Thursday, June 28, 2007

Keep your hand on the Cultivator

Big Pete
Originally uploaded by thebigboat2000
We visited the Historic Kelly Farm last weekend and Jonah and I got to help Cultivate the Corn. We probably wern't much help, but I don't think we killed any corn. The idea is to plow up the weeds between the corn, so they die and the corn gets more water and nutrients so it can grow.

We are constantly being cultivated by God. The weeds that grow in our life; fears, angers, addictions, media, meanness, are being pulled out by the roots and thrown aside. We probably don't even see most of the threats to our faith. The ones that are closest to us are the hardest to pull. That job has to be done by hand. It can hurt to pull out the habits that seem to define us, but really defy us.

Have you cultivated your faith this year? Pull out the weeds and feed and water the good stuff.

Friday, June 22, 2007


Originally uploaded by thebigboat2000
What's keeping you inside? What has you all wrapped up and away from where you really want to be?

There was a guy in Gerasa who was pushed out by the others, sent away, even tied up to keep him in the sticks. Apparently he had some trouble in "normal" social situations. What troubles he had exactly we don't know but by the time we meet him he's ready to go off the deep end.

So Jesus shows up. Hops off the boat after crossing the lake and calming the storm. And this naked guy comes up to him and shrieks "Why are you bothering me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God?" For Jesus had already commanded the evil spirits to leave.

Off the deep end they go, indeed. A whole crowd of demons take the pigs for a ride and jump off, into the sea. Gone, forever. Our Naked Man is now dressed, quiet and ready to follow Jesus wherever he goes. He is free.

He didn't ask, he didn't pay, he was just freed. In fact, he couldn't have asked for himself, he was that deep in the drink. Like the woman who had washed his feet, Jesus freed her of her sin before she asked. It is the sins that we don't acknowledge or perhaps even know about that really tie us up. The stuff we won't or can't or just don't confess before God and our neighbor.

But Jesus forgives us. For his sake we don't have to be tied up in chains, locked in a tomb, hidden away. We are free to tell others what God has done for us.

That is the request. Not an order, but an imperative: "Go home and tell what God has done for you!"

Monday, June 18, 2007

Why are they called StrawBerries?

We went strawberry picking on Saturday, and J asked me why they are called strawberries. If you only buy your berries from a grocery store, you might think it's because they taste a little like straw. But if you are lucky enough to have a good pick-you-own Strawberry farm near you you might have a better picture. Strawberry Haven, our local place has rows upon rows of big green plants interspersed with aisles of ... you guess.. Straw! I heard once that the name came from the practice of mulching the berry plants with straw to keep the precious berries off the ground.

So, seeing all those rows of berries in the straw makes a whole lot of sense. And a whole lot of good eating!

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Gardening 101

The Story of the Seeds
Jesus told this story: "A farmer went out to sow his seed. Some of it fell on the road; it was tramped down and the birds ate it. Other seed fell in the gravel; it sprouted, but withered because it didn't have good roots. Other seed fell in the weeds; the weeds grew with it and strangled it. Other seed fell in rich earth and produced a bumper crop.
"Are you listening to this? Really listening?"

This monday the kids and I planted our garden. Yes, it's the first week of June but we finally got around to it. We planted pea and bean seeds, squash, carrot and beet seeds, and then we went to bed. Jonah looked for the plants the next morning. No new plants. There were a few beans that had washed to the surface with our watering, but no sprouts. Then on Tuesday we bought some tomato plants. They are already 6 inches high. We planted these in the garden as well and it makes it look like something is growing.

For seven years I have been in ministry (officially). In those years I have been planting seeds. It would be nice to be able to go back the next day and see the fruits of God's story in the people I have cared for, but sometimes the sprouts are late. Sometimes the fields move away, or I move on and don't see the blooms.

Sometimes I get to see God's growth in the world. Sometimes there is a spurt of growth that fails after the sun goes down. Sometimes it takes hold in good soil and bears fruit a hundred fold.

Plant your seeds anyway! We might get beans and peas this fall, who knows??