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Omaha, Nebraska, United States
I am more and more convinced that most congregations die from a staggering lack of imagination. Let's change that. Drop me a line on email or leave a comment if you have thoughts on God, Jesus, congregations, the church or whatever.... I look forward to our conversations.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

What a difference a couple of months make...

Here is a picture of my garden on June 9.  Here is my garden yesterday.

  What a difference a couple of months can make!

My bean trellis is pretty much covered in beans. You can see the corners of it. There are 20 pieces of rope hanging down, and every single one has a vine or two creeping up it.

The tomatoes? Those little bushes on the left side of the June picture are the bushes I am taking the August picture over. The wooden stake holding up the tomatoes are 6-footers. In the far back, those long things with yellow on the top are 15-foot sunflowers. And and although you can't see them in this picture, I have cucumbers all over the place.

I remember when I was planting the garden and wondering if anything would grow this year? I guess I have my answer. But now, as I contemplate the upcoming harvest (I hope), I wonder how does all this food get here? I mean, I already have put up 12 quarts of pickles. We've had a few tomatoes (I still have a couple of bags of last year's in the freezer!), and I've already cut down my oregano 3 times. As Clayton Chapman, owner of the Grey Plume restaurant  and neighbor encouraged me "Keep making that marinara!" Olive Garden doesn't use that much oregano in a year!

But there was no food there 2 months ago. Think how important food is, and the miracle that is a backyard garden. What I don't understand is why everyone doesn't have some version of a backyard garden? Granted, you may not be the world's greatest gardener, but it sure is amazing what happens...dirt, water, nutrients, and sunshine make a cucumber or a bean or a strawberry (my strawberries get eaten by birds before I can get them even pink--I am going to get one though, even if I have to get up at 4 in the morning!) and those become sustenance in my life.

And the wildlife! Rabbits run around my yard (but I grow food rabbits don't like but I do--like cucumbers, this keep my frustration with them at a low level), I have birds by the hundreds, butterflies, bees, wasps (the good kind that eat mosquitoes. Note: I have never even seen a mosquito in my backyard. It's August 5.), spiders, probably snakes (I say "probably" because I haven't seen one since I've started gardening, but I don't have any mice, voles, shrews, or other pesky rodents, so somebody's doing something!). It is a small little ecosystem that swirls around the back yard. The lone turkey wandering around last Spring was a bit of a surprise.

All this comes about in time. St. Augustine once remarked that he knew what time was until you asked him to explain it. How true! Time is the complex of reality that demarcates our existence.(Those of you philosophically inclined can work on that sentence.) I get older, but two months doesn't produce such monumental changes to me as it does to my garden which is, not aging, but growing.

I think it's funny that for years Christian congregations have had as slogans and statements phrases like "Growing in Christ." "Growing in faith." "Growing Disciples." Now those same congregations are complaining that all their members are old. What--exactly--did you expect? Aging in Christ. Aging in faith. Aging Disciples. I hope people get older in those processes. Who cares if a congregation gets old and goes to harvest? Isn't that what we're supposed to do? Isn't that why we were planted in the first place? Growing is just another word for getting older. If you don't want to get older, don't make "growing" one of your core values...jeesshh...relax, God's not troubled by aging and harvest, why are you?

Here's the same angle of the picture I took in June. Tell me, is God amazing or what? 
May your tables be full and your conversations be true.

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