We are Companions of the Garden
In ancient times, one of the greatest honors that could be bestowed on a person by a king or person of high position was to make someone a “companion of the garden.” Kings or others of high influence built magnificent, walled gardens. The greatest of these were the Hanging Gardens of Babylon built by King Nebuchadnezzar. So magnificent were Nebuchadnezzar’s gardens that they are named one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.
These gardens were not available to everyone. For most people in Babylon, there was only a remote view of the beauty over the walls, a waft of the fragrance of the vegetation in the air. Most of the denizens of city were probably what today we would call “lower class,” laborers, craftsmen or slaves. The Hanging Gardens were built and supported by the sweat of their labor.
One of the great honors Nebuchadnezzar could bestow on someone was to be named a “Companion of the Garden.” This, of course, gave the honoree access to stroll the gardens, one of the most beautiful places on earth. But it was much more. A Companion of the Garden had access to the great king himself or his high advisors. Such an honor meant power, wealth and luxury for most. These were things completely beyond the dreams of most.
Becoming a Companion of the Garden was earned by performing some service to the king. And it continued by remaining in the favor of the king. Losing that favor could mean much more than losing access to the garden, it could mean death. It was a really big deal.
The Original Companions of the Garden.
These, of course, were Adam and Eve. Unlike Nebuchadnezzar’s honorees, Adam and Eve did not have to earn their status in the Garden of Eden. It was a gift from God. As Companions of God’s Garden, all of their needs were provided for. All they needed to do was to remain in God’s favor. And the requirements did not seem to be too great. “Do not eat of the Tree of Knowledge.” We know the story, of course. They ate the apple and were expelled for the Garden. God did not abandon them. However, their lives changed completely. They suffered pain, had to work to survive. Death entered the world.
In the city where I live, we are fortunate in having a world-renowned botanical garden. It is a municipally owned asset, supported largely by taxes and admission fees. Anyone can visit these gardens for a small payment. (OK, Saturday mornings are free to those living in the taxing area.)
People can also become “Friends of the Garden” by buying an annual membership. It is a truly magnificent place, though not up to the standards of the Hanging Gardens. I love to visit with my wife or take the granddaughters there.
Companions of the Eternal Garden
As Christians, we have become Companions of the Garden, the Eternal Garden. Unlike the gardens of earthly kings, we do not; we can not earn this great honor. It is a gift to us, the eternal gift from God. Rich or poor, young or old, ill or hale… all who accept Christ Jesus as our Lord and Savior become Companions of this Garden. We need do nothing more. What a magnificent gift from the Creator of all things!
Take a walk, close your eyes, imagine…
Get out, take a walk in a garden, in a park, in the woods, in the mountains or open air. Close your eyes and see the most magnificent place you can imagine. Visit the Hanging Gardens in your mind.
This is but a small glimpse of what we are given, what awaits us as Christians. And it is a gift! From a loving and merciful God. To His children. Through our faith.
Abba, thank you for the blessings of your creation. I bend the knees of my heart in thanks for all that you provide me. The most glorious of these is the gift of your only Son, who bled for us, who suffered for us, who died and was raised so that we can be…
Companions of the Garden Eternal!
Alive in The Word