When did you last walk around your garden?
I sat in the conservatory, the doors flung wide open, of my friend’s house. I feasted my eyes on the bountiful array of flowers and shrubs grown in the year-round mild climate on the south coast of England.
A palm tree towered overhead, its leaves swaying and swishing in the breeze.
Deep red Clematis flowers peeped out between the maroon leaves of a bush in which it tangled itself.
Vivid pink and purple flowers of Fuchsia plants cascaded onto the lawn.
An overweight wood pigeon, who had become rather partial to peanuts left out for the sparrows, strutted on the grass like a portly English gentleman.
I watched my daughter and friend, both keen gardeners; wander slowly, pausing to talk about the plants.
Our afternoon was a restful relief from the bustle and noise of London. With higher than average temperatures for July, the capital had become unbearable. Hot air spewed from the idling engines of red double-decker buses and heat radiated from the concrete pavements hiking up the temperature.
We found respite close to our Airbnb in Hyde Park. Through the black wrought iron gates we entered into a tranquil sanctuary.
On a summer evening, still light at nine o’clock at night, and as the sun began to dip in the sky we walked in the long grass under the branches of wide spreading beech, oak and horse chestnut trees.
Immediately, it felt a few degrees cooler.
Groups of friends, couples, and single people reclined in the grass of this oversized garden in central London.
The buildings had disappeared from view. Only the London Eye and the Shard skyscraper could be seen at certain points in the far distance.
The traffic became a faint roar in the background.
My friend’s garden and Hyde Park remind me of another garden, filled with beauty and peace, before our perfect world became twisted and mangled.
In this garden, God walked in the cool of the day.
The man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, says Genesis 3:8.
The wording gives the impression this evening walk was a regular event for God.
God came down to enjoy his created world. Yet, as we read on, we sense God didn’t come down to be alone but to enjoy time and conversation with the man and the woman. For God asks: “Where are you?” to Adam, because the man wasn’t there to meet with God.
What did they usually talk about, I wonder? Did Adam show God the creeping plant he had lovingly trained to make a flowering canopy? Did he discuss the cattle that had just calved?
On this particular occasion, guilt and shame kept the couple from coming to be with God.
We sense disappointment in God’s voice.
It’s the same with us, when we choose not to spend time with God.
God wants to be with you, regardless of you feeling unworthy, ashamed, or fearful.
So I invite you, if you have a garden, to take a few minutes, step out of your door, and walk with God. Or find a park, a leafy neighborhood, a coastal path to enjoy time with him.
During this one week of summer, in the cool of the evening or before the sun gets too high in the sky, spend time with your God and simply discuss your day. Share in the comments how you spent your time.