Posted by: goodgoat | 4 August, 2007

Spirituality – Garden Metaphor

I came across this on a noticeboard in a church this week. I thought it was really good and wanted it to be seen by more people, so here it is…

A Chance to Reflect

No matter what we believe in, we are all spiritual beings. We all have our own unique “spirituality”

  • our sense of the divine, of beauty
  • of what lies beyond and is unseen

But how can we understand our spirituality?

Think of your spirituality as a garden and ask…what makes a garden? You can’t buy them – garden centres don’t sell them ready-made! You have to grow them…

Everything that grows, whether a huge tree or a fragile flower, starts off as a tiny seed hidden from view.

  • What seeds have already come to life in you?
  • What seeds remain hidden in you, waiting for the right time?
  • Are the conditions now right for some more seeds to start growing?

Gardens need water and sunshine. These are gifts…you cannot buy or demand them…but you can recognise and receive them. What provides the water and sunshine for your spirituality?

  • the love of a friend?
  • time alone in a special place?

Gardens need pollination by insects, birds and the wind if they are to grow… So, with our spirituality, there must be movement…exchange… How does this happen for you?

  • By talking and listening to friends?
  • By taking part in a group?

Gardening involves preventing infection and attack to protect what is growing. This can be hard work and it doesn’t always go according to plan.

  • What might damage the growth in you?
  • What needs protecting and who can help you?

Gardens need both cultivation and wildness.

A garden which is too wild may not be too hospitable or practical. One which is too cultivated loses its connection with the rawness of nature.

  • What is the balance of your spirituality?
  • How might you change it for the better?

Gardening involves cutting back and taking out. Sometimes the action seems drastic and we wonder if we’ve gone too far.

  • What needs pruning or shaping in you?
  • Are there things you regret having cut out?

Reflect on what type of garden you are at this point in your life.

  • A neglected garden – overgrown or healthily wild?
  • A kitchen garden – full to overflowing, producing food for many?
  • A formal garden – impressive, providing space for others?
  • A suburban garden – both beautiful and practical?
  • A cottage garden – modest, but with the potential for abundance?
  • A secret garden – a place only known to you?
  • Or another type of garden?

Which of these make sense to you?

  • I want to be hospitable, to bring people together.
  • I know I want to take these fences down, but I’m not sure I can.
  • There is part of me which will be amazing when it flowers.
  • I want to play and be full of joy.
  • I was excited about one bit but then it got damaged.
  • Some parts are not growing well, but I don’t know why.
  • I was going to sort out this bit but something else cropped up.
  • These parts are growing fast and will offer much food.
If you are interested in learning more about how gardens are used as metaphors in the Bible and reflect more in depth then you might like this book which I have bought myself: Like a Garden: A Biblical Spirituality of Growth



  1. A beautiful piece.

  2. Hi, it’s a great piece, I’m wondering if you know where it came out of or who wrote it? I’d like to pass it on to some more folks, but I try to give credit where I can, thanks very much, Lynn

  3. Good point, Lynn. I’ve just written to the church where I came across the exhibition and will post when I have learned of the origins.

    • I would like to pass this on with proper credit,may I?

      • Source was staff member at Wesley Church, Chester, UK
        Email: info(at)

  4. Did you ever find out who wrote the spirituality garden metaphor?

  5. Hi there, did you ever find out who wrote this spirituality piece?

  6. Source was staff member at Wesley Church, Chester, UK
    Email: info(at)

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