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Garden Dedication – Second Sunday after Easter

  • Posted on Apr 19, 2009

Oh, how good and pleasant it is, * when brethren live together in unity. Psalm 133:1

Today we dedicated our Lafayette Avenue garden. Many years ago, Memorialites Frank and Lottie Shivers were instrumental in making that area a green space and not just a concrete sidewalk. Since then, the garden has had many loving caretakers. Two years ago, Peter Dunn and Louise Toby–both landscape architects–had a vision of what the garden could be. When Jose Lamdin, Denis’ mother, died last year, Denis asked if there were a project at the church which could be a memorial to his parents. Peter and Louise’s garden became a reality.

It wasn’t as easy as we thought. When we began to anticipate the digging, we realized that now would be the time to take care of the drainage problem in the undercroft. The old nursery space had always leaked in that one corner. My guess is that it has leaked from the moment that the dirt basement was dug out for office space decades ago. More funds needed to be raised to dig down and place new drainage pipes. Peter went to work…and mission accomplished. The mass of electrical wires and pipes running through the garden rivaled our spaghetti junction during the renovation. Peter and Louise remained calm and steady.

Before long, the underground mechanics gave way to plantings, a memorial fountain, and a beautiful wooden bench. As we gathered to bless the space today at the end of the service, it is amazing how projects come together in God’s time. With our musical stage up and confirmation this afternoon, our community does find a myriad of ways to live together in unity and welcome. And more gardening has taken place. The Rite 13 class along with Dale Balfour and Pam Garrettson have planted a native plant garden in the Rectory garden. We hope to have a summer coffee hour out there soon.

In all of this, I wonder where we each will meet Jesus this Eastertide. You never know where Jesus might turn up–in the garden, on the stage or in the audience of our musical, in a conversation over dinner after confirmation. Jesus is among us. Especially when we find ways to live together in unity.

Here’s the blessing that I used at the garden ceremony–I’ve adapted it from Jennifer Heckart’s prayer We See a Gardener in Women’s Uncommon Prayers:

Risen Lord, so often encountered, so seldom recognized, you meet us in the garden of our hearts, on the lonely roads of our lives, our empty beaches (or benches!), and greet us. But in our blindness, we mistake you for someone else. Through our tears, we see a gardener; in our weariness and wariness, a stranger. But you call us back to ourselves. Forgive us our heard-heatedness, our lack of understanding. Open our eyes and our ears to you, wherever you are found, and give us grace to love you with abandon, to throw ourselves into your service, as Mary threw herself at your feet, as Peter threw himself into the sea. AMEN.

Look for Jesus this week–he may appear in a place where you least expect him to appear!