1 a: to clear of weeds <weed a garden> b (1): to free from something hurtful or offensive (2): to remove the less desirable portions of
J took A and B with him to Sunday School this morning. While they were there, I cut the grass and started weeding the vegetable garden. As I sat pulling weeds, hot, sweaty and itchy, it occurred to me that worship is far broader than we normally acknowledge.
I've only recently discovered that I enjoy vegetable gardening. Previously, I really disliked gardening because of the necessity of weeding. It seemed to me that gardening was as much about killing as nourishing and I suppose in some ways that is still true, but I see now that death and life are, indeed, part of the same cycle, one as necessary as the other. But it deeply satisfies me to spend time out there in the mulch and straw, protecting the plants that are growing, monitoring them for blossoms and nourishing them with water. And I've found that vegetables motivate me more than plants, which do nourish our soul with beauty, but don't nourish our bodies. I find I'm more focused and concerned on our small crop of veggies than I ever would be about a batch of lilies.
I still have to weed my vegetable garden. Even using "weedless gardening" where we put down cardboard, hauled in earthy matter and planted on top, grass barges in. So while I sit and pull up what I don't want in order to get to fresh, juicy tomatoes and crisp, green cucumbers, I think about how gardening is so much like life.
Taken unit by unit, there is more in my garden that I don't want than that I want. While I have about 20 vegetable plants, I have more weeds than I can count. About every other day, I'm out there pulling up the bad stuff to get to the good stuff. If I don't, I'll have wasted all of this time and energy on nothing. And the weeds will overtake everything.
As I weed, I wonder whether I am as vigilant in my life. Do I regularly take stock of whether my life contains what is worthwhile? Am I letting things of little value choke out the components that make life worth living? Am I even taking time to decide consciously what I'm trying to grow?
So while J, A and B spent time worshiping in a more traditional way this morning, I was pondering my heart and my life in the garden. If nothing else, the weeds gave me cause to take stock and consider my life. That, I believe, is an act of worship.