Memories that Create Sacred Space.

This afternoon Tom and I head to Australia to celebrate my mother’s 90th birthday. I have never looked forward to a trip with so much excitement and anticipation. Part of my excitement has been fueled by the memories book I have compiled for her. I know she will be delighted, but what has surprised me is my own reaction. I have loved sharing with my friends, even posted the shutterfly link on Facebook.

Mum’s family boat

Mum - early family photo

Mum – early family photo

The photos go right back to mother’s childhood.

Myself with brothers Nick, Rod and Greg

Myself with brothers Nick, Rod and Greg

Mum and Dad with myself and brothers Nick and Rod

Mum and Dad with myself and brothers Nick and Rod

They embrace my own childhood.

Aroney family wedding

Aroney family wedding

And they include photos of all my brothers and their families.

Myself age 9

Myself age 9

And of course there is my signature photo on Facebook

So why has it been important for me to share? Partly I think because this is a part of my past that few people know much about. It is 30 years since I lived in Australia. Most of my friends have never met my family. Yet they are an important part of who I am. Without them I am not whole. They draw me close to my family, to the friends with whom I share and to the God who has created all of us.

Family memories are important for all of us. They shape our lives and they shape our faith. And they created a sacred space that is as precious as any other place in which we meet with God. Like any sacred space, they should not be kept to ourselves. Memories of our family and upbringing are important to share – even the painful ones – for it is often in this sharing that we find the wholeness God desires for us.

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Check out the other posts in this series:

Creating Sacred Space Do We Really Need Churches 

Every Garden Needs A Sacred Space

Reclaiming a Sacred Space – Cheasty Greenspace: A Place of Goodness and Grace by Mary De Jong

Creating a Sacred Space – Stir the Senses

A Garden of Inspiration – A Story of Leo Tolstoy

Symbols and Elements that Weave Together a Sacred Space

Why Being Spiritual may be More Important Than Being Religious by Rob Rynders

What is a Sacred Space?

Celtic Spirituality – What Is The Attraction?

In the Barren Places: Finding Sacred Space for the First Time – James Rempt

A Tree My Most Sacred Space by Ryan Harrison

Sacred Buildings by Lynne Baab

We are Raising the Roof.

Sacred Space – Listening to the Trees by Richard Dahlstrom

Sharing a Sacred Space by Daniel Simons

Let Us Thank God – A Harvest Prayer

Scarlet runner beans ready for the winter

Scarlet runner beans ready for the winter

It is harvest season here in the Pacific Northwest. The tomatoes are finally ripening, the beans have dried on the vine and the apples and pears are ready to be picked. As I walk out and see the miracle of what has come from tiny seeds my heart swells with gratitude at the wonder of how God provides. each year at this time I write reflections and prayers on the harvest season.

Last year I wrote this reflection: The Harvest is Plentiful But the Labourers are Few;

The year before I posted this: Praying for an Abundant Harvest

And the year before wrote this litany: God of the Bountiful – A Harvest Prayer

And my first post on this theme in 2008: The Generosity of God – Fish and Loaves for all

I had not intended to write another reflection for the harvest season this year – there is so much else that I want to write about. But there is something about this season that calls forth my gratitude and thanksgiving in ways that I realize I cannot deny. This morning it bubbled up within me into this prayer:

God we thank you for a harvest of plenty,

Small seeds that multiply to feed many,

Trees that blossom and produce abundant fruit,

Tomatoes that ripen on the vine with sweet flavour.

God we thank you for abundance overflowing,

Enough for our own needs and an abundance to share,

Enough to feed the hungry and provide for the destitute,

Enough to reach out with generosity and care. 

God we thank you for seeds you have planted in our hearts,

Seeds of righteousness yielding goodness and mercy,

Seeds of love yielding justice and peace,

Seeds of compassion yielding healing and renewal.

God we thank you for the bread of heaven,

Christ our saviour planted in our lives,

Christ our redeemer growing in our hearts,

Christ your Son making us one with you.

God we thank you for the gift of life,

Like water poured out on thirsty ground,

Spring and autumn rains that revive and bring life,

A river that flows from your heart and out into the world you love.

Amen

The New Shared Economy – Is God Up To Something New?

Yesterday I wrote about the new shared economy and the concept of collaborative consumption and commented that I thought this could be a move of God. Later in the day I conducted a mini garden seminar with my students here at OMSC.  At one point I used Graham Kerr’s comment “chefs compete, gardeners share” and I started to wonder – is it a coincidence that this new sharing economy is emerging at the same time that people everywhere are becoming gardener?.  Maybe there is a link between the two.  Maybe it isn’t just the internet that encourages us to share.  The sharing of garden produce is encouraging us to share other aspects of our lives too and behind it all I think is a God who wants us to share our lives just as generously as we share everything else.

Whatever the reasons I am excited by this new movement and wanted to share another important resource I came across this morning on The New Sharing Economy

IT’S TRUE THAT SHARING IS A SIMPLE CONCEPT AND A FUNDAMENTAL PART OF EVERYDAY LIFE. THANKS IN LARGE PART TO THE WEB, IT’S NOW AN INDUSTRY WITH SEEMINGLY UNBOUNDED POTENTIAL.

Technology is connecting individuals to information, other people, and physical things in ever-more efficient and intelligent ways. It’s changing how we consume, socialize, mobilize— ultimately, how we live and function together as a society. In a global economy where the means of production are becoming increasingly decentralized, where access is more practical than ownership, what do the successful businesses of the future need to know?  Read the entire article

Sharing is Everywhere

Chefs are Competitive, Gardeners Share

As you can tell I am still reflecting on the garden seminar up at Mt Vernon on Saturday which was hosted by Graham Kerr, once known as the Galloping Gourmet.  One comment he made was very thought provoking

Chefs are competitive but gardeners share.

He was referring to the fact that chefs are, on the whole very protective of their prize recipes.  Gardeners on the other hand tend to be open handed and generous, not only willing to share their expertise but also their produce and the techniques they have for preserving and cooking it.

No wonder God is described as a gardener rather than a chef.  Our God is the most generous being imaginable.  This morning I was reading about how God provided for the children of Israel in the desert – manna, the food of angels rained down from heaven, quail in abundance, water from a rock.

But the Israelites did not respond with gratitude and many of them tried to hoard as well, not recognizing that God’s provision, like what comes from the garden, is meant to be shared.  I wonder if that was why Jesus told the story of the rich man who hoarded grain to make a huge profit, only to die before he could sell it.

The garden has certainly taught me to be generous, recognizing that unless I share the produce, it goes bad benefiting neither me nor anyone else.

We live in a world that encourages us to hoard rather than to share but maybe as we learn to garden we too will learn to share as God intends us to.  What do you think?

Urban Gardening in Seattle

Suddenly being an urban gardener is very much in vogue here in Seattle.  Not only are people realizing that it can help save money (we probably saved about $2000 because of home grown produce last year) but they are also realizing that it tastes better and it is probably better for us.  Here are a couple of great recent articles about this.

Urban farming sprouts in Seattle

Growing in Seattle: Food Aid from the Home Front

I am particularly keen on the way that gardening enables us to be generous with outhers – in fact my experience is that it forces us to be generous.  There is no way that we can eat through all the zucchini, lettuce, or tomatoes when they are in full production.  If we don’t share they go bad… hmm I suspect that there is food for a sermon there.  Sounds a little like the way God  works – if we don’t share what God gives us but try to hoard it instead it “goes bad”.