Sunday Service, May 15, 2016

We gathered first inside, then al fresco, for a lovely garden service given by Gloria Toot. We cultivated our minds in thought and then we set to work planting specimens each congregant brought for our new church garden! We are happy to announce our new raised bed garden; our Children’s Garden! We hope the children will learn to love and care for the plants as much as we do.

Service taken in part and adapted from : Vibrant Magazine

Bible reading: John 15:1,2, New Living Translation

Jesus said: “I am the true grapevine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn’t produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more.”

Your everyday life is your garden.

Did everyone notice the garden that has appeared in the front yard? Thanks to Maggie and JD and their helpers for that. Sometime ago we decided one of our ministries would be to feed the hungry. This little garden is a symbol of that ministry. The plan is to grow some vegetables, maybe some flowers and, on a very small scale share the harvest with each other. Perhaps someday we can share on a larger level.

We can all can pick up any magazine or get on the Internet and research all the health benefits of gardening and that sort of thing. But today I want to talk a little bit about our spiritual garden. What would happen if I were to put half the effort into my spiritual life that I put into my everyday life.

If I took the time to really work at my relationship with God, a little back-
breaking, sweaty work, what kind of things would grow? If I sow seeds of faith, hope, strength, health, forgiveness, humility, and praise it make my garden beautiful. If I water them with joy, peace, love, encouragement, and blessing I will will reap a bountiful harvest, some beautiful things will bloom.

Yet, sometimes I choose to focus my efforts elsewhere, and when that happens I don’t grow lovely things; instead, I grow weeds. The weed seeds of pride, fear, doubt, unbelief, defeat, depression, and complaining find a home in my garden. But, maybe the bigger picture is that I’m not the gardener; God is. And you and I are just part of His enormous garden. Maybe some of us are flowers, vegetables, trees, shrubs, grass, or even mulch or moss.

The great thing is that we all have a role to play. Each of us in our own special way contributes a special quality to the garden of God. We each have a voice and a unique gift that we’ve been given in order to share God’s Word to the world. And when we unite, together we form a grand company.

I hope that you will find it in the garden of your heart to allow God to be your Master Gardener. And that you will allow His labor of love to plant a new life within you. In return, you will produce a beautiful piece that will add abundance to the garden of God!

As all the earth is a garden, Lord, we ask that you bless this small piece of the earth. As Your Light shines upon us and upon this garden, giving us life, likewise help us to give light and life to others.

We pray you, Lord, to bless our garden.

We ask you, Lord, to bless the water that will nourish this garden. Help the roots of our plants tap into life-giving water. Help us to always be rooted in your love and in the water of the Holy Spirit.

We pray you, Lord, to bless our garden.

We ask you, Lord, to bless the soil that nourishes new life in this ground and in this community. Help us to look in awe at the mysteries of your work not yet seen. Help us to appreciate the nourishment of your earth and use it wisely.

We pray you, Lord, to bless our garden.

We ask you, Lord, to bless the seeds planted here. Help them to sprout and grow. Give all new life within this garden the right conditions to grow and bear fruit in Your Light.

We pray you, Lord, to bless our garden.

We ask you, Lord, for the knowledge, wisdom, and tools to best tend our garden and do your work to give life to ourselves and others.

We pray you, Lord, to bless our garden.

We ask you, Lord, for a bountiful harvest, both in our garden and in our lives. Give us the wisdom to take what we need to feed ourselves and to use our abundance to the benefit of others.

We pray you, Lord, to bless our garden.

Bless this garden, O Lord, and all life within it. Give us nourishment from this garden, as we feed ourselves and the entire human family through your love and your gifts. Amen.

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