Gardening is as much of a relaxing, lifegiving experience, as it is a testament to the beauty of God’s creation. God designed the plants, trees, and grasses, and it all started in the Garden of Eden. In Genesis 1:11-12, we read “Then God said, “Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds.” And it was so. The land produced vegetation: plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good.”
One of the many good things found in gardening is that it connects us to the wonder of creation, the beauty of life, the gifts of each season, and the natural world. There are spiritual lessons we can learn from the blossoming gardens that benefit us. In a garden, when we have given our seed fertile soil, water, sunlight, and air, we know we have done our best. How the plant grows then is not in our hands. It is in the hands of God.
The plants and trees cannot move or act on their own. They cannot talk, so they cannot ask for what they want. They cannot walk, so they cannot go out on their own to get what they need. They are planted in one place with no ability to communicate or move. Whether they are in a tended garden or out in the wild, God has provided for them for ages. From the book of Jeremiah 17:7-8, “But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.”
It is obvious that God has a fondness for dirt. Along with plants, trees, and grasses, humanity was created from the soil. We all depend on the soil. No wonder, then, that God takes Adam into the garden and says, in effect, take care of this delightful place. Till the dirt. Protect it. Your life and the life of all the creatures you have just seen me make depend on it. The original commission of humanity was to care for the garden. In the garden there was peace, nourishment for body and soul, and most importantly the trust and love of the creator.
St. Bartholomew’s Garden began in 2018 when our members decided that part of their ministry would be to do all they could to help those who need food. St. Bartholomew’s has dedicated the last Saturday of each month to food drives that support OASIS, shelter for women and children in Paterson. The congregation wanted to expand their food donations to include fresh vegetables.
The 2018 garden was a first effort that produced a large crop of tomatoes, kale, carrots, several herbs, and other vegetables. We have continued each year to plant and care for fresh vegetables that we share with those in need.
The community garden leaders Ghada Harb, Judy Malhotra, Lisa Wysession, and Joan Lupardo believe that involving the community with the garden through participation, education on the benefits of organic gardening and fellowship with neighbors will provide positive experiences. Our latest issue of the Farm Report shares tips and recipes to help people learn about the benefits of fresh vegetables.
If you would like to know more about our garden email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 201-444-5025.