Take a Walk on the Wild Side

Hello, Blog Chums!

Here's a piece I wrote a few weeks back for Shelovesmagazine. In case you didn't see it there, I offer it to you now. Actually, if I do say so myself, I think it's one of my better ones. :)  So, read on and then click the link at the end to read the rest over at Sheloves.

I step off the northeast corner of our little farm and into a forest. It’s a small patch of trees really; semi-trucks can be heard barreling down the roads that border two sides of this small Eden. But despite its diminutive size this woodland packs a biodiverse punch. On my arboreal path I have encountered white tale deer, an American beaver, red-legged frogs, rough-skinned newts and birds of copious variety from owls to warblers to heron flying in cruciform overhead. And then there are the trees—magnificent Douglas Firs and towering Western Red Cedars whose branches fall like shawls off the shoulders of giant women.

As I walk amongst these trees I brake spider webs with my face and am reminded ofMary Oliver’s poem and the spider with her “surplus of legs” and injurious glare.

In the fall, when the spiders have grown to the size of coins I walk with a stick, held out like a machete, allowing me to hack my way through the gossamer threads, a hacking which sends the spiders sailing like trapeze artists to safer shores under twigs or leaves. But in spring and early summer I let my face lead the way. The light is usually so dim I don’t see the webs coming, but I walk on anyway, until strings of web and pencil point-sized spiders dangle from my head like Hasidic curls, imply a vow.

And this is my vow: to map this place with my walking. To, every day, wake to the gratuitous wonders served up by the hand of a generous Creator. To breathe in creation, and in that breathing find myself restored, recalibrated.

It sounds very Walden Pond Wonderful, doesn’t it? Walk in the wood, and, voila, a new saner self. It sounds so Walden Pond Wonderful, that even I, an every day forest walker, am tempted to roll my eyes and get on with the daily work of making the world a better place.

But what if I told you that science backs me up on this one? What if I told you that walking in woods lowers the stress hormone cortisol in the brain, while at the same time increasing cerebral blood flow, immune defense and overall mental health—all health benefits that the same amount of walking in the city or on a treadmill do not confer. This is true—studies have shown it, my friends!

.......but wait, there's more!!!......

Read the rest of the article by clicking this link:  Shelovesmagazine


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The Slow Sacred Texts of the Dying

photo credti: Macia Pevey

My sister sits daily at the bedsides of the dying.

She is a hospice chaplain. This is her job.

On a recent visit to a private residence, my sister was greeted by the 80-year-old daughter of a 104-year-old dying woman. The daughter, white-haired and stooped, opened the door and in a sing-song drawl called over her shoulder, “Mama, the preacher’s here,” a pronouncement that had my sister rubber-necking over her own shoulder looking for “the preacher” who had snuck in behind her.This geriatric announcement, “Mama, the preacher’s here,” while so funny on so many levels, is also so true. My sister is a preacher. She preaches from the slow, sacred texts of the dying’s last days.

This is what she preaches:

We need to fearlessly affirm. The dying shed all inhibitions. My sister, middle-aged and of normal attractiveness, has been told she’s beautiful by more patients than she can count. The approach of death has not affected these people’s eyesight; it’s affected their inhibition, shattering the veneer of decorum that has kept them from voicing their true feelings and thoughts. The words come forth in childlike innocence and honesty and are therefore the furthest thing from flattery because they are offered by those with nothing to lose or gain. My sister receives these words like the benedictions they are.

We need to connect at all costs. On one particular visit, my sister entered a hospital room to find the patient’s children hunched, each in his or her own chair, paralyzed in isolation and anxiety at the decline of their mother. My sister sat with them, holding their mother’s hand. Gently, she suggested that the patient’s 60-year-old daughter place her hand on her mother’s leg.It was a simple act, but in touching her mother, this grieving woman broke the spell that held her apart from the one she wanted to love. Soon she was massaging her mother’s feet as her siblings swapped stories from their childhood. One truly hilarious story involved a rabid squirrel, a garbage can, and a baseball bat. Soon they were weeping with laughter, the beauty of their connectedness restored by physical contact and their shared stories............

But wait, there's more! To read the rest of this post take a little jaunt over to Shelovesmagazine. The ending is just a click away.


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Stepping Out of Small



In elementary school I was the second smallest kid in my class. The only person smaller was a pinched-face boy with the nickname “Mouse.”

Even my identical twin had a 1-½ inch advantage on me from the day we were born. Our height discrepancy was the only way some knew how to tell us apart. My shortness was the clue to who I was.

As a child I learned to stay small, not only in size, but presence. Small people are better at ducking and weaving–avoiding responsibility and attention. I am now middle-aged and middle-sized, but the psychological symptoms of smallness are not shed with added inches.

Not all short people strive for a smallness of influence, of course. One’s influential presence is much more a symptom of personality and resolve than size. A roll call of the vertically challenged easily shatters the myth of a size-equals-influence corollary: the Calcutta missionary Mother Teresa, the abolitionist Harriot Tubman, founder of the American Red Cross Clara Barton, anthropologist Margaret Mead–all women who never made it past 5 feet tall. All women who changed their worlds.

Rosa Parks was 5’2 when she refused to relinquish her seat to a white passenger on a Montgomery city bus, thereby breaking segregation laws and helping start a movement.

What did these small women have in common, besides their size?

Vision.

And the courage to take the next small step toward that vision.

I don’t like controversy and I don’t like limelight, so starting the first Christian Environmental Centre in Canada (with the ministry of A Rocha) at times has felt like a job for someone stronger and bigger. A Rocha started out so small and so humbly–in basements, with meetings attended by only handfuls of people–that sometimes I forgot to be scared. But those humble beginnings have led to some expansive places. And I’ve learned to take small steps toward a bigger vision.

This spring the donation of a three million dollar property–a property we’ve been stewarding and operating out of for the past five years–will be complete. A Rocha will own theBrooksdale Environmental Centre. It’s been a 13-year journey from an office in our basement to this place that looks like a cross between an English Tudor village and Shangri la.

While I rejoice in this gift and want to fall to my knees in gratitude, I also want to acknowledge that being big and successful hasn’t been our goal. The value of A Rocha’s newest Environmental Centre lies not in its stunning aesthetics, but in the change it creates. If I’ve learned anything from being small it’s that big does not necessarily equal better.

The thing that matters is change.

To read the rest of this post please click on the following link and visit Shelovesmagazine.com



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Earth Day Offerings

Happy Earth Day fellow earthlings!

  

To celebrate this important day my kind and clever publisher has put the ebook version of Planted on sale for the low, low price of $3.99. If you haven't read it yet, here's your chance to save a tree and enjoy some green literary morsels.

And, the fun doesn't stop there! To celebrate this important day, my kind and clever friend Kelli Trujillo has just posted a couple of interviews with yours truly. The first is in Today's Christian Woman's online magazine. The second is part of a creation care series on Kelli's website. In both Kelli and I consider the implications of living like the earth truly belongs to God and not us.

What are you going to do to celebrate this day? I hope it involves time outside in this glorious green world!


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Douglas Coupland, the Good Samaritan and Bizarreness at Missions Fest



The Good Samaritan by Paula Modersohn-Becker

                                                   Cast of Characters:

                               Me, tired, very sore shoulder, grumpy (suspect I was channelling Doc Martin, having binged on the tv show the previous week).

                                  The Two Arabs            The Cheery Couple

                                  The Intense Man           The Sick Woman

                                                          Setting:
                       Missions Fest – largest Christian missions conference in Canada

                                               Reason for being there:
                  1. Stand at A Rocha booth and pepper passerbys with creation care propoganda.
                  2. Participate in Book Signing later in the evening.

I arrived at Missions Fest at 6 pm on Saturday night and felt like I was stepping into an alternate universe – a very cheery Christian universe. It felt alternate because I was not feeling particularly cheery or even Christian. The alternate universe theme played out, like a Douglas Coupland novel, through the entire evening and though I am still not sure how the sequence of events quite relate to one another, I share them now in the order and veracity in which they happened, that together we might make some sense of them.

I began the evening in surveillance, walking at top speed, without making eye contact, through the maze of booths, on the lookout for any long lost friends. Mid-stride I was stopped by two men with thick Arabic accents. They asked for directions to someplace far away, which tipped me off to the fact that they had no idea where they were, and I wondered if they knew they’d landed in the lions’ den. I asked where they were from. Iraq, they said. I apologized for the US bombing of their country. They said not to worry, it wasn’t my fault. And then the thicker and balder of the two took my hand and told me I was very beautiful. Which was unexpected. I said I was also very married, smiled and scooted back to the booth. And hid behind the A Rocha banner for a few minutes.

Soon it was time to take my seat at the book signing. I was joined by Mark Buchannan, best-selling author of lots and lots of books. A steady stream of people qued up to buy Mark’s books and get them signed. No one lined up to purchase mine.

I was tempted to start humming and swinging my legs in an “Oh, isn’t this fun,” sort of way. I was also tempted to hide behind my iphone, but somehow I thought that might look tacky so instead smiled bravely at people as they passed quickly by, avoiding eye contact. Finally a couple took pity on me and approached.

“We recognize you,” they said. “We were at your book launch at Regent College.”

Oh hurray, I thought. Comrades!

They went on to tell me how much they loved the book launch party, especially the food, and all the books they bought at the Regent bookstore. It quickly became obvious that mine had not been amoung those books purchased. Nor was it going to be purchased this night. Oh well, at least they were talking to me, and they were friendly. I imagined us going on chatting like this for a long while, maybe even throughout the entire book signing. That would be pleasant.

But then, a cherub-faced little girl, led by the hand of her father, walked by. She giggled and winked and drew them to herself like flies to a web.

Don’t go play with that little girl, I wanted to yell. Stay with me! Tell me more about all those other books you bought!

But alas, they left. And I, shoulder aching, throat sore, ears becoming sore too now, went back to smiling, a little more feebly, at the stream of humanity that flowed around me.

Then a man strode straight up to me with a brusqueness that implied mental instability. “What time are you leaving?” he blurted.

“Uh, I need to sit here til 9:30,” I said, bewildered.

“Well, there’s a woman sick with food poisoning, can you take her home?”

Me?! I thought. Why me?! I’m sick too -- with shame and shoulder problems and a sore throat.

I suggested he ask that an announcement be made, which it was. But, go figure, there were no takers. So he returned, and pressed me for a commitment. What was a Christian girl to do? The morning conference session had probably been on the Good Samaritan. Of course, I’d take her home.

I found her in the lunch room hunched over a big black trash can. I approached. She looked up at me with wide, kind eyes.

“Are you the author?” she asked in a voice just above a whisper.

“Uh, yes,” I said, wondering when writing a book qualified one as a paramedic.

We made our way slowly to my car. She talked the whole way, pausing ever few minutes to take deep breaths. I told her she didn’t need to talk. I told her that when I was ill I didn’t like to talk. I liked in fact to retreat to a dark cave within myself and sit very still and very mute. But this woman was not a cave-dweller. She was a believer in God’s providence. And she was grateful, and positive and sincere. She was also still in the throes of food poisoning, but happily for both of us she’d brought a little white barf bag and a medical blanket to cover the seat. Both were needed on the drive home. Having just come through the stomach flu the week previous and having a sympathetic constitution I started to feel ill myself, complete with saliva glands watering. I wondered if she’d find it alarming or too chilly if I rolled down my window and drove with my head out of the car like a Golden Retriever.

We made it to her home, all windows rolled up and only one barf bag in use. She took my card and said she’d visit A Rocha with her niece. She was full of faith. Full of gratitude. I have never met such a thankful person. Even between throwing up, practically in the midst of throwing up, she was thanking me for the ride and thanking God for her normally good health.

I returned home, an hour later than I had intended, throat still sore, shoulder still throbbing, but a little less grumpy and I wondered who had actually been ministering to whom. I wondered who, actually, had played the lead role in this Good Samaritan parable?

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Holy Ground

credit: Betsy Jean
When Moses stood at the burning bush God told him to take off his shoes because the place where he was standing was holy ground.

Holy Ground.

What made it holy, of course, was the presence of God, manifested in flaming shrubbery. But what if God, being everywhere (as Christian doctrine teaches us), makes every place holy? What if every bush dances with the flames of God’s presence, but our eyes are just not calibrated to see it?

And...

What if that mud Jesus caked a blind man’s eyes with somehow aided his prayer for healing?

And...

What if the name “Adam” which comes from the Hebrew word meaning “red clay” isn't just an interesting literary device?

Adam – Mud Man. Earth Child. Earthling.

Biologist Hayman Hartman claims that the reason there is life on earth, and not, say, on the moon or mars, is the existence of clay. His claims are complicated, having to do with iron and organic compounds and crystal structures, but in essence, he claims it’s clay that holds the blueprint for life. Isn’t that interesting?

Look down.

You are standing on holy ground.
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Blessed be the Basset Hounds


Happy Feast of Saint Francis Day!

This is the day we celebrate the patron saint of puppies, piranhas, and pigeons (and every other winged, four and multi-footed creature!). In honor of the day I offer you this lovely poem, penned by Jan Richardson (janrichardson.com), written "in gratitude for the animals who have graced her life." So grab the closest pet at hand (or if you have no cats or dogs underfoot, go outside and look up into the bird-dotted sky) and celebrate this blessing.

Blessing the Animals

You who created them

and called them good:

bless again these creatures

who come to us

as a blessing

fashioned of fur

or feather

or fin,

formed of flesh

that breathes with

your own breath,

that you have made

from sheer delight,

that you have given

in dazzling variety.

Bless them

who curl themselves

around our hearts

who twine themselves

through our days

who companion us

in our labor

who call us

to come and play.

Bless them

who will never be

entirely tamed

and so remind us

that you love

what is wild,

that you rejoice

in what lives close

to the earth,

that your heart beats

in the heart of these creatures

you have entrusted

to our care.
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A Song to Break Your Heart

credit: Kenneth Cole Schneider

Sixty different species of birds regularly visit our farm. Each species sings a unique song (or two...or a thousand).

The Red-eyed Vireo sings 20,000 different songs -- every day!

In contrast, the Song Sparrow, despite the connotations of its name, has a meagre repertoire of just ten songs.

The Dark-eyed Junko is a minimalist, abandoning the frivolity of singing for the utility of morse code, tapping out his calls in snappy clicks.

The Swainson’s Thrush climbs the ladder of her song two rungs at a time, swinging like a trapeze artist from each rung as she goes.

The Barred owl’s daytime call is an escalating shrill so piercing you’d swear he was running his talons across a little blackboard tucked beneath his wing. But you forgive him his spine-tingling alarm when at night the full O of his breathy hoot comes drifting out of the dark like a verbal smoke ring.

The Winter Wren sings as if his life depended on it. Looking like a puff of brown cotton and weighing about as much, ounce for ounce he belts out his song with ten times the power of a crowing rooster.

It’s enough to break your heart.

And mend it.

Who is singing out your window?
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At the Rim

credit: markusni


I stood at the rim of the Grand Canyon a week ago. It’s funny because I’m not fond of heights but my stomach was steady and my nerves calm as I looked over the edge down to the Colorodo River over 5,000 feet below. Five thousand feet – that’s nearly a mile. The elevation change is so significant that the Canyon comprises five separate and distinct ecosystems from arid desert at the bottom to spruce-fir forest on the north rim. The elevation change is so significant that when Spanish explorer Garcia López de Cárdenas first set eyes on the Canyon in 1540 he estimated the Colorodo to be six feet across, merely a creek over which to hop. He had no reference for what he was seeing. I sympathize, hence the lack of vertigo. Nothing could be that immense, that spectacular. The expanse played tricks on my brain, making me feel like Tom Bombodil and tempting me to think, In four or five leaps I could be off this ledge and down to that stream for a drink!

My husband is wiser. When we approached the Canyon for our first look, Markku burst into shouts of “Halleluiah” (to the mortification of our daughters and the delight of a very friendly park ranger). With the same sense of awe, Markku touched every rock along the “Geological History” walk, setting his hand on stone that was nearly two billion years old. Every rock he touched predated the age of the dinosaurs.

That’s when the vertigo set in. Every rock, older than the dinosaurs. This rock, this rock I touched -- “Vishu granite” -- nearly half the age of the earth. It made me dizzy. Fall off the edge and you not only plummet nearly a mile, but 1.8 billion years as well.

Who are we that you are mindful of us, oh God?
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The Sacrament of Spruce




credit: Mr. Po

My farmmates slaughtered a cow recently. I didn’t want to be there. I liked Spruce, his tawny curls, bawling voice, and thick tongue that wrapped around blades of grass like an arm of an octopus. His death was an event I would happily forgo.

I went to church instead. I love church. I love the singing. I love our pastor Anne’s sermons. I love the prayers. It all draws me to the Real. Technically we’re “low church” Baptists – thus, no robes, no candles and just two sacraments, baptism and communion. In the seven years of the church’s existence we have only performed one baptism; but what we lack in water, we make up in wine (or, in our case, grape juice). Rooted in the image of the table -- where all are welcomed and nourished -- we celebrate God’s tangible demonstration of love every Sunday. I love the remembrance integral to this ceremony. I love the earthiness of the bread which is often homemade and sometimes still warm. I love the way the servers say everyone’s name as he or she receives the elements. “John, this is the body of Christ broken for you...Danielle, the blood of Christ, shed for you.” I like to go first so that I can sit and watch others receive, which is a communion too.

Given that I had chosen sacrament over slaughter I was surprised when my farmmate Karin described Spruce’s slaughter as “sacramental”. The officiating “priest” hardly seemed a candidate for such a label. A chain-smoking man in his early thirties, he consumed three cans of Old Milwaukee beer during the 30 minute early morning procedure. When Karin asked if he would be willing to slaughter their next cow in a couple year’s time, he answered, “If I’m still alive, which I doubt.” 

But there was evidence of sacrament in the channel hand-dug from the slaughter area to the field, which still shone bright with blood when I saw it hours later. And there had certainly been reverence as expressed by Karin and our fellow farmmate Angela’s prayers of thanksgiving for Spruce’s life. True, there was no, “Behold, the cow of God that takes away the sins of the world.” But there was an encounter with the “Real” and in turn, a turning – of hearts toward the Creator in gratitude and humility at the provision of nourishment that only comes through sacrifice.
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A Whale's Last Song

credit:  Darryl Dyck, The Canadian Press


A juvenile humpback whale washed up onto the beach a couple kilometres from our house this morning. By the time my girls and I arrived a few hours later the beach was swarming with a crowd of the curious. Yellow police tape circled the 10-metre long whale, making it look like a crime scene, which I suppose it was -- the fishing net tangled at the whale’s fluke clearly indicated foul play. The Vancouver Aquarium folks were on hand as were the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada. It was a strange atmosphere of mourning and festivity. I heard one man say to his son, “Isn’t this exciting?” I think he meant being so close to a whale.

There are only about 2,000 humpbacks that travel up and down the B.C. coast. They don’t often come near shore. They do sing, however -- haunting songs. And they’re intelligent. I thought of a story related by a marine biologist about another species of whale -- Orcas. Each of the three Orca pods that live in the Northwest’s Puget Sound sing in their own distinct dialect. When one pod failed to return one particular spring the other two pods went out to sea, singing the third pod’s song in an attempt to woo it back to their common summer waters.

And I thought of my grandparents’ neighbours on Orcas Island who once ate a Robin that had smashed into their windshield. Not wanting its death to have been in vain they collected it off the road, brought it home and cooked it for lunch. I remembered how our financial advisor trapped, killed and made stew of a squirrel who had taken up residence in his garage. He encouraged his kids to eat the stew as a living case study of “waste not, want not” (you got to love such conservatism in a financial advisor).

But how could we redeem this whale’s death? We couldn’t eat it. We couldn’t use its blubber for oil. We could, however, lament. Before the crime scene tape went up some thoughtful souls placed flowers on its head. And just before we arrived three elders from the Semiamhoo First Nation beat drums and sang songs, honouring a rare and singing whale.
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Blessed Stillness

credit:  Brooke McAllister

I woke this morning with my “to do” list playing a loop track in my brain. It’s longer than usual and my insides felt tight as a result. But remembering the words of my gurus (Martin Luther: “I find I have so much to do that I must spend two hours a day in prayer;” and the equally sage Anne Lamott: “Keep moving or you die.”), I pushed myself outside for a quick walk before tackling the tasks of the day.

I strolled off our property and into the adjacent woods. The first thing that struck me, besides the tangle of green that has burst into being in the last few weeks, was birdsong -- so clear and bright and immediate it seemed each bird had an amplifier on his little scissor mouth. The woods were full of throaty exuberance. “Listen to me! I’m a bird!” each one seemed to be trumpeting.

Then it was off the woodland trail and down to the Little Campbell River to a bench my farmmates have dubbed “the Listening Bench” where I go to, well, listen. My practice is to sit quietly and practice the presence of God through contemplative prayer – be present to the Presence that finds me there. I hadn’t been sitting for more than three minutes when he came. In the river’s current, brown from the recent rains, a bigger brown – a square face, flat ears, sturdy body and wide flat tail, like a flipped rudder. A beaver. Four seconds and he was gone – carried swiftly downstream and out of view.

The whole incident -- the temptation to tackle “to do's”, the invitation to stillness, the blessings of the birds and beaver -- put in mind of a Mary Oliver poem:

It Was Early
(from Evidence)

It was early,
 which has always been my hour
  to begin looking
   at the world

and of course,
 even in the darkness,
  to begin
   listening into it,

especially
 under the pines
  where the owl lives
    and sometimes calls out

as I walk by,
 as he did
  on this morning.
   So many gifts!

What do they mean?
 In the marshes
  where the pink light
   was just arriving

the mink
 with his bristle tail
  was stalking
   the soft-eared mice,

and in the pines
 the cones were heavy,
  each one
   ordained to open.

Sometimes I need
 only to stand
  wherever I am
   to be blessed.

Little mink, let me watch you.
  Little mice, run and run.
   Dear pine cone, let me hold you
    as you open.

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Eating Shaggy

shaggy

     They say you should never name an animal you plan on eating. Perhaps, but I’ll say one thing: when you know it’s Shaggy on your plate, it sure adds authenticity to your pre-meal prayer. Firsthand knowledge of your dinner’s name brings you face to face with the fact that everything that feeds us—from a beef steak to a beefsteak tomato—has to die to give us life. As Gary Synder so ably puts it, “if we do eat meat, it is the life, the bounce, the swish, of a great alert being with keen ears and lovely eyes, with four square feet and a huge beating heart that we eat, let us not deceive ourselves.”

    Rick Faw taught us a lot in this regard. Rick, who serves as A Rocha’s Education Director, came with his family to live at the Field Study Centre the spring after we arrived. One of the first tasks we bequeathed to him was the care of the cows, a task he gladly accepted, being a closet cow whisperer and all-around animal lover. The image that stays with me from those early days is of Rick, baby Jared on his back and a farm cat at his heels, pushing a wheelbarrow towering with hay through the sodden grass to the pasture. He’d deftly launch the bales over the fence and into the cows’ troughs, pet their foreheads while they munched, and then go on with his other farm chores. This was his morning routine.

     In the late afternoons, while Jared napped, Rick returned to the fields to brush the cows. I think he really wanted a dog, or any more sentient sort of pet, but since he had cows, he poured all his pent-up pet affection into them. He’d stand out there, in the cold, in his 1980s bright blue ski jacket, and brush those cows down as if they were Arabian mares and tomorrow was the Kentucky Derby. Markku and I watched all this from our kitchen window and, I must admit, wondered if Rick was making the best use of his time. Surely he could be writing a fundraising letter or planning a talk or following up with potential interns. There was just so much to be done.

     Our attitude just goes to show our lack of groundedness. Brushing the cows, by Rick’s own admission, served no practical function. Highland cattle on the moors of Scotland never get their coats brushed and they survive just fine. A few burrs and tangles in no way mitigates their enjoyment of sun, grass and stars. But then Rick wasn’t really concerned with burrs and tangles; the brushing was a way of de-stressing for Rick (and probably for the cows as well). In this way it was both an act of contemplation and even, dare I say, of fellowship. Given his bonding with these beasts you’d think Rick would have been the first of us to go vegetarian (I alone of all the A Rocha staff hold that distinction). But no, he ate the stews and roasts just like everyone else. He did admit, however, that he felt a measure of sadness when eating our cows, but for him this was a good thing, for in his sadness lay the seeds of gratitude.
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At the Table of Abundance

credit:  Brooke McAllister

     The predominant theme overarching all the farming and eating at A Rocha’s Centres has been one of abundance. Weekly Community Shared Agriculture (CSA) baskets (actually, big Rubbermaid blue tubs) overflow with up to twenty different selections of produce, from potatoes to spinach to rutabagas. The bounty is so copious that most CSA members split their share with another household since they find it impossible to make it through all those veggies in one week. Reflecting on this theme of abundance, our farmer Paul summed it up well in one of his regular CSA newsletters: “Such abundance is a gift, and makes possible other gifts: healthy bodies and minds nourished by good food; the raw materials for hospitality; the opportunity for generosity; the necessity of creativity in the kitchen (what to do with kohlrabi?); and the reminder that all of this comes from the hand of our generous Creator!”

     At A Rocha, we don’t have a chapel, we have a table. The meal is a place of community, fellowship and invitation. Conversations range from favourite films to theology to birds sighted on the morning bird walk to the number of eggs laid by the hens that morning to more personal family histories. The table is a safe place, a neutral ground for dialogue, knowing and communion. Is it any wonder that the New Testament is full of accounts of Jesus eating meals with people (and with the most unlikely people)? Is it any wonder that Jesus chose a meal to commemorate the abundance of his love?
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