My garden is a mess and over this last few weeks I have rather discouraged each time I go outside to water. Morning glory and brambles seem to be taking over, nothing has been deadheaded and it is hard, in some places to tell the plants from the weeds. The lettuce, broccoli and chinese greens have all gone to seed and autumn seedlings have all been consumed by slugs.
In spite of that some plants are thriving. We have already picked over 100 pounds of squash, and a delicious harvest of beans. Now the tomatoes are starting and though they are not as numerous as last year they are so sweet that they are well worth the wait. It seems that we have all just been to busy over the summer to give the garden to give the care that it needs and without a community that cares a garden will not flourish.
When I shared this in our MSA team meeting this morning it excited a lively discussion. Community is so important be it for a well ordered garden or a well ordered organization, even one that functions in as organic a method as we do. In many ways the garden is a great parable for what is happening to us as an organization. We feel that we are in a very messy stage because we still lack the community we need to create the structure to move forward without chaos. Yet God seems to be adding to our community daily in ways that are almost overwhelming at times.
Last week I blogged about new positions that we have advertised for the MSA team. This week we have already seen some of these positions filled by new volunteers. And three weeks ago, just before the Celtic retreat I shared my struggles because we had not received any of the finances we needed to begin work on the Mustard Seed Village. This week that too seems to have changed. But more of that later….
What fascinates me in the midst of this is recognizing the way that God works. God works best through community – be it in a productive garden or in a productive organization. And even at its most productive God’s garden usually has a few plants that have gone to seed, and others that most of us would consider to be weeds. After all it is those “gone to seed” plants that most attract the insects and birds that help our garden to thrive. And sometimes it is the weeds that hold the soil together and stop erosion.
God does not always work in clean and orderly ways. In fact sometimes I think that God prefers a messy garden with a certain wild abandon to it. Not that I think this is an excuse to stop pulling weeds or to ignore the need for structure in the way we work. However it does place on us the challenging responsibility or recognizing when and where God is at work especially if what is happening is a little different from what we like to see.
And that too requires community. It is impossible to discern the ways of God alone. We needed all the voices of our Mustard Seed Team this morning to glimpse what God was saying to us. It was refreshing, renewing and exciting.