A meditation on Isaiah 5

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Something I threw together last week. “Finishing the Song” is the title:

“I have decided to plant a garden on that hill,” the Gardener said one Spring afternoon.

“That hill?” his son asked.

“That hill,” the Gardener answered.


“Because that’s the hill I chose.”

“It is fertile and eager for life,” the counselor said. “The rocks can be removed. The soil can be turned.”

“You’d know,” the son replied. “What about our enemies?”

“We will build a watchtower,” the counselor replied. “All will be welcomed if they seek peace. Those who don’t will be rejected.”

“Why a garden at all?”

“I am King, my son, but I am more. I want to have the world see me through the life I bring. I want people on the road to see my garden. Take in the beauty. Taste the fresh fruit. Drink the wine. I want them to see who I am before they see me.”

“You have already planted a garden.”

“Yes! But that is within the walls now. No one can see that garden anymore. They can’t taste that fruit. Not yet. They will. But not yet. Now, I want to have a garden outside the walls. A garden of life which points to life.”

So they got to work, masters at what they do, eager to step down from their heights and get their hands dirty. Rocks were taken away. Paths were cleared. Choice seeds were found and planted with care. Vines were tended. Small saplings grew to strong trees. Flowers began to bloom. The garden flourished. It was beautiful and the bounty of what it offered in fruit and vegetables was vast. Vintners came and tasted the wine.

“It is magnificent,” they said. “We must share with those back home.”

Messengers were sent to the Gardener King. They brought gifts and praise and honor, declaring his work to be beyond measure.

The Gardener smiled. His son smiled. The counselor smiled.

Those who were hired to tend the garden smiled but not as much as before. They became discontent. The garden was not interesting enough anymore. They heard of different flowers and different trees and different ways of tending the soil. One fellow came along and told them tales of a garden he saw years before.

“There was this tree,” he said. “The fruit of which… wow, amazing. Really opened your mind. Too bad the Gardener won’t let you plant that here. It was something else.”

Those in the garden asked more; about how to find this tree, how to care for it, what it was like, if it could be planted again.

“Well, there are ways,” the man replied. “Of course, you can’t ask the Gardener King. There are others who can help. You need to ask them. They will show you beauty and tastes you can’t even begin to imagine.”

The servants began asking around and taking the advice of any who would offer it. It didn’t take long for their efforts to be noticed.

The counselor came by one day and plucked a fig off a tree, then spit it out after taking a bite.

“Terrible! I must mention this to the Gardener.”

The Gardener knew something had been going wrong, but took special notice now. He saw the flowers were dull and hardly any bees were around. The trees looked brown and the branches drooped. The grapes on the vines were small, shriveled. He tripped over some rocks, rocks that weren’t there before, stumbling into the dirt. He put his nose next to the soil and sniffed. Something was wrong. The soil was poisoned.

“What more could I have done?” he asked, tears streaming down his face. “I had a beautiful garden, with choice grapes and gorgeous flowers. Now look. What have you made of it? The soil is ruined. Nothing will grow.”

His anger began to rise.

“I will tear down the trees. I will break down the hedges. The watchtower will be abandoned. This hill will become a wasteland!”

The servants scattered. The Gardener and his counselor went back to the castle where they met the son..

“The garden is ruined,” the counselor said.

“Can anything be done?” the son asked.

“Yes,” the Gardener said. “But not now. The soil must recover. Then it must be replanted. New, healthy plants grafted onto the old to bring new life. It can be done. But the servants can’t be trusted to do it. Who can I trust? Who can bring life?”

“I will go,” the son replied. “I will replant your garden.”

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