As I write this, our Genesis Garden team is trying to catch a groundhog. In the garden, by the shed, is a humane trap, with apples and broccoli for bait. Each morning, the trap is checked and the food replenished. The team is committed to capturing this groundhog who dug into our garden from the other side of the building. But this groundhog is proving elusive. It must have learned something by watching the other 3 we caught this season.
Our Genesis Garden and our volunteers do amazing work. They use the gifts we are given (our land and time) to provide fresh vegetables to the Center for Food Action in Englewood. Too many people in Northern New Jersey struggle with food insecurity so we use what we have to make a difference in the lives of people we might never meet. This is Godly work – work that even those of us without green thumbs (i.e. me) can participate in. Planting, weeding, watering, and picking; together, we can do so much to love the world.
But sometimes our plans and expectations run into reality. We can lock up our gardens, mend our fences, build our walls tight, but a groundhog will still find a way in. It’s frustrating and disappointing to see our best intentions fall short even when we did nothing wrong. We might feel, after 3 groundhogs, to just give up. But we don’t because Christ doesn’t give up on us.
We’re starting up a new programming year. Our choirs, Sunday School, education programs, and more are all restarting. Our lives are going to get busy with sports, schools, holidays, jobs, and family events. We’re going to run into the groundhogs of our lives or be someone’s groundhog too. But we don’t stop turning to God, listening to the Spirit, and holding close to Jesus. In Christ, groundhogs are not the final word for our lives; love is. So let’s keep loving, feeding, and caring for ourselves and the world, no matter how many groundhogs come.
See you in church!