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A Moment of Peace in Prison

Sometimes, I like to imagine the Garden of Eden in all its splendor and glory.

Did it look like the rainforests of Costa Rica, full of birds singing their praises to the Most High? Did it look like the wild, rolling hills of New Zealand, speckled with herds of sheep and an occasional wild stag? Or would it look like a botanical garden’s greenhouse, full of orchids, frogs, and peaceful silence?

Before Jesus was crucified, He wept in a garden. I was fortunate enough to go there last year. It's filled with ancient olive trees, some of which date back to Jesus’ time. Gardens play a significant role in God's story.

After our horticulture class last Tuesday, the class and I wandered out to the greenhouse at Burruss Correctional Training Center. There, students took notes on good and bad pest management practices and offered suggestions as to how we could improve the area. The air was humid, the skies overcast, and the sprinklers gently rained down on the plants below. The students wandered around quietly, occasionally scribbling notes in their journals. There was peace at Burruss.

At the end of the walk, one student, Kaden, walked up to me, shook my hand, and thanked me. “Always a good day when we can be in the greenhouse, thank you, Mr. Spencer.” Yes it is.

In this season of Lent, I have been asking God to speak to me; to reveal Himself. I haven’t physically heard Him yet, but in that moment, in that rundown prison greenhouse, I could feel Him. I was reminded of one of my favorite Elvis recordings, The Garden. "I come to the garden alone, while the dew is still on the roses. And the voice I hear falling on my ear, the Son of God discloses...."

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