Daily Worship

Gardening Together

Jo Black June 22, 2024 4 3
Image credit: Unsplash
Listen to this daily worship

Isaiah 58: 6-12 (NIVUK)

6 ‘Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:
to loose the chains of injustice
    and untie the cords of the yoke,
to set the oppressed free
    and break every yoke?
7 Is it not to share your food with the hungry
    and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter –
when you see the naked, to clothe them,
    and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?
8 Then your light will break forth like the dawn,
    and your healing will quickly appear;
then your righteousness will go before you,
    and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard.
9 Then you will call, and the Lord will answer;
    you will cry for help, and he will say: here am I.

‘If you do away with the yoke of oppression,
    with the pointing finger and malicious talk,
10 and if you spend yourselves on behalf of the hungry
    and satisfy the needs of the oppressed,
then your light will rise in the darkness,
    and your night will become like the noonday.
11 The Lord will guide you always;
    he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land
    and will strengthen your frame.
You will be like a well-watered garden,
    like a spring whose waters never fail.
12 Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins
    and will raise up the age-old foundations;
you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls,
    Restorer of Streets with Dwellings.

We do love an extended metaphor at Sanctuary First – but when it comes to mobilising ourselves to be missional, what does it look like for us to be a “well-watered garden” (see verse 11)? It’s not a case of simply hydrating well and donning floral fabrics!

The image of a garden, Eden, first appears in scripture in Genesis 2:8 – a place where God and His creation are living in perfect relationship and harmony. Yet this is certainly not our own experience of living in this fractious world. Isaiah 58 offers us the Father’s cry against the injustice He sees, even from people who would posture themselves as His. He is not looking for religious rituals, but for Kingdom living that brings life.

When we sow justice, care, generosity and selflessness, the light that brings forth life will shine.

When we dig out oppression, poverty, and the systems that keep people trapped in hopelessness — we irrigate channels for His thirst-quenching water to flow.

When we create safe spaces for others to flourish, we will find ourselves sheltered by Him.

What has been torn down in the name of self-gain at all costs, can be repaired and restored in His name.

And what is so wonderful about this passage is it reminds us that just as the Bible begins in a garden in Genesis, it will also end in a garden city in Revelation – a renewed reality of relationship with the Father in a beautiful new creation full of all He intended and that our hearts yearn for.




Father God

We long to claim that promise of a garden.

Help us to till the earth where You have placed us.

Give us eyes to see the needs around us,

Hearts to long for repair and restoration

And willing hands and feet to take on the work that is needed.

Thank You that You do not leave us to toil alone.

In the most desolate of places,

You fill us with Your Spirit to bring Your life