A garden of love

On Sunday, June 9th you’d think there was some kind of crazy man on the lawn beside our church! There he was, he had a big red machine and he was tearing up the beautiful lawn! Oh, no!

As he was working, a couple of cars slowed down and watched. I wonder what they thought as he slowly moved the big red machine back and forth, back and forth across a portion of the lawn. A little while later another car pulled in and a couple got out and watch him up close.

Yes, that’s Pastor Rick (me) in the picture with the hat in front of my trailer containing a 35 year old Troy-bilt rototiller I call ‘big red.’ It took me about 90 minutes that Sunday to convert a portion of the churches lawn into a garden plot.

In John 21, Jesus asked Peter if he loved him. Each time he asked Jesus responded with a command; feed my lambs, tend my sheep, and then feed my sheep. It is with this instruction that we begin a new kind of journey in our community. Like many things, we will face obstacles. Our first was to get the land ready… mark that done. Our next is to find vegetable plants we put in our garden. That’s been started with Betty and Richard Durant bringing a few tomato plants they started from seeds (we will need more!). Next up we need a few other things too, we are going to fix the broken water outlet at the back of the church sanctuary. We need some hoses, maybe some rain barrels, and a whole bunch of help planting, weeding, watering.

When Jesus said ‘feed my lambs’ he was of course talking about all the children of God. Like a good shepherd Jesus was asking Peter to tend to all of us. Sometimes the Bible speaks in parables and analogies and I am sure there are a million and one ways to interpret John 21 but this time we are going try to do exactly what Jesus said to do, ‘feed my lambs.’

We have often supplied food for the local food pantry ‘Parish Cupboard.’ They are literally feeding His sheep every day, day in and day out. Now, we’d like to bring them fresh produce, from our garden. This year it is a small plot. Maybe next year it will be more.

How can you help? Invite a friend or family member to come and help with the garden. Come by and pull a few weeds, carry a watering can down and tend the crops. Enjoy an early morning this summer, before the heat, caring for the garden. When you are there, think about why you are there, ‘feeding His sheep.’

Things we need: Plants – butternut and acorn squash plants, green beans, leeks, radishes, green or red pepper plants, other plants? (no summer squash plants please, they take a lot of water), marigold flowers for the borders.

Supplies – landscaping fabric (to cover the ground and keep the weeds down and moisture in), garden hose (we will need over 100 feet!), rain barrel(s), a few simple gardening tools. You can write to Pastor Rick for more info.

 

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Sunday May 19th 2019 – Marked by Love

Our readings this week are:markedbylove

Acts 11:1 – 18 and John 13: 31-35

These passages talk about two critical things for Christians, the acceptance of everyone as children of God and the great commandment from Jesus to “Love everyone as I have loved you.”

With that we will pray this prayer from Nancy C. Townley 

When the news is loudly proclaiming anger, hostility, hatred, we are called by Christ to love one another. How hard that is, O Lord! Prejudice abounds in our land, and it is our shame, as we proclaim our faith in you. You call us to love one another, but we put conditions on that love: some of these conditions regard race, economic status, gender, age, nationality. It is easy to love people with whom we feel comfortable. It is more difficult to love those who are different from us. And that, O Lord, is our dilemma. Teach us how to love and accept the diversity in our land. Help us to treasure each other for the wondrous gifts and talents each person has. Sharpen our ears to hear words of love when whispered and shouted. Tune our hearts to your healing message of acceptance and compassion for all. Help us to be the people of the Resurrection – who have been freed from the bonds of death. We place our lives in your care, merciful Lord. AMEN.

A response to the General Session in St. Louis

I am searching my soul for how we have wounded ourselves again in the name of our religion.  I am searching my soul for a place to re-anchor my hopes.  I am searching my soul for a place of refuge from the storm that has just happened in a ‘church of God’ and I see another storm fast approaching.  Here author Frederick Buechner in his book “The Hungering Dark” reminds us that even in this we are not alone, we are never alone.  Perhaps there is still a bridge to built, having dashed the one offered into splintered pieces.

“The life that I touch for good or ill will touch another life, and that in turn another, until who knows where the trembling stops or in what far place and time my touch will be felt. Our lives are linked together. No [person] is an island.

But there is another truth, the sister of this one, and it is that every [person] is an island. It is a truth that often the tolling of a silence reveals even more vividly than the tolling of a bell. We sit in silence with one another, each of us more or less reluctant to speak, for fear that if he [or she] does, [they] may sound life a fool.

…..The paradox is that part of what binds us closest together as human beings and makes it true that no [person] is an island is the knowledge that in another way every man is an island. Because to know this is to know that not only deep in you is there a self that longs about all to be known and accepted, but that there is also such a self in me, in everyone else the world over. So when we meet as strangers, when even friends look like strangers, it is good to remember that we need each other greatly you and I, more than much of the time we dare to imagine, more than more of the time we dare to admit.

Island calls to island across the silence, and once, in trust, the real words come, a bridge is built and love is done –not sentimental, emotional love, but love that is pontifex, bridge-builder. Love that speak the holy and healing word which is: God be with you, stranger who are no stranger. I wish you well. The islands become an archipelago, a continent, become a kingdom whose name is the Kingdom of God.”

― Frederick Buechner, The Hungering Dark

 

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