Convolvulus

There is a certain plant in our garden, which has very vigorous tendencies. It twines up at lightning speed, and just when you think you’ve got it all out, there’s a white trumpet flower at eye-level! Yes, it’s convolvulus, or bindweed. I discovered a huge rampant pile of this annoying plant smothering my apple tree today, and I started thinking about its tendencies.

It creeps about along the fence lines, ready to take advantage of the gardener’s inattention. It always seems to be someone else’s problem, coming through from under the fence – we always blame the neighbours for not controlling it, and they probably are grumbling about my slovenly gardening habits in allowing it to go through their fence!

It seems to me that convolvulus is a metaphor for that habit many of us suffer from, of blaming other people. It’s so easy to try and shift all blame away from ourselves, rather than stand accountable for what we have done, or why we have done it, or what we have not done. Just as we all try to blame the next-door gardeners for the weeds coming under (or over) the fence, we all try to blame someone else, rather than stand up and face the music.

But with God we can stand up and be judged, because Jesus has taken our punishment. We can pull out our own convolvulus, and instead of grumbling about it being there, we can thank God for the pretty white flowers that alert us to its presence – hopefully before it completely strangles the apple tree!

There are some blessings with this plant – the kids like to pop the flowers off, and call them ‘granny-pops’. The other blessing is that the rabbits eat them! Now all I’ve got to do is train the rabbits to climb the trees!

Have a look at my favourite song about Bindweed!

Sin and convolvulus

I’ve been enjoying getting into that garden, now that spring is finally here! The soil is dark and rich, the weeds aren’t too big to get out, except for that sneaky character convolvulus! I’ve gone all over the raised vegetable bed, removing the thick white roots, but just when I think it’s all gone, I find another bit, right in the middle! It’s always worst by the fenceline, and it’s very easy to blame the neighbours for not attending to their own weeds, but letting them infest my place.

I was looking along the weedy fencelines, and it struck me that sin is like these weeds. It’s easy to spot sin in the middle of the freshly- and frequently- attended vegetable gardens of our life – the parts of our day that come under regular and public attention. But how about around the edges? In the dark corners? In the shadow of the fences? We can blame the neighbours, or those around us, for sinful habits and attitudes sneaking in below the radar, but as Christians we have the responsibility to hold all our life under the scrutiny of God;’s holiness. It’s easy to spot obvious things in other people’s lives that we regards as sin, but how about the attitudes, the judgmentalism, the pride, that can so easily sneak in, take root and become habits of thought, and, worse, of speech?

Next time you’re weeding along the fences and spot those tendrils snaking underneath, think about what could be coming into your character from outside. I have seen the effect of television on my children’s language and speech habits – it’s an outside influence which needs to be weeded. What is there in your life? How about that drink, that turned into three drinks, that happens every day? New Zealand culture is full of excessive alcohol, and it becomes an idol, it makes people behave in ways displeasing to God, and it wastes resources.

 

Weed your garden, not just the obvious bits, but shine the light into the corners.