The garden is a personal place of retreat and delight and labor for many people. Gardening helps us collect ourselves, much as praying does. For rich and poor-- it makes no difference-- a garden is a place where body and soul are in harmony.
In Inheriting Paradise
Vigen Guroian offers an abundant vision of the spiritual life found in the cultivation of God's good creation. Capturing the earthiness and sacramental character of the Christian faith, these uplifting meditations bring together the experience of space and time through the cycle of the seasons in the garden and relate this fundamental human experience to the cycle of the church year and the Christian seasons of grace.
The tilling of fresh earth; the sowing of seeds; the harvesting of rhubarb and roses, dillweed and daffodils--Guroian finds in the garden our most concrete connection with life and God's gracious giving. His personal reflections on this connection, complemented here by delicate woodcut illustrations, offer a compelling entry into Christian spirituality.
Read a review of the book by our own Rachel Bomberger on EerdWord
"A charming and inspiring, densely packed small book. . . . An elegant book, with deep personal insights, Inheriting Paradise should be read with care and kept for further inspiration."
"Guroian suggests at the outset that 'gardening is nearer to godliness than theology.' In seven meditations which establish parallels between his earthly garden's natural seasons and the Christian liturgical year, he proceeds to illustrate his suggestion most successfully. . . Gardeners will respond warmly to Guroian's joyful and thoughtful meditations. Non-gardeners will want to begin delving and composting at once! Highly recommended."
Roberta C. Bondi
— author of Memories of God
"This is a lovely book, shimmering with the very beauty of God."
The Washington Post
"Some gardeners like to show off their dahlias or tomatoes. Vigen Guroian prefers to speak of garden relationships — connections to his ancestors and the days of his youth, with the natural order of the world, with his centuries-old religious heritage."
Barbara Brown Taylor
"In Vigen Guroian's garden there is no border between the sacred and the secular. Buried turtles, crushed grapes, fragrant lilacs, and budding tomato stakes all become sacraments of paradise, fertilized by his rich mix of Orthodox theology and personal reflection. Even those with no dirt under their fingernails may find comfort and challenge in this testament to the resilience of divine life."
"Elegant and deeply touching—an ideal combination of description, personal story, and devotional insight. These essays are so lovely and evocative that they make even a nongardener like me long to pick up a trowel."
"Guroian's book is unique and very special, and will appeal to many readers who ordinarily would not venture into the heady realms of theology of spirituality. . . Its richness prohibits quick and easy absorption and it calls for careful, prayerful reflection. Indeed Inheriting Paradise is a book to turn to throughout the cycle of the seasons, natural and liturgical, again and again."