March 31, 2013

"Enlarge the place of your tent, stretch your tent curtains wide, do not hold back; lengthen your cords,
strengthen your stakes." Isaiah 54:2

As we approach the Alaskan season of outdoor delights, those who enjoy fishing and camping might already be planning the first overnight out-of-doors.  How fortunate we are to be offered the marvels of God's creation:  twilight nights, breezes rippling the leaves, jumping salmon, the rustling of animals in the bushes, the beaver busy in the pond.  We have inherited the same moon and stars that Abraham, Isaac and Jacob dwelled under.
Our patriarch's tents were probably temporary shelters of cloth, supported by poles and ropes - a cruder version of the nylon and aluminum tents of today.  The tabernacle, where the Israelites worshiped God before the building of Solomon's Temple, is referred to as the "tent of meeting". Tents continued to have several uses even after the Israelites settled into villages.  The Rechabites continued to dwell in tents (Jer. 35:7) and armies used tents during military campaigns.  More commonly, the term meant "home, or dwelling".
Isaiah 54:3 continues with, "for you will spread out to the right and to the left; your descendants will dispossess nations and settle in their desolate cities."   I want to think that by opening our tent curtains wide, not holding back, and being firm in our faith means to bring Christ to our neighbors, our communities, our world.  Our homes are to be dwellings not just for our comfort and safety, but places of truth and peace, shedding the light of the glory of God through our windows and out our doors.

This afternoon, Easter Sunday, as the sun streams through my windows on Lisburne Avenue, I am inspired to reflect that brightness.  I am reminded that the Psalmist tells us, "Shouts of joy and victory resound in the tents of the righteous; the Lord's right hand has done mighty things!" 


March 16, 2013

Becoming a Master Gardener Part 1

I have been a gardener my entire life. My earliest garden memory is of climbing our backyard vine-engulfed redwood fence. The neighbor's trees hung over into our yard, offering a canopy of shade on blistering days. Shrubs pushed through the weathered slats, reaching out in friendship into our small space. I explored the world as a four year old might: pulling up grass to investigate roots, picking flowers and removing the petals, and later, at a new home in another town, making chains of small white daisies that grew in the meadow next door. And soil! What a wonderful medium for fun! I was dressed in play clothes especially chosen for a child's disregard of dirt. Of course I did not know it, but I was learning art and design, physics, chemistry and architecture. In my play there was constant exploration, observation and discovery. As I "unearthed" my world, I grew with the sounds, sights, smells and feel of the living plant world. I look back upon my green awakening, knowing that it has stayed with me my entire life and am thankful my parents allowed me such freedom to imagine and dream and create.