We’ve journeyed together now through three gardens over these three weeks. A Garden Of Creation, a Garden of Sorrow, and finally, wonderfully, a Garden of Resurrection.
All of humanity’s stories began in a garden, but this chapter of our story, this ‘present age’ as the old Hebrew teachers called it, will end in a City. One day, a new Heaven and a new Earth will come, in glorious fulfilment of God’s faithfulness, and we will begin an eternity in the City Of God as our great new story begins with Him.
That city is described in glittering detail in John’s Revelation, but I am sure that even in our wildest imagination we cannot begin to fathom what it will be like. Lit by the light of His glory, with gates that will never be shut, we will enjoy His presence, no longer through a glass dimly, but knowing in full, even as we are now fully known.
But the journey to that city makes its way through these three gardens. And so do our lives.
If we do not journey the Cross, we cannot live the story of the Resurrection. We cannot have the Kingdom if we do not embrace the King. Our lives lead through our Creator’s gardens to His city of Hope, but we must embrace that journey of sacrifice and hail Him as the one and only King of all.
The good news of the Gospel isn’t just that the King died for us all, or even that He rose again. The good news is that He’s also good in all of His ways. The good news is that He is love, and His justice is marked by His mercy.
The good news is that anyone can enter in, but that road leads first to a cross.
We join with Him as we also lay down our lives at that cross, a symbol of shame and suffering, now transformed to an emblem of everlasting hope. We bring all of our lives, the good and the bad, what we’re proud of and what we’re shamed by, what we’ve achieved and what we’ve lost, and we cast our crowns, so worthless in the light of His glory, at His nail-scarred feet.
All of humanity stands, there on the level ground, in front of the cross of Christ. And we must all die with Him there, leaving our old lives, ruled by the sins and desires of this present age.
But then we rise with Him. Though we long for the age to come, we rise now in its power, because that power is His and was won by the greatest sacrifice. We live in this present evil age as citizens of the age to come; we walk through the gardens of sorrow, but we are heading for the city of His glory, where all of our tears will be wiped away and we will dwell in His presence forever.
Our journey is the Cross. But our story is the Resurrection.
Thank you for joining me for these reflections and for this story of three gardens. I write these final words here on this Good Friday, but I know, with all of my heart, that Sunday is coming and that though our journey may at times be painful, our stories are headed to hope.
May the Lord bless you as you allow Him to rewrite a new story over your life this Easter season.