George MacDonald is the "contributing author" for today's sabbath rest post. I flirted with similar ideas on one of this blog's side page about the garden and spirituality, but he states these ideas of imagery and reality so eloquently I'm emphasizing this essential beauty of gardening again through his words, as they are edited by Michael Phillips. This is not just the formal spirituality built intentionally into some gardens, that is a soliciting sort of spirituality. This is more a responsive one that depends on the state of mind of the receiver rather than on the garden constructed. Be prepared to throw wide the gates of your mind to understand his ideas. He can be a little complex on a first read, but the nourishment found in these ideas is definitely worth the concentration!
All high things can be spoken only in figures and images. These figures, having to do with matters too high for them, cannot fit intellectually. They can be interpreted truly, understood aright, only by those who have the spiritual fact in themselves.
It was never the design of the Lord to explain things to our understanding--nor would that in the least have helped our necessity. What we require is a means, a word, whereby to think and understand high things within ourselves. Such will true figures--for a figure may be true while far from perfect--always be to us. But the imperfection of the Lord's figures cannot lie in excess. Be sure that in dealing with any truth, its symbol, however high, must come short of what glorious meaning the truth itself holds. It is the low stupidity of an unspiritual nature that would interpret the Lord's meaning as less than his symbols. The true soul sees, or will come to see, that his words, his figures always represent more than they are able to present. For the heavens are higher than the earth, so are the heavenly things higher than the earthly signs of them, no matter how good those signs may be.
And what for example might be one of these signs MacDonald describes? He uses one beautiful one I'll share here.
The root and stem may thirst for the flower for whose sake they exist, so too may the life in men cause them to long for him who is their life and thirst for its own perfection within them.
Let us say to the Lord, "Jesus, are you loving the Father in there? Then we out here will do his will patiently waiting till he open the door. We shall not mind the wind or the rain much. For perhaps you are saying to the Father, Your little ones need some wind and rain. Their buds are hard. The flowers do not come out. I cannot get them to be made blessed without a little more winter weather. Then perhaps the Father will say, Comfort them, my Son Jesus, with the memory of your patience when you were missing me. Comfort them that you were sure of me even when everything about seemed so unlike me, so unlike the place you had left.
In a word let us be at peace, because peace is at the heart of things...
Thy will, O God, be done! Nothing else is other than loss, decay, and corruption. There is no life but that born of the life that the Word made in himself by doing thy will, which life is the light of men. Through that light is born the life of men--the same life in them that came first into being in Jesus. As he laid down his life, so must we lay down our lives, that as he lives we may live also. That which was made in him was life, and the life is the light of men.