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April 12th

This morning’s sunrise was worthy of any Easter that I can remember.  The glow started early—at my house it was an iridescent orange moving to yellow.  The mountains were outlined by the light and a new day began!  Later the snow on the mountains lit up. 

I was reminded of those beautiful Easter mornings in South Dakota, when we would wake up early to go to a sunrise service.  They did not happen every year—maybe it depended on the weather, the date of Easter, the current pastor—I was a child and all I know is that the sunrise has always inspired awe in me.  This year Easter is late in the calendar year and so even with daylight savings time the sunrise will be very early. 

On Easter morning, I will be up and I will be thankful for the gift of sunrise and the growing rays of light that it brings to God’s Garden.  In our wet northwest, it is sometimes hard to believe we would ever need to be sheltered from the rays of the sun—other than perhaps our sunglasses and maybe a hat.

Our plants need all the sun they can get!  Especially in gardens like mine which are surrounded by big trees and a high fence.  In mark’s Gospel Jesus said, “The kingdom of God is as if someone would scatter seed on the ground, and would sleep and rise night and day, and the seed would sprout and grow and he does not know how.” Mark 4:21.  We might think we know how seeds grow because we are a scientific people, but for me much of growth is still a mystery, held in God’s hand, powered by God’s love.  The sun is part of that mystery—I know photosynthesis and all those scientific theories.  But it is still a mystery and we still give thanks to God who gives the growth.

April 10th

Okay, I finally gave up and came in out of the rain.  It was not cold, but I kept getting wetter and wetter.  I transplanted some raspberries to a new spot in the garden.  I hope they get enough sun!  I also transplanted some perennial flowers and replanted the “chair” planter that I won last year at Trinity’s spring choir and bell concert.  The fuchsia starts are not very big, but eventually they will grow up.

I pulled weeds again in the resurrected garden spot—they just keep coming back!  Hopefully that means the vegetables will also grow well in that spot.  I have not planted any seeds directly in the ground yet, because the squirrels would think they were food for them.  Dave will build me some sort of protection until the plants get big enough to survive. 

The perennials have started coming back to life and almost all the bulbs are blooming—I am still waiting for the tulips, but the rest are all blooming.  It gives me hope to know that the winter cold did not kill them and that with light and heat they will come back to life.  Kind of like Lazarus coming out of the grave in this morning’s Gospel.  God demonstrated God’s power over death and that gives me hope as we move closer and closer to Good Friday. 

Sometime this week, we will move the palm plants to church for Palm Sunday.  They have grown a lot this year.  God’s garden is full of life!  God’s abundant love and tender care is Good News for us all!

April 7th

Growing in faith—this morning I was at Washington Oaks, a retirement home, where I led a Bible study with an amazing group of women all over 85 years young.  We have been studying the letters of Paul to the Corinthians and we talked about planting seeds of faith.  Most of them had been Sunday School teachers at one time or another and many of them remembered who planted those first seeds of faith in them.  Mothers and grandmothers were often those mentioned as having been the one who first told them of God’s love. 

In Paul’s 2nd letter to Timothy, he writes:  “That precious memory triggers another: your honest faith—and what a rich faith it is, handed down from your grandmother Lois to your mother Eunice and now to you!”  (The Message)   Whether we think of our faith as planted or handed down, it is a gift not only from God, but also from the one who shared it with you.  We are always to be in the business of nurturing the faith of one another—we do that by prayer and by being available to listen. 

Trinity Lutheran Church has a giving garden that is being planted with vegetables to share with those who are hungry.  This is a new way to share with those who come to our Trinity Aid Bank.  But, Trinity Lutheran Church has long been a place where seeds of faith are being planted—we have so many gifts to share with a hungry world.  Not just vegetables but hope, patience, grace, and trust in the God who loves us and who never abandons us. 

Garden workers—thanks for passing on the faith to everyone you meet!  Thanks for your prayers on behalf of the hungry and the grieving, thanks for your care of our children and youth, thanks for joining in worship and fellowship with all who come to this Place of Grace.  Thanks for giving God’s grace away, every day!  Amen!

April 6th

This morning I went to the Bible for some “growing” inspiration.  It was snowing at my house this morning and I need to think about something other than the weather!

So I have gone to two of my favorites:

Galatians 6:9 “So let us not grow weary in doing what is right, for we will reap at harvest time, if we do not give up.”

2 Peter 3:18 “But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity.” (NRSV)

Both of these verses remind us that our lives have a purpose way beyond complaining about the weather.  We are called to lives of doing good—each of us can make a difference in the life of someone else today.  Even a smile to a sad looking fellow shopper can make a difference.  You may never know what the harvest even looks like.  St Paul does a good job of reminding us that we may plant seeds, but that God is the one who gives the growth. 

We can grow weary of doing good, especially if the world seems to grow more callous and needy day by day.  Let us help each other find the signs of God’s grace and mercy among us.  I want to thank all of you who do good by bringing food to the Trinity Aid Bank.  You need to know that the vast majority of people whom we help are thankful and appreciative.  At the end of the month, there are always some who come in apologizing for their need, but who go out with thankful hearts.  We help those who are homeless, but we also help those whose other resources are gone before the end of the month.

As food prices seem to be rising, so will the need of our neighbors.  Thank you for not growing weary in well-doing!  To God be the glory! Amen.


April 4th

Well, in case anyone noticed, I have missed a couple of days of blogging.  But there is some news from the garden.  My rhubarb is up and growing bigger every day!  This is a gift from those who lived in this house before us.  In fact last spring, when we had just been there a couple of months, the rhubarb was like a wonderful, fresh housewarming present.  It got made into rhubarb sauce and rhubarb crunch. 

This year, I have been anticipating its return.  There are many more stalks this year, probably because I have been weeding around it and have added some worm castings as fertilizer.  There will be even more this year to enjoy.

Like the rhubarb, God’s love is always with us, even when we do not know it.  When we take time to read God’s words to us we can know God’s presence.  Creation is often a second “book” of God’s love for us.  Sitting in my garden or pulling weeds in the sunshine, I feel God with me in the air, in the ground, in the flowers and in the songs of birds. 

Thanks be to God for springtime and for the harvest of spring gifts—like my rhubarb!  A gift from the gardener who planted it and a gift from our loving Creator.  Amen.

April 1st

April showers bring May flowers.  On this April Fool’s Day we are certainly starting in with showers.  But here in the northwest we do not have to wait until May for flowers.  There are beautiful pink and white trees blooming already with the promise of many more to come.  The magnolia in our front yard and the one at Trinity are just about ready!

When we think of gardens we often think of just the practical food producing plants, but the flowers are so important as well.

Because my Dad was a beekeeper, I remember that having fragrant blooming flowers were entice the bees to do their important pollinating work.  My mother always planted bright, bold zinnias around the edge of the vegetables.  All summer we had cut flowers to brighten our dinner table and somehow the bad bugs stayed out of the vegetables. 

Flowers remind us of the joy that God has promised us—they make me think of “abundant life!”  Not just food for our bodies but nourishment for our souls.

Beauty in worship is essential—I give thanks for the beautiful new Lenten banner hung this week in “God’s Garden” at Trinity!  Lent is about growth in faith and growth in love towards God and towards one another.  Our offerings of beauty to our Loving Creator give back just a small piece of the beauty we have received from God’s hands.

On Easter, we will celebrate the resurrection with a rainbow of beauty from God’s Garden—thank you in advance for adding to the beauty of that day!


March 30th

Today my Lenten Blog will borrow from a dear friend who is part of the twice a year collaboration between the faculties of our two Western Lutheran Seminaries.  I love what Cheryl says about the earth being God’s dwelling place.  That really goes well with my calling the earth God’s Garden!  Thanks, Cheryl!

Reading: Psalm 84
This is one of my favorite psalms. I have sung a choral version of it that I always hear in my mind as I read it. This time, however, I have a different "take" on the psalm. I used to think of church, frankly, as God's dwelling place and courts. Now I see all of creation as God's dwelling place (and probably have for a while). Seems obvious, doesn't it? This change in thinking has reminded me how precious, holy and fragile creation is. God has entrusted to us God's dwelling place. We can have profound effects on it. Now I ask myself, "Will I care differently for it as I ponder this new insight during Lent?"
Generous Creator, may your Spirit guide me in my care for your creation and all its creatures. Amen.
Cheryl Heuer
Dean of Students and Registrar, Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary

Psalm 84 (NRSV)
1 How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord of hosts!
2 My soul longs, indeed it faints for the courts of the Lord; my heart and my flesh sing for joy to the living God.
3 Even the sparrow finds a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young, at your altars, O Lord of hosts, my King and my God.
4 Happy are those who live in your house, ever singing your praise.
5 Happy are those whose strength is in you, in whose heart are the highways to Zion.
6 As they go through the valley of Baca they make it a place of springs; the early rain also covers it with pools.
7 They go from strength to strength; the God of gods will be seen in Zion.
8 O Lord God of hosts, hear my prayer; give ear, O God of Jacob!
9 Behold our shield, O God; look on the face of your anointed.
10 For a day in your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere. I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than live in the tents of wickedness.
11 For the Lord God is a sun and shield; he bestows favor and honor. No good thing does the Lord withhold from those who walk uprightly.
12 O Lord of hosts, happy is everyone who trusts in you.

March 29th

I am aware that lots of people that I know have gardens.  In some ways it is a solitary activity, although I certainly remember with great joy working with my family in our garden in South Dakota.  I am not sure that I passed on that opportunity to my own children.  I would ask them to pull weeds sometimes, but mostly I used that as some “alone” time for me.

The Trinity “ Giving Garden” is just the opposite.  It invites us to come together and share in the work and the fun.  All ages were part of Sunday’s soil party.  There is much more work to be done—I hope many more will join in as the months go by.    Planting, weeding, watering, and then harvesting!  Lots of opportunities to work together!

March 28th

The Giving Garden took a huge step forward yesterday as we mixed soil for the boxes after church.  We mixed peat moss, vermiculite and some beautiful black compost to create the perfect soil for our vegetables.  You can see the hard workers and the smiling faces on this website or on Facebook.

I woke up this morning to another reminder that we all live in God’s Garden.  My high school friend who now lives in Dubai, ( United Arab Emirates) sent a Facebook message because she had seen the pictures.  When we can communicate our words and images so quickly just about anywhere on earth—we are reminded of our interconnectedness and that we all live in the same global community.

The tiny tomatoes and bigger squash seeds that the children planted in church three weeks ago have sprouted and soon the weather will warm enough to plant them in the garden.  Sprouting seeds remind me of Jesus saying in John’s Gospel, “Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies it bears much fruit.”( 12:26)  So in order to be fruitful, what things do we need to let go of?  I ask this question in our personal life and in our life together as a faith community.  What needs to die in order for new growth to spring forward?  This is an awesome reminder of the resurrection.  Easter is coming! Alleluia!

Since this blog is really me talking to myself and the rest of you listening in, I must also ask the other question, which is of course, “What are those most important things that we need to hang onto, so that our growth is God’s growth, not some human contrivance?  For me it is God’s Amazing Grace proclaimed in Word and Sacrament for a thirsty world!  What is essential in your faith life?  In our life together?

March 26th

There was a rainbow in the valley just a little while before sunset last night.  From a distance we could see the small rainstorm and there was just enough sunshine to create the sign of God’s promise to us.  God promised to never destroy the world by water again.  For some people in New Orleans or North Dakota or Australia or Japan it must seem like God has not kept this promise.

Floods have many causes the tsunami and the hurricane both bring uncontrollable water. In our area it is too much rain and unseasonably warm weather that melts the snow pack before its time that usually causes our flooding. 

Global warming is causing waters to rise in many places—I think of the Lutherans of Shishmaref, Alaska who have to move their entire village out of the way of rising waters.  We can argue about the causes until it is too late to make any changes OR we can figure out how to decrease our use of carbon based fuels.  It is called “decreasing our carbon footprint.”  Footprint is a good descriptive word for the effects mankind has had on the earth.  We have drastically altered our environment sometimes with disastrous consequences.

Stewardship or care of the earth has huge implications for our futures.  What kind of world are we leaving to our grandchildren or great-grandchildren?  We can disagree about causes and we can argue the political solutions but we need to make changes for the sake of those who come after us.

I took a class at WSU in 1971 about the environment—we studied the inter-relatedness of all the earth systems.  Why did we not pay better attention to what we knew then?  Our lack of action on behalf of God’s creation (garden) we confess to the Lord.  Forgive us gracious God and give us wisdom and courage to change.  Amen.

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