I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow. So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. (I Corinthians 3:6-7)
ebekah loves to garden (Here’s a picture from yesterday afternoon as she gave away her prize giant bromeliad to our good friend Steve).
Occasionally, gardening will cost Rebekah in terms of back pain, but she persists because the whole cycle of planting, nurturing, fertilizing, watering, pruning, re-imagining, tearing out, rebuilding, visioning, and sometimes just plain starting over again from scratch is such a beautiful progression, and so theologically apropos.
GARDENING/MINISTRY: Gardening, like ministry, is about recognizing and then cultivating unique microclimates. No two gardens are the same, and the rule holds true for communities of faith. When we moved here from Pensacola in 1996 we pretty-much had to learn all over, both at the Presbyterian church and in the back yard.
The “garden” on Laurel Oak Drive was a veritable wilderness. With the exception of our three big oak trees, absolutely everything has been imagined and grown since we rolled in 17 years ago. There’s a lot going on, from the tiered patio to every imaginable variety of vegetation. But if Rebekah’s garden has been any one thing, it’s been the amazing display of bromeliads.
PRINCIPLES: She had a few bromeliads in Pensacola, but they were all potted, and they had to be invited in during cold weather. Here, we have literally hundreds of specimens, representing scores of distinct varieties. But they are uniquely tropical, and we’ll be forced to reinvent our entire approach the moment we roll into Wake Forest.
All differences aside, however, there are a few key principles at the heart of a “Rebekah” garden that hold true no matter where we put down roots. Doesn’t matter if we’re in Pensacola, Brandon, Wake Forest, or some desert climate in New Mexico, the gardens may look radically different but they all stem from the same foundational truths that never shift, and always lead to maturity and growth.
PARALLEL: I guess I really don’t need to write the balance of this post. Our new church in Wake Forest is going to be another faith-community micro-climate, just as the amazing Body of Christ in Brandon has been and will continue to be. The ministry in Wake Forest is going to be beautiful, and it’s going to thrive.
It’s going to thrive even though it’s going to look nothing like First Presbyterian Church in Brandon. Why? Because the new garden is going to be built on the same essential principles, the timeless message that God invites each one of us to move beyond church membership and into discipleship, to live as committed Followers of the Way of Jesus.
The bromeliads have been amazing, full and rich and proliferate and colorful, and we’re so happy some of them are going to a good home with Steve. But now it’s going to be a time and a season for day-lilies, hydrangea, dogwoods, azaleas and more….
Fact is, I don’t even know the half of what’s going to grow and bloom around Wake Forest. But I do know that God will bless the garden.
In the hope of promise – DEREK
There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.What do workers gain from their toil? I have seen the burden God has laid on the human race. He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live. That each of them may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all their toil—this is the gift of God. I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it. (Ecclesiastes 3)