back to the garden…

“Is this heaven?”
“No…it’s Iowa” -Field of Dreams

I heard a song recently that I thought I knew quite well. It was made famous by Crosby, Stills and Nash but was written by Joni Mitchell. The name of the song is Woodstock and until recently, I’d never heard Joni’s version. It’s much slower, fewer instruments and enunciated much clearer. And as she sang, the words that I knew, struck me in a whole new way.

Well, I came upon a child of God
He was walking along the road
And I asked him, “Tell me, where are you going?”
This he told me

Said I’m going down to Yasgur’s Farm
Gonna join in a rock and roll band
Got to get back to the land and set my soul free.

We are stardust, we are golden
We are billion year old carbon
And we’ve got to get ourselves back to the garden. – Joni Mitchell

You know, we were not made for disease. We weren’t made for broken bones or heartache or growing old. We weren’t made for death.

Adam and Eve walked in the garden with God. Can you imagine that? “Whatcha doin’ tonight, Eve?” “Oh, I’m just going for a walk in the garden with God.”

Think of a garden. Lush, green, cool in the evening, the smell of fresh earth, full of plants and trees. Birds nesting and singing to their babies; butterflies flitting about. I don’t know about you, but it sounds like paradise to me.

And…it was. It was paradise. And that’s what struck me about Joni’s song. And we’ve got to get ourselves back to the garden.

Back to a time and place where we literally walked with God.

Everyone has their own idea of what Heaven will be like. Even with the descriptions we are given in the Bible, it’s impossible to grasp the magnitude of what is waiting for us. Jesus said that in His Father’s house, there are many rooms and that he is going to prepare a place for us. So, we know, it’s big. (John 14:1-3)

In Revelation 21, John describes a “New Jerusalem” and God dwelling among the people. In verse 4, it says, “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” So, once again, we will be in God’s presence and the hurts of this world will be far behind.

I used to wonder if we would know each other in Heaven. But I was reading recently about the Transfiguration (Matthew 17) and it hit me…How did Peter, James and John know that Jesus was with Moses and Elijah? They’d been dead for generations and it’s not like they had the internet and could Google them. But as soon as they appeared, Peter said, “Lord, it is good for us to be here. If you wish, I will put up three shelters – one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.”

Peter knew who they were…and so, I believe, we will not only know those that we knew here on earth, but we will know everyone. How? Well, if I knew the answer to that, I’d be God. But won’t that be wonderful?

I thought about Joni’s song tonight while I was in our garden. I thought about how much work it is to care for a garden and how satisfying it is when you see those plants grow or you pick those vegetables and fruits. Is it any wonder that I love it so much? That being there in the quiet of the morning or the cool of the evening is like a balm to my soul? I was literally created to be in the garden.

What is your “garden”? Is it a hike in the woods or a beach at the shore? Do you go there often? Can you push away the noise and rush of the day? I hope you can. I hope it woos you like lover and calls to you when you stay away too long. I hope you find solace and peace…and above all, I hope you find your creator, waiting there to walk with you.

I remember, when our sons, Derek and Craig, were young and they would ask what Heaven was like, Jim would answer, “I don’t know…but I be the fish will be biting!”

I have a feeling he’s right!


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