This summer I am continuing with the battle against the weeds in my garden. The strip of land on the outside of my fence between my house and the pavement has been a constant problem as it is prone to becoming infested with weeds. The brambles are prolific, but it is also fertile soil for the many different types of trees that self-seed from the surrounding woodland. Already this year I have invested a lot of time and energy in clearing the ground and breaking up the soil. However, the recent rains have initiated a resurgence of brambles that seem to grow at a phenomenal rate. I wish I had a time-lapse camera so that I could capture the growth of this most irrepressible of weeds.
I am not sure what the long-term solution is for this particular border and maybe I could take a cue from my neighbours who have put down gravel, woodchip or turf. The problem comes in the autumn with the large quantity of leaves that fall from the chestnut trees as well as the windfall from the adjacent forest in the country park. I am not a fan of weed killer if it can be avoided, so I would like to adopt a more organic and environmentally friendly approach. What I have decided to do for the moment is just to keep working on getting the roots of these weeds out of the soil, so that it is as free as possible from the recurrence of brambles. This of course will involve a lot more work and constant attention to this patch of ground, but I am convinced that whilst I won’t be able to completely eliminate the weeds, I can at least keep them out of the way.
As I have been working on this, I have been increasingly aware of the spiritual metaphor in Jesus’s parable of the sower. It was the weeds that choked and limited the growth of the word of God in their lives. The weeds represented things in their lives that were not necessarily bad but they took up space that was meant to be occupied by the fruit producing plants. If the fruit trees did eventually grow, their development was limited by the presence of the weeds. Rooting out the spiritual weeds in our lives is at the heart of Christian discipleship. This is the ongoing work of sanctification as we cooperate with the Holy Spirit who works within us to enable us to bear good and lasting fruit.
Rev. Dr. Christopher Noble – Rector
St Mary’s Stansted with Fairseat and Vigo