Faith & Worship: A garden retreat

Published 8:00 am Thursday, April 26, 2018

I was sitting on the backyard patio.

It was one of the warm, sunny days we had recently. A slight breeze was blowing, and it brought a little chill to the air, so I sat by a boxwood, which sheltered me.

There, I basked in the bright, warm sunlight. From my vantage point on the patio, I surveyed my backyard.

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Several containers of pansies stood on the patio and walk, adding bold splashes of color. Azaleas in shades of white, red and pinks of various hues were in full bloom.

While the Norway Maples were still tight, other shrubs and trees showed a pastel green.

A pair of bluebirds had taken up residence in a bird box hanging from a crook. They opted not to nest in the bluebird box nearby which, outfitted with a little wire cage I’d purchased from Wild Birds Unlimited designed to keep blacksnakes from intruding, I had fastened to the trunk of a tree. I seldom saw the bluebirds, but I heard their soft, sweet songs.

My backyard patio provides me with a ready retreat, a place for quiet reflection and spiritual renewal. There, surrounded by nature, I commune with God.

And so I understand the sentiment expressed by the poet Dorothy Frances Gurney, who wrote, “The kiss of the sun for pardon, the song of the birds for mirth, One is nearer God’s Heart in a garden. Than anywhere else on Earth.”

That really comes as no surprise since it all began in a garden. “Then the LORD God planted a garden in Eden…and there he placed the man he had created. Then the LORD God made a woman from the rib and brought her to Adam. Toward evening they heard the LORD God walking about in the garden….” (Genesis 8,22;3:8a. NEW LIVING TRANSLATION).

You may also have an outdoor retreat, perhaps a garden,  somewhere where you just sit quietly, absorb the natural world around you and rejuvenate your spirit as you commune with God.


Dr. Darryl E. Maxwell, Retired Baptist Pastor