A Reflection for Personal Encouragement and for Mission

On Thursday morning, our people from Tea and Talk planed some more plants at Griffiths Gardens on Wellesley St. As I thought about which plants or herbs we should choose, the herb hyssop came to mind. It originated in the Middle East and has long been known as a medicinal plant, good for coughs. It has a soothing quality, such as when it is used in tea. Hyssop is also mentioned in the Bible. Most famously, John 19:29-30 says;

After this, Jesus, knowing that all things had already been accomplished, to fulfil the Scripture, said, "I am thirsty." A jar full of sour wine was standing there; so they put a sponge full of the sour wine upon a branch of hyssop and brought it up to His mouth.”

In the old Testament, hyssop was considered a symbol of God’s cleansing of his people. In Ps 51: 7, David writes: “Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.” David does not mean here that he wants to be physically clean. Rather, he is very conscious that he has failed God and he is asking God to cleanse him spiritually, to forgive him and renew him, as he confesses his sin.

In Biblical times, hyssop was known as an “anti-septic”, (although they didn’t know that word), which prevented disease growing organisms, and was known as good for cleaning and for medical purposes. So in the Old Testament, it became a symbol of God’s cleansing and healing.

At Griffith Gardens, we have 2 apple trees and now a hyssop plant. The apple trees are there because of Martin Luther’s famous quote: “if I Knew the world was going to fall to pieces tomorrow, I would still plant my apple tree today”. He meant that it doesn’t matter how hopeless and chaotic life is. In Jesus Christ, we have hope. Always.

The hyssop plant reminds us that we are forgiven and cleansed by God himself. He soothes us in our trials. We have a resource to go forward. And this is what we want to tell the city of Auckland through these plants. We have hope, forgiveness and renewal in Jesus Christ.

Stuart Vogel