Common Beauty

Vicia faba flower

Vica Faba flower.

When I was growing up in rural central Pennsylvania, we had a garden. It was a big garden in which we grew vegetables. Mother canned most of them so the family would have nutritious food during the winter months.

We grew several rows of beans. They weren’t one of my favorite vegetables to eat in the summer when other fruits and vegetables were abundant; however, in the cold winter when Mother prepared beans with onions, boiled potatoes and ham, all six of us children sat right up to the table.

As a child, I never paid any attention to how plants grew. I again marvel how I spent decades of my life not appreciating the smaller beauties of nature, like a bean flower.  Last Sunday in church, I spoke about the Church Bible Garden to another Sunday school teacher’s helper. He questioned, “what’s Bible garden?” Is it in the back of the church? We never park there.”

Carefully, I explained that St. John’s Lutheran Bible Garden included 70 of approximately 125 plants named in the Bible. Also, the plants were labeled with their name and the Bible verses where they were found. The gardens were located in the front of the church.

My feelings were hurt: Here was my beautifully designed, planted and weeded garden and he did not even know it existed. Why was my husband and I doing all this work if the congregates didn’t even notice?

Reflection:  Our good works — even planting a garden– are to point toward God, not toward ourselves. It doesn’t matter that many, even most, individuals are un-aware of our efforts. God knows our heart and our sacrifice to him.

I love Bible plants along with their symbolism. If you want to learn more about them, read my two books: 1) Rooted in God and 2) God as a Gardener. You can purchase them from my website: Carolyn Roth Ministry at

Copyright August 14, 2014, Carolyn A. Roth


4 responses to “Common Beauty

  1. As a retired person, I get to drink in the beauty of all of the plants in your garden each time I come to the church. I do not have to rush off to a job, pick up children at school, drive children to their many activities,etc. In addition, I see you and Bruce there tenderly caring for these wonderful plants almost every day…I became more keenly aware of the garden after you spoke to our small group and we got to see, touch, and feel most of the plants. Perhaps more families and groups should request a tour!

  2. It’s great that you are willing to acknowledge the true reason for your
    hard work. However, I find it unfortunate that many people do not see
    the garden to understand it’s significance from a biblical perspective.
    Maybe a local paper could do a human interest story. and it should be in the church bulletin or at least the newsletter.

  3. I totally agree with Debby. I’d love to see that garden! I guess it just goes to show that people get so used to their environment that they just don’t LOOK at it and appreciate it any more. We have beauty all around us, but we don’t really LOOK and appreciate it unless we spend a whole bunch of money to travel somewhere to see something different. I’m going to LOOK and appreciate more all the beauty I live with every day.

  4. I would love to ramble in your garden. Thank you for writing.

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