There are a number of ways you can grow a garden. Good fertile soil brimming with minerals and organic matter is a good start. Gardens are being grown on apartment building roof-tops in garden boxes. A good friend of mine recently told me that he is growing veg hydroponically and enjoying the smell and freshness of the home-grown food. Gardens can be grown in sand with the addition for right nutrients. But what is clear is that gardens cannot be grown in either rock or nothing. I have wondered at times about trees I see clinging to a cliff face in cuttings by the highway. But they are not embedded in the rock. Their roots have found a way of exploring a fracture in the cliff face and seeking out the nutriment to be gained there.
When I was a small boy my Mum showed me how to grow wheat in a saucer of water and cotton wool. Bright yellow-green shoots would spring up for a short time. Then fade due to the smallness of the container and the absence of ample nutriments caused the green to wither.
On the shores of Galilee Jesus demonstrated that He Himself was the soil from which ample supplies of food grow. Healing, life and nurture flowed from His person, because He joined folks to the ground of their being - the soil that is God. The anointing for life and mission flowed from Jesus particularly after His baptism and the affirmation of Father that Jesus was His Son in whom He found delight. On the mountain when Jesus was glorified a voice spoke the words, ‘This is My Son - Hear Him and do what He says.’ Jesus Himself said that those who obey His teaching - the teaching that He Himself is truth in Himself and entirely our nurture, sustenance and life - will open themselves to the indwelling of the Holy Family. Father, Son and Holy Spirit will live in them and share their spirit-life with them.
The vessel in which we are planted is union with God. It is infinitely large being infinity itself and intensely alive since God is life Himself and everlasting since He is eternity Himself. This is the garden of our being and the womb of our existence. Our union with Father is the source of our being as son and what defines and nurtures us in the Spirit of Sonship. It is also the root and reason for the anointing.
The anointing came on Jesus because of this. The Spirit of the Lord was ‘on Him’ because He was one with Father and empowered as His emissary to human beings. The anointing comes to us because Jesus has made us one with our Father. The gifts are the expression of the authority of Jesus and Holy Spirit that arises from our union with our Father. The anointing was not on Jesus because of the anointing and the effectiveness of the gifts. This is to confuse the effect with the cause. The anointing and gifts were the function of Jesus’ union with His Father, His Sonship, the expression of Father’s life and heart and the liberation of humans from all that binds - like religion and false sources of spiritual life.
Here we see that the anointing is the flow-on effect of the at-one-ment and the result of our rootedness in Father. Christ our life is truly the ground of our being. If we negate or rationalize this away we are either planted in nothingness or in toxic soil.
The gifts in themselves are not the Kingdom of God or the gospel of the Kingdom. Neither are they fullness in Christ. The latter is a function of our life in our Father. As things in themselves they cannot produce redemption and oneness with God. It is oneness with God that awakens the anointing and the gifts. They flow from the at-one-ment that is the reality of we and Father being one.
In the new covenant we live in this union. In the law and old covenant we do not. Neither the gifts or the Kingdom can be sustained in the latter because we are not alive in the Spirit. Any other planting is a tare. We should not expect Jesus to nurture what He did not plant.
To focus on the gifts when we ourselves are not planted in the soil of the trinity and the new covenant reality of Christ our life is to focus on shadows and deny the reality that is Christ. Even the gifts of the Spirit are shadows of the real when we are embedded in a non-gospel, a false gospel or the old covenant rocks of the law. The idea that life in the Spirit will grow from a culture that remains attached to the law is a falsehood and a misrepresentation of the gospel of the Kingdom that Jesus will not sustain or nurture. Not only will the Kingdom not grow out of the law. It will not grow from a belief system that is a distortion if what Jesus represented and what Paul preached. We are free to express Christ according to our own individuality. But we must abandon the liberal/pluralist notion that we are at liberty to ignore the new covenant and promote a perspective of our own. Gifts of the Spirit will not fix such a perversion. Jesus nurtures the wheat that is the sons and daughters of God. He pulls out tares.