One of the best things about spring to me is planning the vegetable garden. Joining the throngs of plant lovers at the nursery, choosing seeds, plants and envisioning what they will produce brings joy. We live in a development on the west side of Delaware, but even so, we have been able to grow enough food to freeze, can and enjoy fresh produce from our three raised beds throughout the warm summer months. Growth from seed to plant is a true miracle, which I am grateful for.
Last week I received my first delicious pick of produce at the Seminary Hill Farm’s Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) share of the season, including several varieties of lettuce, beets, scallions and herbs, all grown right here in Delaware on U.S. 23 at Methodist Theological School in Ohio where I work.
As I picked out my fresh produce, I could not help but remember Jesus and how his ministry has always concerned itself with critical matters of life – healing, education, support of the weak and suffering, and the importance of sustenance. The church was built upon these essential teachings, as evidenced by the number of hospitals and institutions of higher learning, which have been established by churches, as well as the ministries they offer to feed and clothe the poor and oppressed.
The Bible is replete with stories of food. In fact, food is listed in the Bible 212 times! A sample of stories include the Israelites receiving manna from heaven, the feeding of the 5,000, documentation of John the Baptist’s unique meal of locusts and wild honey, Jesus turning water into wine at a wedding, and Jesus gathering with his disciples at the Last Supper. Significant things happen around the table with food. When I eat with someone, there is familiarity and a deeper sense of understanding.
When we are hungry, we have an aching to be filled up. Food is an essential part of everyone’s life. It gives us energy and nutrients to grow and develop. Around the table, where food is abundant, meaningful work and relationships are developed.
Jesus said that by believing in him, we will never again hunger or thirst.
So, whether you go to one of the Delaware farmers markets to select fresh produce, grow it yourself or pick up your CSA share, remember to sit down and give thanks for those who grew your food. Draw close to God and savor God’s nourishing presence in your life.
The Rev. Tamara Francis Wilden is an ordained elder in the East Ohio Conference of the United Methodist Church. She serves as the director of field education at Methodist Theological School in Delaware.