I’m taking a week away from the blog, and I’ve asked some of my friends to fill in for me. Today’s post is by Christine Sine. Christine is a physician and a spiritual director, and she and her husband, Tom, run Mustard Seed Associates. But Christine and I have really hit it off over our love of gardening. Snow is still thick here in Minnesota, but it’s time for me to order my seeds. Maybe like me, your mind has already turned to Spring. Christine’s has!
Its garden season here in the Pacific Northwest and my front porch is bulging with lettuce, broccoli, cauliflower and other seedlings waiting to go in the ground. Next week I will start over a hundred tomato plants and the squash and peppers won’t be far behind. Like millions of others throughout the Western world, we have started growing our own vegetables and now provide around 40% of what we eat.
I have so enjoyed watching the growth of the community garden movement. Gardens have sprung up on vacant lots, in parking strips and behind church buildings. Congregations have enthusiastically embraced the need to grow produce, often to help provision food banks and ministries to the poor.
Unfortunately there is often a total disconnect between what happens in the garden and worship inside the building. Yet it seems to me that gardening is one of the most profound acts of worship we can engage in. God’s first act after completing creation was to plant a garden – the garden of Eden. And in the first sighting of Jesus after the resurrection he is mistaken by Mary Magdalene for the gardener because that is precisely what he is – the gardener of the new creation.
So much of our garden activity is performed kneeling, in the position of prayer and supplication. I kneel to weed, to plant and to harvest and in this position often find myself meditating and praying. If I am troubled by some seemingly insurmountable problem, there is no better place to thrash it out than on my knees in the garden. If I am irritable or depressed, there is no better therapy than weeding.
And the Lord God planted a garden in Eden, in the east; and there he put the man whom he had formed. Out of the ground the Lord God made to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food, the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Genesis 2:8-9
As you’ve seen in previous posts, I dramatically expanded my garden this year. The biblical narrative begins in a garden, and Jesus’ journey nears its end in a garden. These are things I rarely think about when I’m in my garden every day. I’m more wont to consider this quote from Albert Einstein:
I’ll admit, a couple neighbors gave me odd looks. Not because I tore up a bunch of my lawn and planted a big vegetable garden, but because when they asked where I learned how to do it, I responded, “My blog readers.” Thanks to everyone who gave me advice. I’ve tried to follow it.
Here’s what we did:
If you look closely, you can see the old garden on the left, dwarfed by a 7-year-old.
No, I didn't rent a power sod cutter. That explains the size of my right quadricep.
Built the raised beds with the heaviest lumber that Home Depot carries.