Sunday, July 29, 2007
Beautiful abode worthy of God
Message of GOD, the Master. On the day I scrub you clean from all your filthy living, I'll also make your cities livable. The ruins will be rebuilt. The neglected land will be worked again, no longer overgrown with weeds and thistles, worthless in the eyes of passersby. People will exclaim, "Why this weed patch has been turned into a Garden of Eden! And the ruined cities, smashed into oblivion, are now thriving!" The nations around you that are still in existence will realize that I, GOD, rebuild ruins and replant empty waste places. I, GOD, said so, and I'll do it. --Eugene Peterson, The Message, Ezekiel 36:33-36

I think it's significant that when God first made people, He put them in a garden. It's not the forest of Eden, not the plain of Eden, not even the suburb of Eden or urban-dwelling of Eden. It's the Garden of Eden. I think that's important. God made us for gardens.

There's a vacant lot on Arceme Ave behind Arlington Elementary school, just across the street from the church. A couple months ago, we at the church started planting a garden on that lot. Jackie and I try to watch over the cucumber/zucchini squash/pumpkin/okra section that we helped plant. We try to make it out about once a week to do some weeding and spread out some coffee grounds, which enrich the soil. If you've been following Aaron's blog over the last few months, you know the story.

We've done this for a whole bunch of reasons. We of the church end up hanging out and working on a project with others we may not usually talk to. We end up talking with people in the neighborhood who want to know what in the world is going on. We've got fresh vegetables to give away to people in the community who can't afford good produce and end feeding their kids McDonalds or White Castle. We get to be what I think Jean Vanier is after when he talks about being a gospel "sign to the community." I really like this idea of reclaiming and redeeming these forsaken and abandoned places in the city.

But the craziest thing is still coming. It all started with a visit from three strangers. (Seriously, when three strangers show up on your door, you gotta pay attention.) Aaron says it this way,

Three guys show up at the church this afternoon. They represent a growing coalition of community gardeners. They heard about what we are doing at Third Street Stuff, a coffee house 7 or 8 blocks down Lime. We spent some time riffing on outrageous ideas for community gardens. A realtor told one of the guys he could have 15 vacant lots. We just need the manpower. We talked Farmer’s Market right here at the Rock, we talked food access Northside vs. Southside, we talked setting up small businesses to market fresh, local produce to some of the upscale restaurants, and we talked about what one guy called “gardens of eatin’” at houses of worship. They are setting up a garden tour of various community gardens to get us all hooked up and let people and government know what we’re up to and the positive benefits of the work.
So one thing leads to another and this week is the garden tour--Thursday from 9am to 12pm. There was even a big write up in Saturday's Herald-Leader. And you can find all the details over at You should come. It starts and ends at The Rock / La Roca.

God likes gardens. And now we get the opportunity to tell people passionate about making "beautiful abodes worthy of man," as Emerson says, that we do this to make a beautiful abode worthy of God, too.

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posted by Peter at 11:37 PM
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