Exiles from a Long-Ago Garden

We live in a world of exiles. So many are torn from their homeland:;family and places becoming a distant memory. We think of the Israelites who ‘ hung up their harps and wept’ in their exile, their hearts broken and torn. Even when we make a move across our own country there is a feeling of loss and disconnection. We leave behind neighbours and communities, before we are able to make new. Our hearts mourn for our modern-day exiles, fleeing to a safer, lonelier place; family killed or left behind, heritage shattered..

In a sense we are all aliens. This world is not the end of our journey. Earth is not our home, we’re just passing through. St Augustine says ‘You made us for Yourselves, Oh, Lord, our heart is restless until in rests in You.’ We are indeed exiles from a long-ago garden and we have not yet reached the Celestial City.


The other day I had the privilege to hear the oratorio ,’The Creation’ written by Haydn in April 1798. I think of all the oratorios this my favourite with the composer’s rhythmic and melodic harmonies bursting forth. Taking just over four minutes to perform it is based on the first few chapters of Genesis telling of the six days of creation and the time Adam and Eve spent in the Garden of Eden up to the time of the Fall.

The performance took place in the beautiful Carlisle Cathedral. The setting was magnificent, especially the famous blue and gold ceiling depicting the heavens. The atmosphere was sublime especially when the choir sang the chorus ‘The heavens are telling the glory of God, the wonders of His work.’

As I sat listening I was surrounded by the beauty of the cathedral built by the skill of man through the gifts of God and the beauty of God’s creation outside as the daylight gave way to the softer glow of the dusk.

The Garden of Eden

In Genesis 2:15 I like the idea that Adam had to work in the garden. This garden is described as having all kinds of trees growing there; trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food. God knew the importance of trees on the earth and the dangers of deforestation.

I love working in my garden though when I’m complemented on the colourful display, I say ‘God and I do it together, but God does the clever bit.’ I enjoy the idea of working in tandem with God. Much as I need Him, He also need me. We all know that neglected gardens are soon overrun with weeds. Let the weeds stay in the fields and byways. When Eve came along I expect she was involved in the gardening as well. A team of two work better together.

I live in a part of the country which has a river running through it called the River Eden; a gift for flower shops and restaurants which name their businesses The Garden of Eden. Although it is as muddy and probably polluted as any other river, it still feels special Dare I name my very small garden, the Garden of Eden. Probably not as it doesn’t even contain a tree.