Forgive my hiatus. I'd blame it on a lot of things that aren't true, but reality is that blogging takes discipline... and discipline and I are just now becoming civil towards one another. I think the biggest thing standing between me and regular blogging is a fanciful pursuit of perfection. As penance for the folly of believing I can create seven hundred-word literary art every day, I offer the following:
My lawn and I have a love-hate relationship. That is assuming that my lawn loves me on some level.
I know that there are many many people who take great joy and pride in their flower beds and neatly manicured landscapes. I see their horticultural wonders emblazoned with signs like “Yard of the Month”, “Super-Awesomest Yard of the World” and “Waaay Better Than Jay's Yard” as I drive through my neighborhood lobbing mental eggs at their houses. For my part, I am happy if the weeds in the flowerbed are the flowering kind. I am going to put a sign in my OWN yard that says something like, “Most Natural Garden Award”. In truth, I love the look of a freshly mown lawn. When I DO venture into my homeowner's proving ground and end up with a neatly uniform carpet of bermuda complete with a pristinely hewn edge, it gives me a deep sense of satisfaction – kinda like passing a kidney stone I would guess... The problem is, even when I invest the amount of time, energy and sweat to chisel out a suburban oasis, it doesn't last. With the proper amount of water and sunlight, my “labor of toleration” will become a scraggly 'scape once again in need of a trim. It's the same reason that I find building sand castles frustrating and have an unmanly love for lamination.
That said, there is an awful lot to learn from working in the yard. One thing I noticed on my last foray into the foliage is that one of the primary differences between weeds and grass lies beneath the soil. With the right amount of torque and time, you can rid your yard of just about any weed by concentrating on one at a time. Not so with grass. I had some patches of grass spring up in an area where they weren't wanted. As I started to unearth one end of the patch what became apparent was that it had developed a fine yet impressive network of roots with the surrounding shoots. It was not going to give way easily because it had thousands of other blades that were committed to its survival standing nearby. A weed is not so tough – you grab it near the base, give it a carful tug and out comes it's entire root system. It is a lone ranger of gardening sabotage – unconnected and spending all the resources it can harvest on its own well-being. That's part of why it's so easy to find weeds. They spring up faster, taller and weaker than the healthy grass around it. On the other hand, grass is more content to grow slowly and distribute resources. One of the best ways to control weeds is to have healthy grass. The weeds just have no place to grow!
I think it's pretty easy to see some spiritual application from the life of a lawn. Corporately, the importance of the community (the body) of faith cannot be overstated. Being one with Christ and each other, when it is a healthy relationship, provides us with the shared resources we need to stand firm. When we go it alone, like a weed, we are easily uprooted. Individually, we often exert boatloads of energy trying to keep our spiritual turf free of weeds. We try to keep our morality in check (and that of others) by pointing out the dandelions of depravity and then applying ourselves to removing them. While that will work for the moment, the weeds come back – or they spring up in other places. The problem isn't the weed, per se, but the availability of fertile ground. The best way to rid ourselves of the various idolatries that captivate us is to give them no place to grow. When our lives are cultivated to be fully entranced by the glory of God, there is simply no room for competing idols to take root. All the resources are being used. Let us commit ourselves today to tending our faith by pushing deeper into the rich soil of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.