The slow work of God

I’m a gardener. Not a fussy or showy one, just average. I enjoy getting my hands in the dirt daily and nurturing life in the garden. I tend to grow tried and true, old fashioned plants like Turk’s Cap, Four-o-clocks or Chaste Tree, which grow well in almost any conditions, attracting bees and hummingbirds all summer long. Or irises and day lilies, which can be easily divided and planted elsewhere. Or Mexican Petunia, which thrives anywhere, even in the cracks along the swimming pool in the swelter of August.

One thing I’ve learned from gardening is that much of it is out of my hands. I can tend the soil and nurture the plants, but God brings the growth. A flourishing plant begins before a seed is even in the ground, with preparing the soil—turning it over with a pitchfork and working in amendments like compost or manure or even earthworms. Once the soil is at its best, then seeds can be planted.

Seeds can lay dormant in the ground for some time before sprouting, depending on the type of seed and the conditions of the soil. When conditions are right, the seed splits open, putting out tiny, tender roots. All of this is going on underground, where we can’t see it. We have no idea that there’s life in the seed until a little green shoot ventures out of the soil toward the warmth of the sun.

Gardening brings perspective to spiritual things. Last spring, we discerned an invitation to plant Trinity Lakeside. A community of people seeking to follow Jesus’ way of life—a lighter, freer, more joyful way (Matthew 11:28-30). A people seeking growth and renewal in Christ, welcoming others to experience this joy. It took many months to prepare the soil and lay the groundwork for this ministry, to pray and imagine and talk and dream.

It took time to prayerfully discern the specifics of our calling, to notice what kinds of seeds God was inviting us to plant. We discerned an invitation to plant three: worship, prayer and care. We think of these as the seeds of three great trees. Each as small as an acorn but full of life—everything that is needed to become a great oak or pine or cedar one day.

We live out this calling to worship, prayer and care in gathering weekly for worship under the shade trees and Thursday Evening Prayer. Hosting Front Porch Socials, Soul Care Groups and Silent Retreats (see We’re planting little seeds, and trusting, that even though we can’t yet see it, over time God will bring the growth.

We welcome you to join us in a journey of joy and renewal in Christ. To find a place of belonging in a community of worshiping, praying and caring Christ followers. To join us in planting seeds of his peace and goodness in the world. Trusting the slow work of God in and through us for the sake of the world.

Published by Rev. Dr. Markene

ACNA priest, spiritual director and author

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