My daughter has a pet plant, Vivaldi. He’s a succulent, and a nice, bushy one, too. But it wasn’t always that way for Vivaldi. When she first brought him home from the nursery, she was given special soil and instructions to “be careful not to overwater a succulent.”
As the Poolesville Community Garden winds down its first year of operation, it's been great seeing the church and our partnership with local businesses, Poolesville Green, and the town of Poolesville, Maryland, thrive. It's exciting, and a blessing, because gardens are a wonderful, amazing way to be fed.
Not long ago I was talking with friend who has become the pastor of a church in his small home town. He’s been there for a few years, having been away for 20, and has found himself among people he has known all his life. The parish council president, for instance, is an old classmate from nursery school through high school. Some of his elderly parishioners are his old teachers. He knows almost everyone on Main Street, regardless of their denomination or lack thereof.
What’s got to him, he said, is the invisible wall that has been constructed between him and all these old friends.
I went to a wedding the weekend before last, a wedding where I did not officiate. So instead of preaching and coaxing vows out of nervous brides and grooms, instead of praying and being on high alert at all times, I was listening. Intently.
I was picking up a book at the library one day when I saw a rundown black car pull up. A woman began to painfully extricate herself from the drivers seat. Her clothes were shabby, hair dishevelled, posture bent. Her overall appearance gave the strong impression that the world had kicked her around a bit. She looked up and, seeing me walking toward her, began to wave at me and called out in a raspy voice, “Hey, can you come over here and help me?”
People in my profession get asked to pray a lot. Many times, there isn’t even any asking going on—it’s simply assumed the pastor is the one who prays. When one of us pastor types goes off script and cheerfully offers for one of the other Christians in the group to have the honor, uncomfortable silence ensues. “Who feels called to offer a blessing for this meal?” Crickets.