The Hope of the World is Us

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The President of the United States is currently weighing whether or not to withdraw our nation from the Paris climate accord. Political leaders within our country are skeptical about the science behind climate change and its causes.  One congressman said this past week: “As a Christian, I believe that there is a creator in God who is much bigger than us.  And I’m confident that, if there’s a real problem, he can take care of it.”

I’m a Christian, too.  And I think God has placed this problem squarely in our laps.

For the last five or six months I have been blogging fairly infrequently, because I’ve been working hard to put into words why it is important for people of faith to care about what is happening to our planet.  My new book, All Earth Is Waiting, will come out this fall along with a daily devotional for the season of Advent. I’ve spent countless hours pouring over the scriptures and asking how we are called to live as disciples of Jesus Christ in the world today.

One of the primary scriptures for the book is from Paul’s letter to the Romans.  In chapter 8, we find these words:

The whole creation waits breathless with anticipation for the revelation of God’s sons and daughters.  Creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice – it was the choice of the one who subjected it – but in the hope that the creation itself will be set free from slavery to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of God’s children.

The earth is waiting for us to let go of our selfish ways and begin acting like the children of God. It is waiting for us to hold in our hearts a vision of an interconnected world and to remember that every part of this planet tells of God’s goodness. It is waiting for us to see the sacred worth of the elements, the flora, and the fauna; to live gently as stewards and protectors. The life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ is the source of our hope and it has and will transform our lives.  But once it does, we are supposed to truly live as God’s children. Paul reminds us in this passage the world is waiting for us. Only then will creation be set free.

 

Because they didn’t let me give up…

While I was on vacation with my family these past few weeks, we had quite a few trials and tribulations to undertake.

First of all, there was the struggles with health that might have prevented some of us from even going.  But with a lot of prayer and new ideas from doctors and a perseverence to keep going, almost all of the Pickens clan made it to Hawaii. Continued prayers are needed for my cousin Steven and his family as now they return back to reality and try to find a solution that will help him to get back to a new normal with his platelet levels.

A more humorous adventure was when my husband and brother decided to tackle the biggest omelet I have ever seen: the Moose Omelete at Moose McGillicudy’s. This thing has 12 eggs, bacon, sausage, onions, red peppers, potatoes, mushrooms and, I swear, a whole block of cheese. I was there to document the whole thing and to act as a cheerleader.  If they ate the whole thing, they would get their names on the wall and a free t-shirt.  If they didn’t – they had breakfast to take home for the next three days!
The boys each got about half way through their respective omelets.  All of my encouragement couldn’t have got them through it.  They’ll just have to train their stomach’s for next time!
A day later, we had a completely different kind of endurance test.  We decided to hike Koko Head Crater.

Now, we had hiked Diamond Head Crater before this.  That hike is about 30 minutes to the top and is a pretty long path that winds around on the inside of the crater.  The hard part is a series of 99 steps into a bunker and then a spiral staircase that takes you up two stories.  But that, pshaw, that was a piece of cake compared to Koko Head.
On Koko Head, you climb the outside of the crater.  We followed an old railroad line that was probably used to haul carts of supplies to the top where a bunker was and back down again.  But now – now it is a long, steep, straight climb.
I kind of thought I was in shape… or at least not out of shape.  But I got to the first of maybe 15 electric poles running up the side of the trail and I was winded.  I set my pace and shot for two more poles, and I was beat. 
I literally gave up twice on the hike up.  I thought I was going to puke or faint or some combination of the two and I just couldn’t go any farther.  But my brother and husband kept me going.  They didn’t let me give up and instead put me in front so that they could keep encouraging me from behind.  And I made it – all the way to the top – which was one of the most amazing things I have done in my life.

Becoming Disciples through: Gifts

Over the past two weeks we have explored how we support the ministries of Christ’s church through our prayers and our presence.

We live as children of God and sheep of Christ’s flock, by staying connected to our loving parent God and filling ourselves with the Spirit through prayer. Remember that deep breathing – deep praying we need to do?

And we remain connected to the vine and we are nourished for this task through our presence in this community. When we start to get disconnected from one another, the leaves wither and the fruit fades. And it’s hard to get good ministry for Christ’s church out of dead branches.

Today, we remember that we are not only given power and energy through God, like empty vessels for the Spirit to flow through, but we have also been blessed with gifts to share. We have been given temporary ownership over resources and skills and abilities – not so that we can further our own aims, but so that we can further God’s.

In fact, that is why in Malachi there is such a strong condemnation! “You are robbing me!” God says… “in your tithes and offerings! Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in my house… see if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you an overflowing blessing.”

A portion of what we already have belongs to God, it is meant for God’s ministry. We have been blessed so that we can be a blessing.

We may forget this occasionally – but in many ways the purpose of the tithe and the offering were not so much about having to sacrifice something to God, but about obedience to God’s commands. God’s command to love our neighbors are born out in the giving back of our gifts – because the temple and later the churches used that money and grain and meat to feed and clothe the priests and to give to the poor. Yes, a portion is used as a part of the ritual, a portion is burned in the case of the temple sacrifices, but the remainder is meant for the community – it is meant for the ministry of God in the world.

Today when we talk about gifts in the church, we aren’t talking about cereal and flesh offerings: bread and meat… but we are talking about spiritual gifts and that dreaded word: money.

And the purpose of these gifts is the same as those given in the temple. We are given much in order that we might be a part of furthering God’s kingdom.

But I firmly believe that in both cases – both in the things that we can do and the monetary blessings we have received – we underestimate and we under appreciate our gifts.

Those two themes – underestimation and under appreciation really struck me when I came across a video on YouTube a little over a month ago. Now, some of you may have seen or heard the story of Susan Boyle before, but I believe it is such a powerful moment, that it’s worth viewing over and over again.

(introduce and watch video of Susan Boyle)

Under-estimation and under appreciation.

When Susan walked out on that stage – everyone underestimated what she could do, what her gifts were. And I would also venture to guess that she probably underestimated herself. The immense joy that came across her face when the judges all three said “yes” she would be going on was AMAZING!

Stored up inside of her, for all of those years were these powerful notes and emotive lyrics, and no one took them seriously. Yeah, you want to be a singer… okay. Whatever.

It wasn’t until she was given the chance to share her gifts that anyone – including herself – realized what a blessing she had received or what it could do to change the world.

In the aftermath of that performance, she has caused millions of people around the world to take a second look at their preconceptions and to give someone a chance – that is the gift that God has given us through Susan Boyle.

In our own lives, we too underestimate the power of our gifts and what we actually have to give.

Reading Malachi this week and hearing the call to bring the full tithe into the storehouse… it was powerful and convicting in my life and helped me to remember Wesley’s old adage: Earn all you can, Save all you can, give all you can.

You see, Wesley was in ministry among the poor at the beginning of the Methodist Movement. He was preaching out in the fields and in graveyards to miners and anyone else who would come near. And there was practically no money to support their ministry.

But as Wesley began preaching about money – about how we need to have a strong work ethic and earn all that we possibly can – but that we also need to be frugal with our money and save all that we can – people began to listen.

The most surprising thing happened when the miners and field workers stopped buying the things they didn’t need like hard alcohol and fancy clothes and jewelry – all of those things that made them try to appear wealthy… When they started to cut back on luxuries and to live a simpler life… the Methodists went from a movement of the poor, to a movement of the middle class. They gave and gave generously to the work of the Spirit in the movement – to their class meetings and to the society – but they found that they also had a bit left over for themselves…

“see if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you an overflowing blessing. I will rebuke the locust for you, so that it will not destroy the produce of your soil; and your vine in the field shall not be barren, says the Lord of hosts.”

We hear the encouragement to be generous too in Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians. He tells us about the churches of Macedonia. In a time of severe affliction, he writes, their abundant joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part… they voluntarily gave according to their means, and even beyond their means, BEGGING us for the privledge of sharing in this ministry to the saints.

Now there is a church that didn’t underestimate the power of their gifts. They knew that they could make a difference, they knew that they were called to make a difference, and they wanted to be a part of it.

I want to invite you to experience what the joy of the Macedonians is like. I am going to need a few volunteers to come forward… as many as we have, but not more than 5.

(give them the charge with the $20)

I firmly believe that love can conquer all. I firmly believe that God’s grace conquers all. And in 1 John, we are reminded that our faith and trust in what God will do with our gifts will conquer the world. John writes that “the love of God is this, that we obey his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome, for whatever is born of God conquers the world.”

These $20 bills can conquer a portion of the world. They are a gift from God – and I can’t wait to see what fruit is born for mission. I pray that you will not find this a burden – but like the Macedonians that your abundant joy and this meager sum might overflow into a wealth of generosity.

That second theme in relationship to our gifts is underappreciation. In the case of Susan Boyle – many people had heard her sing in the past. In fact, you can now find some of her old performances that are posted on YouTube. And she was just as amazing then as she is now!

But no one stopped to appreciate and to celebrate what she had done, to share in the joy of the blessing she could be to the world.

I think that is why our passage from 2 Corinthians is so important. Because Paul took the time to thank and appreciate the Macedonians for what they had given. We have no idea of how much they gave, or what they gave – simply that they gave. And simply for giving, we need to appreciate one another.

I think this is why the commandment to love is without burden. Because when we love others, it is because we were first loved. And in return for the love we give, we are filled up with love in return. It is a circle that keeps growing and expanding because it continues to be replenished and returned.

But sometimes when we offer our gifts in the world, those gifts are not appreciated and our giving becomes burdensome.

In Ephesians, we find a list of gifts that God has given us through the Spirit in order to build up the body of Christ:

Some are called to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers… in other places we find other gifts mentioned: leadership, speaking in tongues, those who can give money, care givers.

We each have a gift that we have been blessed with and when all of our gifts work together according to God’s good will – then the saints are equipped for the work of ministry, the body of Christ is built up and all of us become unified in our faith.

When they all work together.

But you know what – it’s hard to be the hands of Christ giving out soup cans at the food bank if no one ever says thank you. It’s hard to be the mouth of Christ teaching and demonstrating God’s love when no one is paying attention. It’s hard to be the feet of Christ standing at the kitchen sink washing dishes if no one values what you do.

Because when we give our gifts and no one cares, we start to doubt if we are making a difference. We get burned out because we are continually giving and we are not being replenished.

As a church, as the Body of Christ working together, we need to thank one another when we give of ourselves… we need to encourage one another to keep with it, and affirm that there are gifts present that are shining forth. But what we also need to do is to let others affirm the gifts that are within ourselves.

Maybe there is something that you have not given back to the ministry of Christ for years because you got burned out long ago. Maybe there is something that you are afraid to share with the church because you don’t want to be taken advantage of, or don’t think you have the time or energy.

Know – that I am stating today and I hope that you are all with me on this – that we will take the time to celebrate the gifts that you share with us. We will take the time to affirm what you have given to us. Because it is good. Because it is important. And because through Christ, our gifts will transform the world. Amen.

The Very First Dawson Garden


My first vegetable garden has officially been planted!!!

I’m following some square foot gardening principles, although I didn’t build a box or put 6 inches of dirt on top of the dirt that is already there. And my squares are 2×2…

Farthest back on the left is carrots. Then in the next square is lettuce and some banana pepper plants. More banana peppers in the third square, then tomatoes in the final 1 1/2.

On the right side, the first half square is empty and the other half is turnips. Then I’ve got a full square of cucumbers. Next is 1/2 square yellow squash, 1/2 square zucchini. And finally the last square and a half are green peppers.

It’s not a huge assortment, but it’s a start. I might pick up some seeds for the other 1/2 square later.

Composting

I’m a little scared of composting. I have heard from countless places that it doesn’t take that much work, that it doesn’t really smell, but I’m still a little hesitant to get started. Well, that and I’m lazy.

I found this article today though on composting and it seems simple enough that even I might be able to try it!

(from journeytoforever.org)

Think small
Composters (including us) advise gardeners to use bins or boxes with a capacity of at least 10 cubic feet: that’s equivalent to a 24×24-inch box 30″ high, or a 24″-diameter tub 36″ high.

These are too big for a household with no garden, and therefore no supply of garden wastes. So what is the minimum bulk?

We’ve made hot compost in a 10-gallon box rather than 10 cubic feet — only one-sixth as much. Filled all at once, it got very hot, and was ready in two weeks. It’s a bit different when the ingredients come in dribs and drabs instead of all at once, as they do from a kitchen, but you can make successful compost in a small container.

Actually you’ll need two containers — when the first one’s full and processing, you start filling the second one, and by the time that’s full, the compost in the first one’s ready for use and can be emptied out.

A smallish (10-20 gallons) plastic or galvanized iron garbage can with a lid will do. Drill 10 or 12 holes in the bottom with a 3/8-inch bit, find a tray to stand it in, and put a couple of 1/2-inch slats under it for aeration.

A 15x15x15-inch wooden box made of 1/2-inch ply (untreated) will also do well. So will a 20x20x20-inch box. Again, drill holes in the bottom and stand it in a tray with slats under it to allow an air supply, and put a hinged lid on it. Treat it inside and out with vegetable oil.

Filling the bin
Use uncooked fruit and vegetables, no meat, fish, dairy, or oils — at least at first. Once you’re more experienced you can decide this for yourself.

By themselves, kitchen scraps are too wet to compost — the moisture content averages 85%, and compost should be not more than 65%. So you need dry bedding to mix it with. This can be straw, dead leaves, strips of newspaper (avoid colored inks and glossy paper), cardboard or cartons, sphagnum peat moss, coconut coir, or a mixture. You can also use some sawdust (from non-treated wood) — mix it with other bedding materials. Keep a bucket of bedding handy by your bin. Also keep a coffee-tin full of ordinary soil next to the bucket, and some wood ash is useful.

First, put a few inches of dry bedding in the bottom of the container. Scatter the daily supply of kitchen scraps on top, and cover the scraps with about the same amount of bedding, or a little more. Scatter some soil on top, and a little lime or wood ash. Keep going until it’s full.

Mix the contents up every couple of weeks with a compost poker or compost aerator: buy one, or improvise.

If I did this, I would probably buy two garbage pails with lids about 10gal each. I’d shred my newspapers for help with the dry bedding and use leaves. Coffee-tin full of soil is no big deal. Then, I can take whatever scraps I have from cooking out to the bin, drop in some bedding, put the scraps in, add more bedding, top with soil. I probably won’t be doing this inside, but I definately could do it on our back porch. It sounds easy enough!!!

soil conservation

This morning, I preached a sermon on soil conservation.

Yah, it may seem like a strange topic – and definately not in line with any lectionary passages or a sermon series.

But this spring, I auctioned off a sermon during our youth fundraiser. And the winning bidder got to choose the topic or scripture for an upcoming sermon. Hence, the topic.

What I was blessed with was the resources this congregation member passed along. I learned all about the National Association of Conservation Districts and recieved their amazing church resource packet.

Because of a series we are starting next week on what it means to belong to the body of Christ, this was the weekened I chose to preach on the topic – but Stewardship Week actually kicks off NEXT Sunday – so I want to pass along the site for any who might be interested! HERE

For our worship, I talked about what it is that makes good soil – both in the earth that surrounds us, but also in more metaphorical terms, what makes good soil for our faith to grow in. Using some of Gary Gunderson’s congregational strengths from “Deeply Woven Roots” I lifted up four necessities.

1) Good soil needs roots… both to protect the soil from erosion and also as the tradition and scriptures and stories that ground us in our past.

2) Good soil must be abundant and have a common purpose… a clump of dirt can’t grow the planet’s food and neither can individual Christians reach out and embody God’s will in the world – but together, we can bear fruit.

3) Good soil must be alive… filled with minerals and living organisms and water and soil and air – it is the diversity that makes life able to survive. And our body of Christ requires all of us working together, with our unique gifts to bring to life the word of God in our world.

4) Good soil must be nourished by nutrients and water… without these things, the soil would be dead and worthless, unable to produce abundance. And as people of faith, we need the refreshing power of the Holy Spirit, the waters of baptism, the bread of new life and to live in the Word of God in order to do God’s will.

Good Dirt

(a sermon for Earth Day, Stewardship Week, and in response to a youth auctioned sermon on the theme “soil conservation”)

It seems like everyone and their brother is talking about “going green” these days. We can buy “green” organic food at the Big G. We can get rebates and incentives for buying “green” appliances and lightbulbs for our homes. “Green” cars are now a commonplace site, even on the streets of Marengo. With all of this recent emphasis in the world on the environment, you might get the impression that this protecting the Earth idea is a new one. But it’s not. From the very beginning of time – in fact, from the first pages of our bible, care for this world that we live in has been the core of our Christian tradition.

We already heard the familiar story of the creation with our kids this morning. This world was made by our God – and God declared it good. And then, that very same God formed us from the dust of the earth and gave to us a precious task… to care for the world God had made. From the ancient Israelites to the early followers of Christ, caring for the Earth was an important means of offering thanks and praise to God.

The General Board of Church and Society for the United Methodist Church has put out some wonderful resources for churches to us as we celebrate God’s Creation. They remind us that the “ancestors of our faith lived amid cultures that worshipped many different gods who were thought to control all aspects of nature, from fertility of the land to ferocity of the seas. Communities celebrated local gods that tended to their own particular climate systems and conditions.

But as the Ancient Israelites moved throughout the land, they encountered many climates, many different communities and religions. And as they saw the connections between all of those different environments, they began to realize that “the natural world was controlled not by many competing gods, but by one God who could be revealed through the unity of nature.”

“Along with their insights about God, the Ancient Israelites observed the ways in which interdependent systems work well when they are cared for and fail when they are damaged or neglected. In response to their understanding of God and the natural world, they created an ethos for living in healthy relationship with God, the Earth, and one another. People of the church today often refer to this ethos as ‘stewardship.’”

In the wider world, stewardship of the earth is also seen as just good old common sense. In fact, the National Association of Conservation Districts has established a National Stewardship Week – this year beginning on April 26th – in order to celebrate and remember the importance of protecting our natural resources.

According to the NACD resources, many people believe that had farmers and landowners “chosen to band together and implement proper agricultural practices, demonstrating good land stewardship, the devastation of the Dust Bowl in the 1930’s could have been somewhat diminished. The good news is that Americans have learned from the past, and since the 30’s there have been severe droughts, but the same devastation has not been repeated because good stewardship practices have been taught, learned and implemented on the land.”

The goal is good soil. And good soil isn’t just something that farmers and gardeners care about. Soil makes our lives possible. How many of you slept on soil last night? Well, where do you live? What is your home built on?

How many of you are wearing soil today? Cotton grows in soil! Just check the label on your clothing.

What about eating soil? Just think about all of the foods that you have eaten this week that were grown in the soil, or medicines that were taken from the ground, or water that we have drank that has flowed through and been cleansed by the soil.

When the Ancient Israelites noticed that everything in this world is interdependent, this is what they are talking about. The dirt and the air and the sun and plant life and our lives are all interconnected and this beautiful system God created works – as long as we take care of it.

Jesus knew this too – and he used many parables that talked about the earth because they are grounded and real. Everyone can touch the ground and feel the dirt between their fingers or toes. Everyone knows what Jesus was talking about when he talked about the soil.

Our challenge is to figure out what it means to protect the soil and make it good. And in doing so – we might learn a little bit about what it means for this little plot of ground that is our church to also be good soil – ground in which we all can put down deep roots to grow and produce fruit.

First: good soil needs to be protected by roots (strength to tell stories)

This is the number one thing that we can learn from the Dust Bowl. With all of the vegetation stripped away due to the drought, and without roots to hold the earth in place, the wind blew away an estimated 850 million tons of topsoil in the Southern Plains alone. Roots hold the soil together and help prevent erosion and they also loosen up the soil so that oxygen can filter through the ground.

Basically, roots are like fingers. They dig down deep into the ground and give the earth the support it needs.

In the church – we need roots too. Without roots, we will be tossed to and fro by the winds of change and the latest fad. But we have plenty of things within our tradition that ground us and help us to find the stability we need. In the United Methodist tradition, we especially think of four deep running roots: the scriptures, the tradition of the church, well-thought reasoning, and the experiences of the saints. As we gather together and share all of these stories, we find ourselves firmly rooted in the past, and yet also able to grow and mature into our future.

Second: good soil must be abundant and unified (strength to accompany, convene)

This is not something that we often think about, but one little clump of dirt can hardly do much. All by itself, that clump of dirt would become dry and would not have the room for anything to take root within it.

But when one clump of dirt is surrounded by millions of other little dirt particles, then, it is something to be reckoned with! We know that the outermost layer of our planet is soil… but did you know that five tons of topsoil spread out over an acre of land would only be as thick as a dime? We need soil and lots of it to have abundant life.

In the same way, Christians can’t go it alone in the world. We need one another to help us create abundant life. That is the message that we get from so many of our scripture readings from this morning. In Acts especially – it was when the believers came together, with one heart and one soul sharing what they needed that tremendous fruit came forth.

While this may sound cliché – people need people. We were created to be in relationship with others. And as the church, we are invited to walk along with others through the difficult and the joyous situations in their lives. We accompany one another through times of illness, injury, death, birth, marriage, loss of jobs, and marital problems… and together – together – we can have life and life abundant.

Third: good soil is alive (strength to bless)
We think about dirt as dead matter, but in reality it is organic – full of both living and dead organisms. Fungi and bacteria help break down matter into soil and animals such as earth worms churn and nurture the earth. Without all of that living and breathing of the soil – life as we know it would cease.

In the same way, our congregations are alive and they are living and breathing things. In a world that is so damning and critical, the church is a place of blessing and acceptance for all. The diversity of silt and clay and minerals within the ground all have a purpose, and within the church, we can only be the living body of Christ if we affirm the gifts that every single one of us bring to the table. Some of us are teachers, some of us are prophets, some of us are evangelists – and all of us are needed within the body.

Fourth: good soil needs nutrients and moisture ( strength to connect – sharing resources)

Good soil cannot give life to plants without being full of nutrients and minerals and moisture. In fact, 25% of our soil is water, while only 5% is organic matter… which means that it has a lot to give to thirsty plants and hungry critters. But when the waters dry up and the nutrients are taken out of the soil, then the ground is not good for growth. Just ask any farmer who employs crop rotation in order to keep vital nitrates in the soil!

Our church too needs to be filled up before it can be poured out. The Holy Spirit brings us the refreshing waters of new life through baptism. We are fed by the bread of heaven and the cup of salvation – grain and grapes from the land. We are nourished by the Word of God. And as we find ourselves blessed and strengthened, we can share of our abundance with the world. The church has the ability to bring together the resources of our communities and peoples to help life to come forth out of the darkest places in people’s lives.

tuesday thoughts

I’ve been posting every Tuesday over at revgals – and realized that I’m not really posting much here on my OWN blog =) so. I’m going to post my reflections here, and then link from there back over. woot!

I’m doing a series right now on Wesley’s General Rules, or as Reuben Job likes to call them “Three Simple Rules”

Do No Harm
Do Good
Stay in Love With God

Last week, (readings here) do no harm and Paul’s struggle to keep from doing those things that he so doesn’t want to do. I’m mostly going to focus on the last part of the romans passage however… “who will deliver me fom this body of death? I thank God – through Jesus Christ our Lord”

I’m going to tie that in with the Matthew scripture. We struggle and we wrestle and on our own spend so much time focusing on all the bad things that we have done and continue to do in our life. And Wesley’s “do no harm” rule seems like this all over again. But we need to be reminded that Christ himself promised he would teach us. “take my yoke upon you and learm from Me, for I am gentle and lwly in heart and you will find rest for your souls.” so stop beating yourself up over not doing the good. walk with me, become my apprentice, cease from doing harm, and lay aside that burden of guilt.

we don’t cease to do harm because it is a law – we do it because we love Christ and want to become more like him… and we will find when we do so that his yoke is easy and his burden is light

This is week two of the series: Do Good and this week’s parable of the sower actually fits really well! (readings here)

I’m going to talk about what we have to do in our lives to become “good soil” – and that is WORK! the soil needs tilled, weeded, watered, cared for, and it doesn’t happen all on its own. While we can sit around and just wait for the holy spirit to plant seeds, if we just sit on the path and don’t take any risks, if we are surrounded by rocks (i’m going to interpret this part as those who are in families/communities where faith isn’t welcome… such as the kids who come to vbs, get all excited, and then go back to homes where their families don’t take them to church), if we let the cares of the world – weeds – crowd out God… then the seed of love will have a harder time being planted.

Wesley wanted his flock to “do good” and by that he meant an active good – caring for people’s bodies and souls and as a part of that, helping one another in the community of faith. Wesley liked to fill his time with such good deeds – not so much to earn God’s love, but because he loved God…

I am trying to tend my new garden… and it takes a lot of work – far more time that I thought it would… just think about how much work it takes to tend our souls!