The Lord Forgives: Planting Hyssop

psalm 51-7 hyssop ready for planting in a pot of Bible

Plant a Pot of Bible meme“Plant a Pot of Bible” is a series of devotions that go along with planting some of the herbs, spices, and edibles scattered across the pages of the Bible in our own garden pot.
By the end of the series, we hope for a deeper understanding of who God is and what He has done…along with a beautiful and tastily planted container for early spring’s patio or lingering winter’s windowsill.

The Lord Forgives

If we were to focus intently on the Lord’s forgiveness day and night all of our lives, I think we would barely begin to ripple its deep waters. Forgiveness has been displayed by God since the moment he replaced fig leaves with comfortable clothing, and in the moment his glory passed by, dazzling Moses:

The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin.
Exodus 34:6-7 NIV

Thankfully, we have a humble plant for remembrance, hyssop. Tucked in our container planting, hyssop will grow and spread its fragrant leaves and give us a reminder that it is no small matter what Jesus did for us in submitting to a criminal’s death, pouring out his saving grace which takes a lifetime to realize and work out in all the little places of our lives.

Hopefully the poem from the A-to-Z Primer of Plants from God’s Word will stir the waters of our thinking and worshipping this week.

Plant a Pot of Bible

hyssop seedling in a pot of Bible

 

Plant a cutting of hyssop at the “8 o’clock” position of our pot, beginning to form the “fill” foliage while the nigella and cumin we planted last week will “thrill” with their height and flowering.

 

 

H is for Hyssopis for hyssop
a lowly, green plant,
with a scent and a story
certain to enchant.

Hyssop grows in fierce sunlight
and hardscrabble soil.
For this mint-family herb
you will scarcely toil:

an occasional watering,
and a rocky outcropping
yield unmerited flourish
and bees will be stopping

hyssop and beeby to forage among the
multitude of white flowers,
abundant on branch-tips
throughout summer hours.

But back to the scent—
a compelling bouquet
with hints of oregano
and the cool of the day:

that fresh, earthy smell
that fills the air
as temperatures descend;
nothing compares

to the treasured time
when things are settled down,
cleansed from the heat
and pressures that abound.

A waft of forgiveness,
this refreshing, earth-time.
The horticulture of this plant
is here to remind

of lowliness and humility,
opposite the high cedar.
Solomon spoke of all,
a wise, insightful leader

who explored God’s workings
and studied plant life.
He witnessed that God’s way
embraced our strife,

and struggle; our troubles
sure to weigh us down
and cause transgressions
and sins to surround.

“Cleanse me with hyssop!”
desperate were David’s cries,
filled with guilt and remorse;
yet God did not despise.

He forgives! He washes clean!
Revives the spirit of the low!
Shown in hyssop’s sweet blossoms,
whiter than snow.

The story of this plant
connects the dots:
from slavery-land to the sacrifice
of One hung on the cross.

The blood on the doorframes,
the blood of Jesus,
God sees this blood,
and death passes over us.

From the priests’ cleansing rituals
to its lifting to Christ’s lips,
the unassuming herb
infuses the story of forgiveness.

 

bookcover in bitter herbs

 

Read more on hyssop in the devotions on Watering in God’s Word for Gardeners Bible, page a-26.

 

Garden in Delight gate logo

 

Find more garden-to-table information on growing hyssop in our Plant Guidewww.gardeninDelight.com/plant-guide-/hyssop/

 

 

Sources:

My best source for hyssop, Origanum syriacum or maru, is from Mountain Valley Growers. All the hyssop pictures on this website are from my original 3 inch pot ordered several years ago, and a cutting (one of many!) is pictured here going into the “Pot of Bible!” I was unsuccessful growing the plant from seed, and was relieved to read the Herb Society of America recommends cuttings as a more productive method.

Since the plant is closely related to Greek oregano, feel free to substitute this species found more readily in local nurseries and grocery stores.

 

Photo Credits:
© 2016 Shelley S. Cramm

 

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