Outdoor Jesus

By Erika Rizkallah

For the last twenty years, I’ve been on a spiritual journey as a follower of Jesus Christ. Living as a Christian woman in the 21st century can be confusing and conflicting. We’re taught to live and love like Jesus in a world filled with sin, danger and hatred. It sounds kind of crazy to think that we can have a relationship with a man who walked the earth over two thousand years ago.

Jesus knew it would be hard and that we’d need strength to help us remain faithful to his calling. But he promised to be with us and sent the Holy Spirit to help. He knows the trials we face and the difficulties we have to overcome.

One time, when he was alone with twelve of his followers, he cautioned them by saying, “I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore, be as shrewd (wise, wary) as snakes and as innocent (harmless) as doves.”  (emphasis mine)

He was a storyteller and often spoke in parables using common language and word pictures for the ordinary folks living in the Ancient Near East. Luke 8:10 explains why, but I won’t go into that right now. Just trust me when I tell you that his stories had purpose; they were his way of weeding out those who believed what he was saying, and those who didn’t.

And speaking of weeding, Jesus also loved nature.

He taught on the side of a mountain near Jerusalem and prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane. Gethsemane means “oil press” and though I didn’t see it during my trip to Jerusalem, I had an Arabic taxi driver take me to an olive grove when we were in the West Bank. It looks familiar because it’s my blog header. This was such a peaceful place and I wish I’d spent more time roaming around.

Olive grove in Ramallah, Palestine

Olive grove in Ramallah, Palestine

Our Lord enjoyed spending time with people outdoors and I connect with that aspect of him. I adore being outside and am most at home when my hands are gritty with soil. I’m an avid gardener and I hope to share my passion for flowers and gardening with you. Since we’re not ancient farmers, I’d also like to clarify some of those tricky agricultural scriptures for us.

This is going to be fun!

Peace to you, Erika

 

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