The Garden Church gathered this Sunday to be church as we worked and worshiped and ate together.
People were greeted in the parking lot of a local park, with a “Welcome to the Garden Church!” and handed a trash bag and gloves.
Soon the hill was filled with people with black plastic bags in one hand, bending down and gathering up the litter and debris that was covering the area.
And in what seemed like no time, the area went from a messy dumping ground to a clean slice of nature. I watched as people went from individually picking up trash in various areas, then slowly migrating together to form a trash-collecting cluster of community caring for the earth.
After celebrating how much trash we’d picked up in a short half hour, we washed our hands, grabbed our picnic stuff, and headed over the hill to a grassy spot under a tree.
Our youngest community members helped me to begin our time of worship together by setting out the objects that mark our worship space together. We set out the Word, the bread, the cup, the light, the water, the bell, and the tree of life. As we unwrapped each one we talked about the meaning and the vision for who we are as a church and how God is present amongst us.
As we moved into worship we spent time in silence that our bell ushered us into, finding silence in and amongst the sounds and movement around us. We noticed the wind blowing, the feel of the grass, and how the ocean had places that looked purple in it.
We then shared the story of the Children of Israel and how when they traveled, they set up their tabernacle and we heard the story of the Manna, the bread of life that God gave them in the wilderness. And we talked about what this story means in our community, and our lives.
Which led us into sharing the Sacred Meal, Communion, Holy Supper together, gathered around God’s table and feeding and being fed by each other.
Good to be church together. Let’s do it again soon.