Sacred Memory Series: The Art and the Necessity
Valerie Walker of Portland, OR, USA
“Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” -Matthew 11:28-30
As I sit and look out my dining room window, I see finches and grosbeaks gorging themselves on seeds from the sunflowers that volunteered to grow in my large barrel planter on the deck. I also noticed the weathered wood of the fence boards that should have been painted this past summer before the rainy season started again-one summer project that didn’t get done due to excuses of a badly sprained ankle, hot weather, busy ministry needs, and final seminary class papers. It does, however, look rather picturesque as a background for pots of herbs and almost-done flowers.
Gardening and yard work have been a place of Sabbath peace and joy since my childhood. My mother taught me the necessity of raising and harvesting our own food on the farm. My grandmother taught me the art of curved and straight lines in gardening and landscaping, the traditions of seasonal preparation, and laying to rest for the next year. When my family gathers now for holiday celebration and feasting, there is always something from that year’s harvest, both from necessity and art. There is comfort in the herbed flavor of a meal, the color of the preserved fruit and pickled vegetables, and the texture of seeds gathered from those same sunflowers on the deck.
These sights and smells gathered from the earth recall the sharing around the tables of community blessing, and they call me to a new appreciation of God’s abundant creation and grace. Lessons in caring for that creation, both the necessity and the art, are learned and scattered once again for volunteering and coming up in new, surprising places, feeding those seeking a spiritual (although perhaps weathered!) home.
“Remember the long way that the Lord your God has led you…” (Deuteronomy 8:2).
Spend time journaling or reflecting on significant memories that have shaped your life. Allow the following questions to guide you: What memories from your life impact how you encounter and respond to the world around you today? When has sacred memory in you become a path into the future?
Today’s Prayer for Peace
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