“The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad,
the desert shall rejoice and blossom;
like the crocus it shall blossom abundantly,
and rejoice with joy and singing.”
The term “food desert” describes areas where healthy, affordable food is hard to come by. One of our adult Sunday School classes talked about this recently, and we looked at some of the down in the dirt ways people are trying to address the situation. Food deserts exist in urban areas as well as rural areas. Not far from us the Conetoe Family Life Center is working to grow healthy young people and a healthy community as it grows and distributes healthy food.
It occurred to us that there are many other kinds of deserts as well. Within walking distance of the building our congregation calls home, we have identified a “music desert” and a “reading desert,” and there are certainly others. In a music desert people don’t hear much enriching music, and they seldom attempt to make music. It is all left to professionals. In a reading desert there is little storytelling or reading, and few books around to stimulate minds through words and good art.
Isaiah 35 reminds us that God can make the driest desert blossom, and God can make a way through where there seems to be no way. God has the greatest green thumb of all. Our little flock is participating in what God is doing to help our community flower. Every week one of our oldest members leads a group that makes music flower at a local nursing home. We also enjoy making music with some of God’s youngest children through gatherings called Music for Little Friends, to help their minds, hearts, and souls develop. We will soon place a third Little Library somewhere in the churchyard. The first two are in nearby neighborhoods, and there is a weekly story time at Little Library 2. We are looking for creative ways to encourage children and families to use the libraries and read together. In these and other ways we are trying to garden with God.
Sometimes the small things we do seem so very small and inconsequential, and we worry about how our ministry can be sustained long term. We need our divine Gardener to creatively cultivate us. Yet even the smallest flowers are exquisitely beautiful, like a crocus. In God’s eyes they are, at any rate.
Readers, our prayers are with you for flourishing where you are in God’s gardening scheme. And we appreciate yours for us as we plant our seeds with hope and longing for something beautiful from God in the future.