NOT too far from Victoria, B.C., in Canada there are some fifty acres of exquisite gardens. Waterfalls, fountains, pools, shrubs, plants, and trees provide a glorious display of beauty and color for thousands of visitors to The Butchart Gardens. There is something very special about these gardens. They cover what before was an abandoned quarry. Because of her love of beauty, the owner's wife could not tolerate the ugliness of these disused workings. So she transformed the scarred landscape into gardens of great beauty. We can all think of ugly places that would benefit from such transformation. Perhaps even more important is the transformation of ugly thoughts that scar lives, preventing their true beauty from being felt and expressed.
Just as rocks and weeds in an unattended garden crowd out the flowers, so anger, resentment, jealousy, and sensuality, if left alone, tend to crowd out love, tenderness, and joy. Clearly, it would be wonderful if we only expressed beautiful qualities and saw them expressed by others. How can such a radical transformation take place? Is it unrealistic to think of such change as possible?
Speaking of God's ability to transform the human scene, the book of Isaiah says, ``The Lord shall comfort Zion: he will comfort all her waste places; and he will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the Lord.''1 The Bible also tells of the effect of God's love upon the lives of those who know Him and seek His guidance. For many, praying to God and trying sincerely to do His will brought wonderful changes into their lives. Jacob, once deceptive and dishonest, became trustworthy. Saul, a ruthless persecutor of Christians, came to embrace Christianity and become, as Paul, one of its most ardent missionaries. Others, touched by the love and healing power of Christ Jesus, abandoned lives of deceit and sensuality to follow him. The beauty of holiness transformed the ugliness of materiality and sin.
Changing the ugliness of an old quarry into a beautiful garden required much hard work over many years. This is often the way when bad character traits must be changed. But the creator of that garden saw a vision of how it could be. Through prayer we can catch the vision of our genuine, spiritual being and that of others and see that man is made in the image of God, as the Bible describes him. And as the Bible promises, ``We all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.''2
Through a growing Christliness, through a greater expression of purity and love, we're able to exchange the false concept of man as merely a material being, subject to evil influences and powers, for clearer views of ourselves and others as made in God's likeness, governed by the one supreme divine power. And with this change of thought, we'll see changes for the better in our lives.
Christian Science, discovered and founded by Mary Baker Eddy over one hundred years ago, gives an understanding of Christ -- an understanding that impels transformation and spiritual healing. Mrs. Eddy writes, ``Thought must be made better, and human life more fruitful, for the divine energy to move it onward and upward.'' And she asks: ``Are we clearing the gardens of thought by uprooting the noxious weeds of passion, malice, envy, and strife? Are we picking away the cold, hard pebbles of selfishness, uncovering the secrets of sin and burnishing anew the hidden gems of Love, that their pure perfection shall appear?''3
Each one can pray vigorously to see more of God's nature reflected in man; to express more sweetness of disposition, love, and thoughtfulness. Even if negative character traits appear to be inherited, the understanding of man's inheritance of goodness and purity as God's child can gradually erase these from thought and experience.
Just as The Butchart Gardens bring joy to those who see their beauty and feel the peace and harmony of that quiet place, so the beauty and peace of individual lives, transformed, will bless all who come in contact with them.
1Isaiah 51:3. 2II Corinthians 3:18. 3Miscellaneous Writings, p. 343.
You can find more articles like this one in the Christian Science Sentinel, a weekly magazine. DAILY BIBLE VERSE: Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: and see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. Psalms 139:23,24