Hosea 10:1-3, 12
There is a new fence going up. So far it is just the posts. They are taller and more robust. The perimeter expands further, and—fittingly—it is beautiful. There is a new fence going up at the Monks’ Garden at Emery House. Everything grown there is given away. The first beets were just harvested; 100 pounds will be distributed this week at the Newbury Food Pantry.[i]
The garden is in partnership with Nourishing the North Shore. We provide the land and water. They grow, harvest, and distribute. We also host land for the Organic Community Garden. We Brothers share in Nourishing the North Shore’s mission: “to ensure equal access to healthy, local food to all members of the North Shore communities in a manner that builds community, fosters connection, and promotes dignity and self-reliance.”[ii] Food justice is expanding step by step in further work with local schools and with a bigger garden: mission in action.
A bigger garden could be used for exclusion and greed, to horde and squander. In today’s text, the prophet Hosea shows bad and good images. God’s people were like “a luxuriant vine that yields its fruit.” With more fruit, they built monuments to idols, like self-praise, ignoring God. “Their heart is false … The Lord will break down their altars, and destroy their pillars.”
Instead of greed, Hosea invites: “Sow for yourselves righteousness, reap steadfast love … .” What is righteousness? What reaps love? In the words of fellow prophet Micah: Doing justice, loving mercy, and walking humbly.[iii] Welcome strangers. Have compassion and show honor.
How are you relating to neighbors and strangers? How might you be hording, seeking only your own security? How are you reaching out to share, connect, promote dignity, and seek justice? What is figuratively or literally growing in your garden? What is expanding in you? A bigger garden can be a blessing, a step toward justice. Sow righteousness. Reap love.
[iii] Micah 6:8
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