Thursday, September 27, 2012

Vision, Faith, Abundance

This picture

highlights the abundance at the Free Farm that I’ve been wanting to write about recently.

I’ve also been wanting to write about this passage from the Gospel of Mark for a while now.

“He also said, ‘This is what the kingdom of God is like. A man scatters seed on the ground. Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how. All by itself the soil produces grain--first the stalk, then the head, then the full kernel in the head. As soon as the grain is ripe, he puts the sickle to it, because the harvest has come.’"

So here’s my chance to do both.

This scripture shows us a pretty wild vision of the kingdom.  Usually, in similar stories, we see the sower as God or maybe Jesus.  How wild is that?  God out scattering seed without taking any kind of control over how it sprouts - whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed does its thing.  God scattering seed and watching it grow and not understanding how it all works.  What kind of faith does that show?  God happy to take in the harvest, joyful over what has been given even is God doesn’t know exactly how it came to be.  It gives us a pretty different idea of God that what is usually preached.

Tree and the other good folks who run the Free Farm are not like the God represented in the passage I quoted in that they do know just what they’re doing.  This kind of plant will flourish best in this location, here’s how you harden off a seedling that’s been in the green house to get it ready for planting outside, this is how to make the best compost.  And everything is well planned at the Free Farm, this plant will go in this bed, here’s where we need more irrigation, time to take down the beans because we’re done harvesting them and we can put something else there now.  Unlike the God of this passage, Tree can tell you exactly how a seed sprouts and grows.  Unlike the harvest in the passage, the produce of the Free Farm does flourish under the abundant care of our many volunteers, not regardless of whether they sleep in or come to the Free Farm on workdays.

And all that knowledge and care results in the kind of abundance seedlings in front of Pancho in that first picture represent.  Abundance that goes to feed people in need who otherwise have limited or no access to good, fresh produce. 

But there is some faith involved too.  The faith of the folks who started the Free Farm that an old abandoned and littered lot that even after cleaning up looked like this:

could one day look like this:

Faith that each Wednesday and Saturday we can get enough volunteers out to do all the work required to get those seeds from sprout to harvest.  Faith that we can find someone each workday to bring the vegan lunch we always serve to our volunteers.  And, these days, faith that we can find another parcel of land equally as suitable to the Free Farm’s needs when we have to move in a few years to make way for development.

So come out some Wednesday or Saturday from 10 a.m. until 2p.m. and help us keep the faith.  We’ve got plenty of friendly people to show you around and a good lunch to share.  Chances are we’ve got a task or two suited to your ability level.  But best of all you’ll have a chance to help us grow some faith that as wild and wonderful a vision as the Free Farm can have a viable place in San Francisco. 

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