On Saturday, March 21, there was a flurry of activity on what was once a sand volleyball court. About twenty-five people worked together to build six raised garden beds. Little hands hoisted tiny shovels full of rich soil into cedar boxes. A team practiced the art of measure twice (or maybe five times) cut once. One man made what seemed like dozens of trips to the hardware store for extra supplies. Altogether, a group of people representing a wide variety of ages not only built garden beds and filled them with dirt, they also laughed and played together.
As the All Saints Community Garden began to take shape, we began to dream about the garden's future. We asked practical questions like “what will we plant?” “how will we water and weed?” “who will take the night watch to defend the plants against deer?” As I have thought about these matters, more overarching questions have piqued my interest. What will this garden mean? Why are we building stuff and planting stuff?
I hope the garden will mean a couple things. First, I hope the garden becomes a meditative place. Scripture is filled with agricultural imagery. As we engage in growing plants, we have an opportunity to immerse ourselves in the biblical narrative in a fresh way. Saint Francis de Sales encourages his readers to gather up a fragrant bouquet of flowers from their walk through the garden of Scripture to take with them through their day. My prayer is that we may come across such figurative flowers in our literal garden as we seek to see God in our world and in his word.
Second, I hope this garden gives meaning to our community. The chance to give the fruits (and vegetables) of our labor to others is a valuable opportunity, and the fact that this produce will have been lovingly cared for by our congregation gives added meaning to the gift. Also, this garden is an opportunity to enrich the community already present at All Saints. Lots of people last Saturday connected with one another for the first time. As our garden continues to grow, may we continue to see relational roots deepen at All Saints.