MOUSEY MOMENT … Spiritual Gardening
The Flower Pot Men is a British children’s programme, produced by BBC Television, first transmitted in 1952, and repeated regularly for more than twenty years. A reboot of the show called Bill and Ben was produced in 2001.
Originally, the programme was part of a BBC children’s television series titled ‘Watch With Mother’, with a different programme each weekday, most of them involving string puppets. The Flower Pot Men was the story of Bill and Ben, two little men made of flower pots who lived at the bottom of an English suburban garden.
The plot changed little in each episode. The programme always took place in a garden, behind a potting shed. The third character was Little Weed, of indeterminate species, somewhat resembling a sunflower or dandelion with a smiling face, growing between two large flowerpots. The three were also sometimes visited by a tortoise called Slowcoach, and in one particular episode, the trio meet a slightly mysterious character made out of potatoes called Dan the potato man. While the “man who worked in the garden” was away having his dinner the two Flower Pot Men, Bill and Ben, emerged from the two flowerpots. After a minor adventure a minor mishap occurred and someone was guilty. “Which of those two flower pot men, was it Bill or was it Ben?” the narrator trilled, in a quavering soprano; the villain confessed; the gardener’s footsteps were heard coming up the garden path; the Flower Pot Men vanished into their pots and the closing credits rolled. The final punch-line was, “and I think the little house knew something about it! Don’t you?”
The Flower Pot Men spoke their own, highly inflected version of English, called Oddle Poddle. For example, an icicle was an “ickle-kickle”, and Ben would say “flobabdob”. At the end of each adventure, they would say bye-bye to each other and to the Little Weed – “Babap ickle Weed” – to which the Weed would inevitably reply with a tremulous cadence ”Weeeeeeeeeeed”.
We’ve chosen Flower Pot People to be the centre of this year’s Harvest decorations.
Now, Autumn is my favourite season. There’s something nostalgic about the scents of autumn, the foliage with rich changing colours, the foods and holidays, traditions like apple picking and leaf piles, and cooler weather after a hot summer.
Autumn Refreshes Us with New Wonder
Autumn Reminds Us of the Promise of Glory
Autumn Prepares Us for Winter’s Coming
WINTER may be just around the corner – but that needn’t mean a colour-free garden. If we tend to our flower pots now we can still create instant magic. If we replant now, we can still have great displays for the Autumn & Winter months. We can use pot chrysanthemums, bedding cyclamen, blooming pansies or flowering heathers, to name just a few.
My favourite part of preparing my pot display is carefully choosing the flowers and plants. Working in the garden with your family – or even just planting a few new plants or flowers in pots for your front porch – is the perfect opportunity to introduce some lessons to your children about spiritual growth (and do a little spiritual gardening).
Think about it. A growing plant is a very clear picture of how Christians grow in Christ. Jesus loved using nature and gardening illustrations in His parables… I think He would delight at this educational lesson for kids! So gather some simple gardening supplies and spend an afternoon teaching and planting.
What three things does a plant need to grow and thrive? Water, sunlight, and soil, of course! These three key items are the ingredients we need to have growth in our Christian life and don’t forget to warn your children about the “weeds”!
Spiritual Gardening Necessity 1: Soil
Plants need a good foundation of soil to start their growth. For Christians, our “soil,” our foundation, is Christ. Christ nurtures us and supports us. He gives us a place to extend our roots in safety.
“Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.” John 15 v4
Just like a plant needs nutrient rich soil to thrive, Christ gives his children every possible nutrient we would ever need: Peace, Love, Encouragement & Wisdom… and His supplies are unlimited.
Spiritual Gardening Necessity 2: Sunlight
“You word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.” Psalm 119 v105
The Bible is our sunlight. Plants grow towards the light. They long for the warmth and strength that only sunlight can give. As children of God, we should also lean towards the light, His Word, for guidance, and strength. It can give us warmth and comfort in times of struggle, and lead us on the clear path in times of doubt. The Bible is a source of many things we need in our Christian life.
Spiritual Gardening Necessity 3: Water
Last but not least, plants need water to sustain them. I like to think of that much-needed water as fellowship with fellow believers. God didn’t intend for us to grow alone, but to be there to encourage each other in Christ.
“For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them.” Matthew 18 v20
“But it is you, a man like myself, my companion, my close friend, with whom I once enjoyed sweet fellowship as we walked with the throng at the house of God.” Psalm 55 v13-14
Fellow believers are meant to come together, loving one another and supporting each other as we grow. Fellowship can be refreshing to a soul, just like water to a plant. It can help us perk up on a particularly draining day or quench a thirst. Water can be a vessel for the nutrients we need to grow.
And Don’t Forget the Weeds
Now that we’ve talked about the essentials, don’t forget to warn your children about the “weeds” that can sprout up in our gardens, both in real life and in our spiritual life. Weeds come in all shapes, colours, and sizes. The worst weed in our spiritual gardens, Satan, can sometimes be easy to spot, while other weeds, like wayward friends or feelings of bitterness and anger, can be hard to keep away.
Weeds choke plants, creating an atmosphere where growth can be impossible. Weeds work in our lives much the same way. They distract us from Christ as we pour all our vital nutrients into them instead of our Christian growth. Weeds can crush smaller, weaker plants easily.
Encourage your children to strengthen themselves with good soil (Christ), sunlight from above (His Word), and refreshing water (fellowship with fellow believers), so they may find themselves with strong roots that dig into their foundation, and a close spiritual walk with our Father.
As your kids grow, make sure their faith is growing too! I think the little house knew something about it! Don’t you?”