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‘Everything in the garden is lovely,’ so the saying goes, but do we always take time to appreciate that?
Let’s take leaves for instance. There are so many different shapes, colours and textures of leaves. In winter, there is the prickly holly bush. Another evergreen is a camellia whose leaves have a shiny, smooth surface and, of course, there is rosemary with its stems of small, slender, fragrant leaves so valued as a herb in the kitchen.
Perhaps leaves are like people. We can sometimes encounter some prickly characters who leave us taken aback and hurt by their harsh words.
On the other hand, some people have a gift for smoothing out difficult situations and whose personalities just seem to shine.
Then there are people who at first sight seem insignificant but on getting to know them bring fragrance and blessing.
So if everything in the garden is going to be lovely, we need to learn to respect each other and realise we are all different, different in beliefs, colour, personalities and political convictions.
Former Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks described that respect as ‘the dignity of difference’. All major religions teach the importance of understanding one another and practising tolerance of different views.
Christianity’s great exponent St Paul gave us this advice: ‘Clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.’
So let us strive to make everything in the garden lovely.
David O McEwan, St Kiaran’s Scottish Episcopal Church, Campbeltown.