Tending To Your Garden

The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to till it and keep it. -Genesis 2:15

Dear members and friends, 

One definition of the word “paradise” is the Garden of Eden, while a more conventional definition isan ideal or idyllic place or state.” The Western history of literature shows clearly how people in the West, especially Christians, idealized the Garden of Eden, while still seeking a pathway into it spiritually or at times even physically. Life in the Garden of Eden is both understood and assumed as the most ideal way of living as humans, emphasizing a life in which there is no need of work and no presence of sickness and death. However, the Bible describes another side of living in the Garden of Eden, “God created humans to till the garden and keep it safe.” Unlike the conventional understanding and assumptions, life in the Garden of Eden was not to be a free ride without any work or challenge. Rather, as clearly stated in Genesis, the responsibility to tend to the garden belonged to humans.

The primary focus of my spiritual cultivation since I was 16 has been how to cultivate peace of mind. Consequently, I became interested in the state of being “happy.” In my understanding, obtaining inner peace is a prerequisite to obtaining happiness. According to Swedenborg, pursuing a joyful life is a God-given right to all humans. Yet, whenever I am being conscious of the state of the world on a variety of levels and aspects, I am troubled about how to feel peaceful and happy. Often, my heart is ladened with sorrow when I reflect on the pains and suffering of my neighbors both near and far. Whenever I pray on this suffering, the deeper message from God has been “till the garden and keep it safe.” In this case, the garden is my own mind, and thus spirit. 

My brothers and sisters in God, the original Garden of Eden symbolizes our own minds and spirits, which we need to till and keep safe. The world is indeed filled with many illnesses and pain influenced deeply by the dark side of humanity. At this time, we might need to come to prayers and spiritual cultivation to till our minds and spirits, and keep them safe.

Blessings, Rev. Junchol Lee