections, scabious and love-in-the mist, Californian poppies and others.  All of the latter group came with the instructions, “sow outdoors in flowering position from March to May.”

Unfortunately, the early promise of Spring quickly vanished as we endured frost, hail, rain in quantities that had me thinking about Noah’s ark, and strong winds.  None of the foregoing being ideal for outdoor seed sowing.  If, like me, you remember those furry environmentalists, the Wombles, you might perhaps recall their lyrics, “Snow in the middle of June, ice in the middle of May, Lightning is lovely if you let it be, it’s like poetry.  As you blunder through the thunder…Wombling in the rain makes you feel so good.”  Sadly, I can’t quite identify with that, but, I do believe that summer will come and that better gardening conditions will, too.  I pray that these very obvious manifestations of climate change will persuade the rich and powerful to act to protect our planet, its people and the environment.

In John 15, Jesus tells us, “I am the vine, and my Father is the gardener…abide in me as I abide in you.  Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides on the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me.  I am the vine, you are the branches.”

Whatever plans I may make, it is our loving Creator God who is, thankfully, in ultimate charge of all that He has made.  As I complain about the cold and wet weather (and I do), I have to remind myself that there are millions of people in other parts of the world who are enduring scorching rising temperatures and unrelenting drought.  We have so much to be thankful for and can pray with Jan Berry:

“We give thanks for the rhythm of the seasons; for all that grows, blossoms and fades, for the seeds that are buried and spring again, for the constant renewal of life from the earth.  We celebrate the flowering of HOPE.  We give thanks for the fruits of the earth.  We praise God for the goodness of growth.” And all God’s people say AMEN!


Gardening God,
tending the ground and all that grows
making space for the roots and branches to reach out
that fruit will flourish
remind us of our growth in you.

Gardening God,
pruning and gathering and burning
making space for new fruit,
cutting back dead wood,
remind us of our growth in you.

Gardening God,
without you we cannot live
because of you, our life and love is true.
We remain in you,
and by your Spirit we bear your fruit,
then the world will know the glory of your truth.

Revd. Anne Sardeson (from URC 2018 Prayer Handbook)