Friday, April 20, 2012
Adventures in Gardening ~ Inviting
Last night before church the children gathered to look at the garden, oohing and aahing over the growing things We live in the parsonage so children spill out into our yard, the line between home and church blurring, which I love. I told them which plant was what and they were excited about the squash almost ready to pick. I broke off a leaf from different herbs, told them the names, and let them smell their distinct fragrance.
My garden attracts bees and people, birds and butterflies. It's lovely and orderly and alive. Do we, growing things that we are, attract people to the garden of our lives, our families, our churches?
Before church last night I stood in the driveway talking to a neighbor. A young woman with fears, vague memories of a few childhood visits to church, and a hunger for something more than she knows now. As the children swarmed around the garden, she flitted around me, asking questions, hoping, crying. In the last two weeks her children have started crossing the street into our world and joining us for church. She was afraid they were an imposition distracting me from what was important. She doesn't want to disturb "the good thing" we have here and is afraid her family doesn't dress or behave formally enough.
I spoke to her fears as best I could. Seeking to ease and invite. I told her what church is for; we're for her, for her kids, for loving, not for rules or fancy, we're for people. And I told her she was welcome. That God loves her and she matters, that I know life is hard, that I'm here to listen if she needs to talk, that God loves her and Jesus has made a way. She cried and I told her I'm praying. And then I took her children and fed them and smiled at them and her shy little boy rewarded me with a rare grin.
Gardens are for feeding people and adding beauty. Does the garden of our life invite others in, to linger and be nourished, to have life, and be sustained? Is our life an invitation?