“Mary Magdalene turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not know it was Jesus…supposing him to be the gardener.”(John 20:14, 15)
On that first Easter, Jesus was not a body buried in the grave but a seed planted in the soil. And that seed became the Gardener.And this Gardener stoops and buries his hands into the soil as he cultivates a damaged garden and restores a broken world.
Of course though this is not where our story starts, nor where it ends.
First, God had a home and it was called Eden. And, in the beginning, Eden, the original heaven-and-earth creation was meant to function not only as a dwelling for humans, but for God himself. But Eden was always more than a place, it was a promise; that here is where God lives.
Heaven and earth belonged together and God was mysteriously present. Heaven and Earth, Soil and Spirit, Human and the Divine, Together. At home.This garden was more than a place it was a promise; that HERE is where God lives.
On Good Friday Jesus was sown into another garden. God, buried his son in a place where living things are cultivated and nourished into new life.
But, a seed planted never remains a seed.Three days later that first seed of new creation bursts forth from the soil and with it comes the kingdom of heaven, here and now, with an invitation for a new way to be human
Jesus the gardener is the enduring and unwavering announcement that the world is not beyond repair. In fact it’s a proclamation that there is a new world bursting forth in and around this present one; and everyones invited. Our Gardener is restoring, reviving and raising a new Eden all around us just beneath the surface of all we see and do, and nothing can prevent this Garden from bursting into life.
The gospel is the enduring and unwavering announcement that against all odds the world can still be made right. Eden was never a product, it was and still is a project in which God’s desire has always been to find partners with whom he can take the word forward.
Every person, created in God’s image and likeness. Our mission, therefore, is to announce at the loudest possible decibel the dignity, worth and love each person in Philadelphia has in Jesus.
So with that, let’s plant a garden in which the city can find its shade.
Colin is the Lead Pastor of C3 PHIILY. Along with his wife Beth and their two children Austin & Indie they currently live in Sheffield, UK and are navigating the challenges of what feels like a long distance relationship with their love, Philadelphia. With a dream in their heart to build an innovative and life giving church that exists for the love of Philadelphia, they’ve sold their home and are busy making plans to move to the East Coast as soon as possible. Colin also brings with him a faint hope of converting the city to a love for Tottenham Hotspur Soccer Team.