The details that the empty tomb was located in a beautiful garden and that the risen Christ was mistaken for the gardener are not-so-subtle reminders that God intends to restore a broken creation that began in, that’s right, a garden (John 20:1-18, Genesis 2-3).
And God is inviting us to partner in this great restoration project—which means that you and I get to practice resurrection here and now.
Here’s one of the ways my church stumbled upon to practice resurrection.
Five years ago a handful of Northminster members who had served in our food pantry felt that fresh vegetables would be a loving addition to the bags of food they would distribute in the hot months of summer. I remember talking with two of our would-be gardeners and asking a basic question, “So, do you have any gardening experience?” “No,” they replied matter-of-factly, “we’ve never had a garden.” “So then,” I asked, “how are you going to know how to plant and tend a garden?” They looked at me like I was the densest man on the planet and answered, “The internet of course.”
And so it came to pass in the spring of 2008 the Northminster Community Garden was born. I left on a summer-long sabbatical promising to pray for their efforts, and while I was away that Internet Garden produced in epic proportions. Neighbors enjoyed tomatoes and squash all summer long. When I returned in August our Internet Gardeners showed me a refrigerator filled with squash–the garden was producing more than they could give away.
I did wonder how it had continued to produce so bountifully during the July and August draught. But it had. God’s miracle community garden.
Shortly after I returned from sabbatical, Northminster was visited by someone from the department of public works, wondering what we were doing differently around here. They apparently were not surprised that baptists would be using more water than other churches, and in the summer many people try to keep their grass alive. But they couldn’t believe the increase in our water consumption. (note: when a representative of the water department comes by to check on your water usage, you’re using a lot of H2O.)
A month of investigation turned up a broken pipe related to our heating system. It was spilling 1,000 gallons of water a day directly under the community garden. Think of it as a reverse parting of the Red Sea—God providing what the garden needed to produce bountifully while a group Internet Gardeners gained experience.
This year we are giving more Northminster members than ever the opportunity to participate in the garden. On March 10th we distributed soil and seeds during worship, asking our church family to lovingly grow some plants to be transplanted in May.
I picked up 3 packs of seeds and here’s how they’re doing: