The Mission of Gardening
One house church in the Underground Network has made it their mission to reclaim an abandoned space in a Chicago city park. This plot of land was used as a literal trash dump for anyone passing by, making the quarter-acre of land a blight on the entire neighborhood in which the house church was located. The project was started February 2011, where a few folks in one house church drew up some plans for a vegetable garden in this space – and in April they picked up the trash and filth, and built a raised-bed garden – with fresh, rich top soil.
Their goal was to follow the spirit of 1 Cor 1: 28, 29 – “For God chose things despised by the world, things considered as nothing, and used them to bring to nothing what the world considers to be important…” They invited the entire neighborhood to participate, including several gardeners, many of whom were skeptical of the project’s success. Over the year, more and more volunteers contributed their efforts. There was a good sized harvest (for first time gardeners!) and all the grown produce was enjoyed by neighbors and during the house church gatherings. It was beautiful.
In November 2011, that house church gave birth to another house church, which brought in the neighbors who had worked on the garden – now they knew that there was a Christian church behind the garden, and they wanted to be a part of that kind of church – so this new house church is planning in 2012 to expand the veggie garden, and they are dreaming of opening up a new farmers market to invite regional farmers to sell their produce alongside this little urban garden’s yield.
All this, from an abandoned lot.
“God chose the things despised by the world, the things considered as nothing, and used them to bring to nothing what the world considers important – so no one can boast in the presence of God!”