I love the Missouri Botanical Garden in St. Louis, especially in the spring and summer when the rose garden is in full bloom. I love seeing all the different varieties and colors and the smell is heavenly.
When I was young I remember watching the TV show called, “The Addams Family”. One of the main characters on the show was Morticia Addams who wore all black. I remember one episode where she had a tall glass vase on a table with a dozen long stem roses in the vase and she was using gardening snips to cut the roses off of the stems. I guess to this character the thing of beauty was the stem and not the rose. It was comedy and I liked its zaniness as most 8 year olds do.
I know I am jumping around but bear with me here. I want to take you to the beginning of the book of Genesis. Genesis 3:1) After God created everything in the universe, including the earth, He created a place. This is the place where God created His most loved, special and detailed work. He created Adam, the first man and He placed Adam in the Garden of Eden. Soon afterwards God realized that it was not good for man to be alone and He created Eve from Adam’s rib. Now, before they sinned they lived in a physical state that is very different from the way we live today. They were made in the image of God and sin had not yet rearranged them. The glory of God was on the outside of them as a special covering and shield. The actual order was the Spirit of God was that glory; then within that was their soul and the skeleton of this whole appearance was their physical body. Their body was created to be a framework that held all the other things. It was not designed to be on the outside like we live with today. And when Eve and Adam sinned (rebelled) that which was on the outside of the body was driven deep within it. The Glory of God was ripped away and Adam and Eve found themselves naked for the first time in their lives and they were embarrassed and ashamed. What actually happened was that for the first time Adam and Eve saw their nakedness which means they saw their differences. (Genesis 3:7, Genesis 2:9 Amplified, 1 Thessalonians 5:23)
the Glory of God was a uniting shield
that kept them close to God but also close to each other. Up until that point they were one with each other and with God. But sin ripped all of them apart. Each became an individual, isolated and alone in a way they had never been before. Adam and Eve became scared and they no longer felt that closeness or oneness with God and they hid from Him. They were now sin-filled and by that sin were re-created in the image of the serpent. Up until this point, however, the three of them were one. God, Adam and Eve were three in one.
With the introduction of sin came the introduction of jealousy, pettiness, strife, anger, anxiety, pride and a whole host of emotions. (Romans 5:12 )They ended up being the first couple to need marriage counseling!
So, now we are ready to zoom forward to today. As their original sin has been passed down from generation to generation it has exponentially increased. We now live in a place that is very far away from that Garden of Eden that Adam and Eve were in. And the hardest part is that we never had the chance to experience for ourselves what it was like to live in the Garden before the fall. This much I do know, we all crave that state of being and I believe that is what we are ultimately praying for. We all want to go back. We want the place where there is no violence or war. We long to be united with God in that kind of oneness that is so protected. We yearn for the experience to know our “likeness” with God and never again bump up against our “differences” with each other. (Genesis 1:26)
Why did I title this entry “A “Stem” Garden?”
Because, I wanted to point out a view of the relationship between man, woman and God. It appears on this fallen, sin-filled world that men get it all and women get left out. In the Bible men appeared to be more loved and favored by God than women. Women were considered property (as they sadly are today in some countries).
So, it is easy to look at the misshapen world around us and assume that the way it is is the way it was originally designed to be… but it isn’t.
In our round trip tour of this topic let’s revisit The Missouri Botanical Garden. If Morticia Addams were let loose on the rose garden and she were to lop off all the heads and blooms from the stems, would anyone go to the garden to enjoy it? Well, I guess Morticia would but not most of us. I want you to think of sin as being those snips
that Morticia had done to the roses on the TV show. Sin has cut us off from our bloom. Sin has left each of us without our Glory. We are all now just stems, green leaves and roots. Not much of a beautiful garden are we? But God decided that that wasn’t His perfect plan for us. He said “NO!” to this way of life because it wasn’t life we are living without His Glory, it is death. We just have become so used to this skewed way of life that we don’t know it is really death. We are no longer three in one but just all stems.
There is another reason I am talking about flowerless flowers, though.
The Bible says that “husbands are to love their wives as Christ loves the Church” (Ephesians 5:25). This gives me a new visual. I now see what I believe is the original perspective that God had of Adam and Eve before they fell from grace. I see Adam as the stem, green leaves and roots. I see Eve as the beautiful flower on the end of that stem. Neither will thrive or survive without the other.
Each has his/her own function and therefore each has needs separate from the other for God, their creator to meet. Neither is more important than the other and in order to reproduce the entire plant is needed. God must build the stem and roots to support the bloom and He must do different things for them to do their job than what is needed for the bloom itself. God must nourish it to channel that nourishment up to the bloom. And when that is done well the flower opens into the most beautiful scent with the most vivid colors. Now, this is the Garden of Eden that God had intended on growing but that is not what we have today. Despite that fact, God WILL have this Garden in the future but it won’t be mingled with sin when it is the new reality.
Reality is reality. Jesus knows that this isn’t the Garden of Eden pre-fall down here on earth. It is a war zone. Jesus knows that we are now each individuals and we have been cut off from that vital, life-giving supply of spiritual nutrients. So, Jesus came to offer Himself as God in the flesh to die on the cross to become that Way for us to receive the nutrients we need. And beyond His gracious gift He gave to us the Holy Spirit; that indwelling Spirit that blooms, scents and colors our Spirits with the fragrance and majesty of God, Himself. The Holy Spirit deposits the divine nature within us. (2 Peter 1:4) When Adam and Eve sinned and they lost the Glory of God that surrounded them, God didn’t say, “oh well, now there is no other plan. They’re all sunk!” God had this plan in place all along. But, this plan is in place only for a time; a season. It is a temporary fix. One day we (in Christ) will be completely united with Jesus for all eternity. When I say “we” I mean the Church. The veil of vagueness and the fleeting feelings of God’s presence will be wiped away and we will then experience God as Adam and Eve did in the Garden of Eden. We will share in a oneness with God that is unimaginable, unfathomable, unshakeable and consistently the same……forever.
Jesus longs for this day when we all can be united with Him as one. His heart is so intent on this that He has gone to prepare a special place for us, the Church; His Bride.(John 14:2) Jesus will come to rapture the Church not just to take her away from the tribulation but to join with her in marriage and to consummate the marriage in a Spiritual way of full and complete oneness (beyond and fuller than any sexual act on earth can possibly produce). A oneness where the walls separating us fall away and we no longer see our differences but share our commonalities to the core of our being having the Holy Spirit binding us each together with Christ. And a place where there is no more rot, disease, sin or decay. A place away from war, jealousy and rage. His Kingdom is a place of peace. For Jesus, being that supporting, nourishing roots and stem is key. He desires deeply to nourish His betrothed Bride. He yearns to give her every honor and favor; to adorn her with beauty. He looks after her every need. The more beautifully she blooms the more He sees that He is succeeding in His role of channeling the vital nutrients that keep her beautiful, full, rich and glorious. And when she is glorious then it is a direct reflection on Him. It shows that He has the power to keep her that way while she is here on earth but also He has the power to keep her that way throughout eternity. When she is glorious and radiant she is able to reproduce as well. She can bring others into Christ.
Now, that I can imagine the original design I can see the magnificence of the symbiosis that must occur to make it all work. I can see that God never has loved a woman less than a man and will never succumb to the temptation to do so. His love is as full to each according to each’s needs. It is the same with forgiveness of sins. Men are not more forgiven of their sins than women. We are each forgiven the same which is completely! And men aren’t forgiven first with women hanging on in second.
The difference and importance are not in whether you are a “stem” or a “bloom”. And it is not whether you are married or not. The importance is whether you have Jesus to complete you. Jesus sees how incomplete we are and when we ask Him to He will take the place of that which is missing in us.
He will be our bloom if all we are is a stem and He will be our stem if all we are is a bloom.
Now that we are all separated from each other and from God we are either a stem without a bloom or a bloom without a stem. When we accept Jesus, He places His Spirit within us which then completes us and makes us whole again. (Ephesians 1:23, John 14:26, Revelation 19:7)
So, I hope this entry has given you food for thought. Keep seeking Him and tune in again and together we will hopefully have more great moments where we find ourselves
blinking in sunlight.