St Columba's - Prayer Garden
'And I saw in the morning so clearly a child's
Forgotten mornings when he walked with his mother
Through the parables
And the legends of green chapels'
From Dylan Thomas: Poem in October
St Columba's Church - Garden of Prayer
Stones tell us stories,
gardens remind us of God,
the wind whispers secrets to us,
nature teaches us wisdom
so as we walk round this garden, let us see what we can learn from it,
how it can teach us what to say to God, and what God says to us
Remembering the old church
Start at the west gate.
With your back to the gate, on your left you will a number of stone carvings from the original St Columba's Church. From the old altar are the carved words of Jesus: ‘I am the light of the world.'
Three stone panels carry traditional Christian symbols
The pelican: The good mother who, legend says, will feed her young with the blood fromher own breast when food is scarce. She has become a symbol of Christ in his relationship with his church.
You might like to thank Jesus for his body on earth, the community of the church. May we be ready to give of ourselves for our communities, as Christ gave himself for us
In hoc signo ‘In this sign' The story goes that the Roman Emperor Constantine was facing an vast army of Barbarians.The night before battle he had a vision of
the cross and heard the words: ‘In this sign you will conquer'. He had all the Eagle standards replaced by crosses, and the Romans were victorious. This marked the beginning of the establishment of Christianity as the official religion of the Roman Empire . In this sign we still do our work today, and you will see these letters on many church objects.
How might Jesus be calling us to step out in his name?
The Lamb of God Jesus is our Passover Lamb: he died at the season of the Passover, and through his death we are saved.
Revelation 5:11-14: Then I looked and heard the voice of many angels, numbering thousands upon thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand. They encircled the throne and the living creatures and the elders. In a loud voice they sang: "Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honour and glory and praise!" Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, singing: "To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honour and glory and power, for ever and ever!" The four living creatures said, "Amen," and the elders fell down and worshiped.
The beloved symbol of all Christians who remember how Jesus died for us. You might like to ponder on the words of St Paul :
Philippians 2:5-11: Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death— even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
The Wild Garden
Move along the side of the church, and take the path up the slope to the back left hand corner of the grounds, where you will come upon the wild garden:
The logs to shelter the bugs Ugly, apparently useless but so valuable for shelter – enabling pollination, fertilisation, cleaning the soil
What about those weeds? We need to be vigilant in the garden and in our lives (in the psalms, David speaks of the enemy lying in wait for us, and he emphasises the importance of rooting them out, not allowing them to take hold. We notice the great variety of them, and consider different ways in which we are tempted and fall. We see too that some of the weeds are so interwoven with the good plants that they have to be allowed to grow with the good plants until they are big enough to tell the difference, and the good plants are strong enough to risk the trauma of yanking the enemies out from round their roots.
You might like to spend a while pondering on this parable:
Matthew 13:24-30:The Parable of the Weeds
Jesus told them another parable: "The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared. "The owner's servants came to him and said, 'Sir, didn't you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?' " 'An enemy did this,' he replied.
"The servants asked him, 'Do you want us to go and pull them up?' " 'No,' he answered, 'because while you are pulling the weeds, you may root up the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.' "
The wild flowers: They have been established gradually; some are very fragile, but they are growing and spreading. Consider: what is the difference between a wild flower and a weed?
Leave the wild garden behind you, and make for clump of holly and buddeia, where you'll find a bench in the shade.
Time to sit and think We all need Sabbath times – God hasn't made us work horses, but he loves to see us play, to have us spend time quietly, to enjoy one another and to get to know him, and to relish the shelter and refreshment he provides.
The tree overhead Look up into it and feel the shelter and protection God provides
The rose - Just a bit along the wall is a rose. It nearly died but was rescued. It seems so sharp and strong, but is actually surprisingly brittle and fragile, and needs support and gentle handling. Some people we think are prickly may in fact just be trying to defend themselves – could we handle them more gently?
The Bible Garden
Continue from the shelter to the back, eastern corner of the garden. There against the wall you will find a collection of plants with little labels with the names of the plants and Bible references, as each plant here has been mentioned in the Bible.
Give yourself time to think of some of the stories where they appear – how marvellous to think that we are seeing the same kinds of plants as those that people were aware of in the Holy Land so many generations ago.
You will find a list of the plants at the back of this leaflet
The Rowan Tree
From the Bible garden walk southward.
You will find a young rowan planted close to the site of the altar of the old church: looking back to years of faithful worship.
The legend of the Rowan : it is planted in gardens and in church grounds to ward off evil spirits
The compass points at its roots remind us of the influence of God across the world, in every aspect of our lives – our challenge to look out to all points of the compass: mission
Think of countries in the news at the moment – stand facing in the direction of each one and pray for God's love to pour across the miles to bring healing.
Remembering those we've loved
To the right of the church door you will find the Ardvreck Memorial
We pause for a moment to thank God for the sacrifice of those from this area who died in the First and Second World Wars. Here is a chance to pray for an end to war – and to remember those who have lost their lives, and those whose lives have been changed forever by war – and for their families and friends who mourn them.
To the left of the church door and just round the west side of the church, you will find
The memorial stones for family members
As we read the names, we rejoice in the generations of people who have made up the family of this church, and we thank God for placing us in this living community where we can share in the life and service and support of all those who have gone before us.
Plants represented in St Columba's Church Bible Garden
- Balm Ezekiel 27:17, (RSV)… honey, oil and balm
- Box Isaiah 60:13, (King James Version )…. the fir tree, the pine tree and the box together….
- Bramble Luke 6:44, (RSV)… nor are grapes from a bramble bush…..
- Broom 1 Kings 19:4 (RSV)….. sat down under a broom tree
- Coriander Numbers 11:7 (RSV ) Now the manna was like coriander seed…….
- Fennel (Galbanum) Exodus 30:4 (RSV) Take sweet spices……
- Garlic Numbers 11:5-6 (RSV) ….the leeks, the onions and the garlic…..
- Hyssop John 19:29 (RSV) ….so they put a sponge full of vinegar on hyssop and held it to his mouth………
- Jacob's Ladder Genesis 28:12(Good News) …..he dreamt that he saw a stairway……
- Lily Hosea 14:5 (RSV) Hosea 14:5 …..he shall blossom as the Lily…
- Linum (Flax) John 20:5 (RSV) ……he saw the linen cloths…..
- Mint and Dill Matthew 23:23 (RSV ) “Woe to you, Scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint, dill and cumin“………….
- Mallow Job 6:6(NRSV)…. “is there any flavour in the juice of mallows?”
- Poppy Isaiah 40:6 (RSV) ….. the flower of the field …..
- Rue Luke 11:42 (RSV) “….you tithe mint and rue“……
- Solomon's Seal Matthew 6:6 “Not even Solomon, in all his splendour”
- Star of Bethlehem (also known as “dove's dung”) 2 Kings 6:25 ….two hundred grammes of dove's dung………
- Wormwood Proverbs 5:4 (RSV) ….”her end is bitter as wormwood”…..