Farmer's market is a reminder of God's extravagant and varied blessings
by Sister Ann Rehrauer
Almost every Saturday morning from June through October I head to the farmer’s market in Green Bay. Sometimes I purchase fruits and vegetables or specialty toffee and often I meet friends and we shop together and share a cup of coffee and some bakery item or even a crab rangoon.
This weekly ritual is an experience for me of the abundance of God’s gifts to us and the miracle of growth as I view the small offerings at the beginning of the season and the increasing abundance as we move from rhubarb, herbs, and flowers to radishes, pea pods, onions, carrots, berries, and eventually the crisp fall apples. Each stage of the growing season has its own offerings and the variety of produce grows at its own pace and ripens in its own time.
The gardeners and farmers who bring their crops to us are people of faith and patient endurance. They recognize the potential in a tiny seed or seedling – believing that what looks insignificant will produce juicy tomatoes, sweet crunchy carrots, fresh sweet corn, or varieties of apples. They do their part by preparing the soil, planting good seed and watering, when needed, to help the miracle of life flourish. And then they wait.
God, of course, is the Master Gardener, not only producing fruits and vegetables in the earth, but expressing faith in us and waiting with patient endurance for our response, knowing that His spiritual gifts in us will grow at their own pace and ripen in their own time.
In this Sunday’s readings, Isaiah uses the image of God’s Word as a seed, and Jesus employs the parable of the sower to remind us that God gives to all people the seeds of faith and grace and understanding of the Word, trusting that these will come to fruition in time. These seeds are sown freely, without our earning or even asking for them, given generously and accompanied by other gifts that water and weed and facilitate eventual growth.
This weekend as you and I enjoy the fresh vegetables and the fruits of others’ labor:
- may they be a reminder to us of the Master Gardener who continues to create all that is good and blesses us with all we need – and more;
- may they also be invitations to give thanks for all we have received – unearned gifts from a God who loves us;
- may they be a call to share what we have received with others – both the material and spiritual gifts;
- and may they remind us to be patient with ourselves as God is patient with all that is not yet complete in us.
My Word shall not return to me void, but shall do my will, achieving the end for which I sent it. (Isaiah 55:11)