Friday, July 20, 2012

Pleasant Grove Baptist Church

Last weekend I had an incredible privilege. Jamie and I were invited to a visit a small country church in Herring, West Virginia. Not only did we have the incredible privilege of visiting this space, but also, I was invited to share the message last Sunday. Last Sunday wasn't our first visit to the church, but it was really encouraging to see the growth of the congregation since our first visit. We were welcomed with open arms, and it was cool to listen to the people who make up this congregation share their lives with one another.

As I walked forward to share, I began thinking about the generations of people who had gathered here before. On the front of the church is a sign that celebrated 100 years of this church's presence in the community. The church building was erected in 1891. That's over 120 years of faith-filled families gathering in this space. I realized as I walked forward, that I had never shared in a church that old. I thought about how there just aren't many buildings at all in the United States that have been around that long. I thought about the level of care that I witnessed the people had for each other in this space. And then I thought about the tombstones outside the church that were a visible reminder of many of those who were part of this church in previous generations.

What an incredible legacy. In our culture today, so much emphasis is placed on what is new and trendy, and I have to say that it is incredibly refreshing to step into a space that has been filled with generations of stories and memories.

May we each take time to think about the stories we will leave behind in the places and spaces we inhabit. May we fill these spaces with life and love!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Squash Blossom 2012

It has been a few weeks since I have made the time to blog, but I believe the emergence of squash blossoms in our garden is a wonderful opportunity to stop, reflect, and write. Every year, since starting a home garden, I've made it a point to take time, no matter how busy my schedule, to enjoy the squash blossoms.

They don't really emanate a strong fragrance, but they are a reminder that soon food will be arriving to the Williams homestead. My ancestors would perform intricate quill and bead work designs that were representations of the squash blossom and a reminder of the beauty and bounty of the created world. The Creator of the universe provides us with all good things, and fills our world with beauty. The sad thing is that many of us miss out on seeing this beauty. Whether we busy ourselves too much and don't make space to enjoy these little gifts, or if we are simply lacking in thanks, the fault is our own.

Beyond its beauty, for me, the squash blossom is a catalyst for memories. Memories of tribal gardens of the past, memories of family gardens growing up, and memories of the many meals provided by growing, harvesting and cooking crops together with family and friends fill my mind as I look at these beautiful flowers.

If you don't have a garden, you can still plant a squash, and see this flower and it's fruit before summer is over. Jamie and I planted in June and have enjoyed a couple of squash and zucchini already. For just a small investment, you can provide food for yourself and your friends and family for multiple days.

It is truly amazing that God not only meets our physical needs through foods we can grow, but also does it in a way that if we are willing to take time we can see traces of beauty all around us.

I'm thankful for squash blossoms and the bounty provided from these beautiful broad leafed flowering plants.