"An Inside Perspective"

June 2015


My Dear Family in Christ,

Ever precious greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ!

This will be the eighth year that I that have been working on improving the grass on the Greenhouse grounds. I have always had a vision in my head of how I wanted it to look. Secretly, my desire was for people to look at the grassy areas and feel compelled, with childlike anticipation, to take off their shoes and wiggle their toes in it.

Many of the areas were, in times past, barren soil filled with rocks and weeds. I can still hear the discouraging naysayers boldly bellowing, "Nothing will ever grow there, just leave it alone. This is prison, it’s supposed to be ugly." Trust me, Ebenezer Scrooge had nothing on these “hum-buggers”!

Well, some of them walk past the grassy areas now, silently remembering their unbelieving words of eight years ago. As they stroll by, they just smile, wagging their heads in disbelief (albeit, secretly desiring to take off their own shoes!?) Since I am always working on my humility, I don’t rub it in. The green grass itself belies their negativity of old, all the while, quietly declaring the glory of God. I am reminded through it all, that I am just an unprofitable servant doing what I am supposed to do; praying over all things, and then, working very hard with head bowed in worship.

The grass on the Greenhouse grounds is a sight to see and is framed by the wonderful flower beds that are filled with perennials of every sort and color. Between the perennials I plant the yearly plethora of bright annuals that adorn the berms. Indeed, if I may say so myself, it is a superfluity of horticultural magnificence!

Early this spring, it was apparent that the grass was going to be special this year. I mentioned this to June-bug after we went out for our spring survey of the grounds. Typically, once the grass begins to grow and define itself, I start with some light raking, being careful to not damage the new shoots. But this year, I soon realized, much to my dismay, that I was being besieged daily by an unwitting enemy, the dreaded Canadian goose.

The geese on the prison grounds are everywhere, and because they are protected, they do whatever they want. Since the grass is the first to spring up (pun intended) they are quick to eat it after a long, cold winter of no food. Much to my consternation, they are on that first blade of grass like white on rice! Naturally, the more grass that sprouts, the more geese there are. Again, quite naturally, wherever the geese have been feeding, there follows piles of dreaded goose dung. Like land-mines, they are scattered all about the freshly growing grass. Believe me, I have tried everything short of goose dinners to stop these frolicking fowls from their nefarious deeds. I have tried hot sauce spray, garlic powder dustings, etc., only to end up with inflamed fowls with bad breath!

As I leave the work area for the day, I watch them and they watch me. Pre-meditatively, they lie in wait. No sooner am I back in my cell, looking out the window, than there they are, once again, land-mining the whole area, as if with delight, mandating my morning chores! I watch them as my paranoia presupposes their purposeful maliciousness, although I know it is not so.

Dung raking has now, sadly, become my morning ritual. The first thing I do when I get to work is walk around the grass and rake off all the defilement. Once I have raked it clean, it is indeed clean, and all is well in the Greenhouse Kingdom. My heart is then at rest and I can begin my daily chores with joy.

It is written, “If I say I have no sin the truth is not in me, but if I confess my sin He is faithful and just to forgive my sin and to cleanse me from all unrighteousness.” (1Jn. 1:8-9)

Our very souls were once unsaved and filled with “the rocks and weeds” of sin. Some saw me in my sin and said, “Leave him alone, nothing will grow there, he’s in prison and it is supposed to be ugly.” While other choice saints, namely Bob and Jane Frank, to whom I owe an eternal debt, saw me by faith wiggling my toes in the joy of the Lord’s salvation.

I have learned that in our walk, we too have a nefarious enemy who tempts us to sin. Sin is a land-mine of evil on the green grass of our Blood-cleansed souls. Even as I daily have to rake the green grass from the honkers’ defilement, so we too, believers and lovers of the Lord, must daily keep the grounds of our souls freshly raked clean of sin. A morning ritual perhaps?

Once Christ has cleansed us, we are indeed clean and all is well in the Kingdom. By the “precious Blood” our hearts are again at rest and we can then begin our daily chores for the Lord with joy. Beloved, have you...