Plants in Paradise

Showing someone my herb and vegetable garden the other day, I was struck by how quickly and prolifically weeds grow. Give the ground, which appears to be full of seeds for their species, a little water and a little time, and a profusion of green erupts from the brown soil with no effort on my part.

How great is the contrast with raising ‘useful’ plants. Why do my vegetables not grow like that? Why is it that weeds grow fast and crowd out  my vegetables instead of it being the other way around? Why are ‘useful’ plants comparatively fragile and need great care and attention to produce well?

Rereading C.S. Lewis’s “Space Trilogy” (Out of the Silent Planet, Perelandra, That Hideous Strength), I noted that his description of the paradasiacal state on Venus (Perelandra) contrasts sharply with our experience. There, the food-producing plants flourish on their own without man’s help. He eats when he has need of food, food is always at hand, and it is always “the best” he has ever tasted. He is at peace with the animals. Indeed, the resources of the planet are marshalled to serve the newly-made man.

What must Paradise have been like for our race! Yet we know nothing of it. Our lives are lived in a world made much less hospitable, even hostile to us, a world from which we must wrest our living with great effort, a world which readily produces ‘thorns and thistles’ and weeds in abundance. But I long for a world where the vegetables will crowd out the weeds…

Published in: on Wednesday, 27 May, 2009 at 08:27  Comments (1)  
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Leavetaking of Pascha

Today we say farewell to the Feast of Pascha until next year: we stop greeting one another with “Christ is risen”, we stop singing the Paschal Troparion “Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death…”, we celebrate Christ’s Ascension and look forward to Pentecost.

Some people wonder why we say “Christ is risen” for forty days after Pascha. Is it not overkill? Too much of a good thing? Yet there is no more important proclamation we can make to the world, for this is the heart of our Christian Faith. The eternal Son of God becoming man, tasting of death for us and conquering it, changes everything for man. Death is not the final word spoken by the universe to man. Through Christ’s resurrection, eternal life is imparted to every man: all will be raised from the grave, souls and bodies reunited, to stand before Christ’s dread judgment seat to be judged for how we have used the gift of life in this world, for the revelation of what the sum of our choices in this life has made us.

The greeting “Christ is risen” proclaims the falsity of the philosophy “eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die.” In our world, this proclamation is needed all year, not just for forty days, for the world largely lives by this false philosophy of life. Too often, we who call ourselves by the name of Christ, despite our professed beliefs, live according to this philosophy as well, treating life in this world as an end in itself rather than seeing it as preparation for eternity.

Though today marks the end of the paschal greeting until next Pascha, we must continue to live according to the Truth it proclaims.

Published in: on Wednesday, 27 May, 2009 at 07:37  Leave a Comment