“Rooted in Movement: Gardens” by The Rev. Stephanie Kendell

March 24th,2022 Categories: Stephanie Kendell Letters, Weekly Letter
Beloved Friends,

I hope this week you are filled with life and love from God and each other. It is my joy to share with you that I am once again an Auntie, as my family welcomed in another member of the next generation. This new life and love is precious and joyful for my family and maybe for yours as well, but it also is not lost on me all those for whom this past week has been one of frustration, grief, and trauma. We continue to pray for those affected by war, those who long for and work toward justice, and those who continue to call us into our best selves and community. This community is so special and made even more incredible by each one of you. I hope you know how grateful I am to serve God with you.  I hope that you will join us for worship on Sunday.

These past few weeks we have been in the garden of early creation. We have encountered new life, new relationships, and unforeseen circumstances. Gardens are an important part of our faith. We are called to feed each other from the food they produce, and we are called to rest in them. Gardens are spaces where creation begins again and for the first time. This week we are in a new garden from a passage in the Song of Songs. Song of Songs is not a book we often engage. It is a book about desire, love, and relations. And in this week’s passage it gives us a vision of a new garden. This garden is not about the longings or toils of life, it is a garden of splendor and contentment. It is sometimes hard to imagine this type of contentment especially in a world that often highlights its brokenness over its beauty but scripture like this can offer us hope that the gardens of our lives that are yet to come can and will be ones of love and new life. I wonder if this scripture which is written with poetic phrasing, does that for you? Let’s read together from this week’s passage and reflect on what our still speaking God is saying to us in this season:

To a woman . . .
7 All of you is beautiful, my beloved companion;
there is no flaw in you.
8 With me! From Lebanon, my bride, come with me;
come with me from Lebanon.
Depart from the peak of Amana,
from the peak of Senir and Hermon,
from the dens of lions,
from the mountains of leopards.
9 My heart is yours, my sister, my bride,
my heart is yours with just one of your eyes,
with one jewel of your necklace.
10 How beautiful is your love, my sister, my bride!
How much better is your love than wine,
and the fragrance of your oils more than every spice!
11 Honied sweetness drips from your lips, my bride;
honey and milk are under your tongue;
the scent of your garments is like the scent of Lebanon.
12 A garden locked is my sister, my bride,
a garden locked, a fountain sealed.
13 Your limbs are an orchard of pomegranates
with all choicest fruits: henna with nard,
14 nard and saffron, sweet cane and cinnamon,
with every kind of frankincense tree,
myrrh and aloes, with all the best spices:
15 A garden spring, a well of living water,
streaming from Lebanon.
To a woman’s beloved . . .
16 Awake, Zaphon, northern wind,
and come, Teman, southern wind!
Blow upon my garden
that its spice-scent might flow.
Let my beloved come to their garden,
and partake of its choicest fruits.

Song of Songs 4:7-16 (Year W)

  • When you think of a garden what do you think of?
  • Where do you see God in this passage?
  • What phrase or word gave you pause?
  • As you read this passage who did you imagine speaking to?
  • What are the ways you see love at work in this scripture?

Shalom Y’all
Rev. Stephanie

Simple Prayer: O God, Help me build gardens of love. Amen