“Hi, Faith, I stopped by to see your garden. Life began in a garden, you know.”
Cher Goodnews smiled at her neighbor.
“Don’t you start on me,” the gardener held up a hand, a bit annoyed. “You know what I believe.” She pushed her reticence aside, gave her friend a half-smile and opened the garden gate. “Glad you’re here; my rose is finally in bloom. Wait ‘til you see!” A teak bench, it’s slats weathered to a gray patina, beckoned, but they passed by, in pursuit of other treasures.
“Faith Hopewell, look at your garden – it’s gorgeous. Who designed all of these wonderful features? I would never have thought of putting veggies in with my flowers – how clever.”
“Why, I created the design, of course. You didn’t think it appeared out of nowhere, did you? It took me a lot of thought to put all of this together” She spread her arms in a sweeping gesture like a queen pleased with her domain. “The edible purple string beans over the arbor are rather striking, are they not?
“Absolutely! Tell me, what are those wonderful scents?”
“You’re walking through a path of thyme; the pungent smell is emanating from that. – the heady fragrance is the jasmine on the picket fence. A little sweet, a little spicy; I like variety.”
“What’s this rose called? I have never seen another bloom with this blend of color. It’s fuchsia with lavender on the edge of the petals.” She bent down to inhale its essence. “Mmm, vanilla. Quite unique.”
Faith beamed. “Yes, that’s my baby.” I named it ‘Sweet Dazzler’. I hybridized it. It took me years to get it right. You can’t get something this perfect by chance.”
Two hummingbirds flitted among the flowers of a trumpet vine meandering its way heavenward on a gnarly old apple tree.
“Oh my, how can a tree this old still bear fruit.” Cher shaded her eyes against the sun’s glare and visually climbed its height. A basket, filled with its bounty, was nestled in the ivy at the trunk.
Faith plucked an apple from the bushel, rubbed it ‘til it glowed and presented it to Cher. “I had to prune it hard; there was a lot of dead wood.” She tenderly patted its ample trunk. “Sorry, old girl,” she caressed it with her voice, “I had to do what I knew was best for you.” Faith glanced around, pleased with her hard work. She put a hand to her forehead and followed Cher’s gaze upward toward the light. “Good ol’ sun. Do you know the sun makes chlorophyll? Without the sun, Cher, this garden wouldn’t exist.”
“Well, I declare, Faith, if I didn’t know better, I’d swear you were trying to share God’s own words.” She bit into the crisp, sweet flesh. “Umm.”
“Don’t you start, Cher Goodnews, you know I don’t believe in creation!”
“You could have fooled me.” Cher took another bite.
“Creation just don’t make sense.” She stood her ground.
“Which part? The part about needing a designer to make a plan or about perfection not being left to chance? Maybe,” she cupped a finger and thumb under her chin, “it’s the part about the Son bringing life out of nothing.”
“You set me up,” Faith crossed her arms – end of discussion.
“They were your words, not mine.” Cher held her palms in the air. “I merely commented on your garden. I do have an interesting verse to share, though.”
“I knew you would.” The gardener averted her eyes and whistled a soft rendition of
It’s a Wonderful World. The sun pointed its beams at a web suspended between two branches, and she glued her gaze on the tiny eight-legged architect in its center.
“Romans 1:20 says, ‘For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities – his eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse. (NIV)
Cher stopped her recital and looked at the same web. “Amazing, isn’t it?”
Faith continued to stare at the intricate detail of the silky masterpiece, her face reflective.
“I see what you mean,” she said, awestruck. She turned back to her friend. “But, what is this ‘…men are without excuse’ stuff?”
Cher put an arm around the woman as they walked past a pair of doves splashing in a birdbath. “Have I ever told you the story of the farmer who went out to sow seed?”
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