I was gardening. Just that. Strimming the overgrown grass, revealing the flowers that had been planted along the labyrinth path in the churchyard. It always had a queer sort of fascination with the locals, seeing someone tending something new, something unexpected and many would stop and chat, poking good humoured fun or questioning why. On this particular occasion, I was supposed to be sat in the ‘vestry’ waiting for baptism applicants and the like, but the grass really did need cutting. So I was just gardening. I say ‘just gardening’ because some might suspect the old Chaplaincy method of ‘lurking with intent’, but I was definitely just gardening, I was even dressed as a gardener so there would be no confusion. As I strimmed and plucked blown-in rubbish from the path, an image from John’s Gospel came to mind. Mary Magdalene by the empty tomb. She does not find Jesus laid out there. She turns and speaks to who she supposes to be the gardener. Mary is searching for someone, for her Lord, friend and companion. Jesus does not stand up and say ‘here I am’ but waits quietly, gardening, one presumes. She is weeping. Concerned, he asks her what is wrong, and she asks if he knows where he is laid. The gardener calls her by name, and she recognises Jesus.
I think I’ll continue gardening, ‘without intent’ and if someone happens by and asks those searching questions, then I can point them in the right direction.