May 15, 2024 – The Growing Season

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At the risk of this sounding like a humble brag (or just a brag), my vegetable garden is planted. The timing of my daughter’s birth last year made garden work difficult, and I was happy to find the time, energy, and clear weather days to get it done in a timely manner this time around. Will I be able to keep up its maintenance? Will the weather provide the right mix of rain and sun? Will the animals get to the harvest before I do? Who can say? But it has been good to be out doing a bit of sowing before handing things over to the Master Gardener. (In other words, no guarantees this works out.)

The growing season each year is long-awaited in Vermont. Whether we tend gardens of our own, watch our neighbors tend theirs, or simply enjoy the budding and leafing all around, late spring can feel like a giant exhale. Ah! We’ve made it through. Folks are out and about again; we get to see one another at farmers markets, sports games, creemee stands, and—of course—the Clutter Barn. Just as leaves and flowers open toward the sun, many of us are nourished during this season that brings us back in touch with each other and the natural world.

We have a few special Sundays coming up (this week is Pentecost—wear your red to church!), but very soon, we’ll return to the liturgical season of known as “ordinary time.” Appropriately, the color for this long season is green. For in the time that follows Pentecost (which maps to the growing season in the Northern Hemisphere), we are invited to grow in our faith through connection to the life of Christ. 

The Sunday scriptures will jump back in time, taking us to pre-Easter days of Jesus teaching, healing, working miracles, and telling his often confused followers the honest-to-God truth of it all. The stories might be familiar, but we—having made it through another year—may hear them differently. Maybe the ground is more fertile this year. Maybe the weeds have gotten the upper hand and we’re ready to dig in and uproot. Maybe we’ll be surprised at what blooms—something other than what we planted! All things are possible if we’re open to the blessings and challenges of the growing season.

“This is what God’s kingdom is like,” Jesus says in Mark’s Gospel. “It’s as though someone scatters seed on the ground, then sleeps and wakes night and day. The seed sprouts and grows, but the farmer doesn’t know how. The earth produces crops all by itself…whenever the crop is ready, the farmer goes out to cut the grain because it’s harvesttime.” (4:26-29)

In my very amateur gardening experience, and slightly more seasoned life experience, this holds up. We can sow and we can reap; we can even tend the garden diligently (it usually helps). But whether we’re looking to grow vegetables or fruit of the spirit, the miracle of growth happens in God’s good time. 

I pray a heavenly yield for us all in this year’s growing season.

Pastor Jen