“Who in the world would build a garden on a rock pile?” This was a question posed to one of my dear Street Hope friends. The inference was pretty clear. This was not a project based on ‘worldly wisdom’ or common sense. When I first heard the question the answer popped immediately into my head “God builds his garden in rock piles!” That is exactly the kind of thing he delights in.
Jesus said he did not come for the well but the ill. He was accused of and eventually crucified for being a friend of sinners. He takes the devastated and the ravaged and the ruined and brings beauty and life. He offers beauty for ashes! His great, long promised, reclamation project began with the incarnation and continued through a sinless life, to the cross, through the tomb and a return to glory! Our broken and wrecked lives are the very fabric he chooses. He specializes in rock pile projects!
Our little Street Hope garden project is a picture of what God loves to do. I claim no credit for this. The only lot I have ever been offered was a rock pile! If we were going to garden at all this was the site chosen for us. We would not have chosen the challenge of a rocky lot but God works his will through the challenges of life.
So amid the abandoned lots and ‘crack shacks’ our little garden shouts “There is hope!” “There is beauty for your ashes!” “The refuse heap is not his intended purpose for you!” Not everyone has ears to hear the voice of our little garden but over the season I have had innumerable opportunities to encourage folks passing by to hear this ‘Good News’. There hasn’t been a great harvest among these visitors to our garden but perhaps this is a season for sowing a harvest which will come later as God builds yet another garden from a rock pile.
This week marked the closing of a chapter of my life. I turned in my key to the Nation Office. I no longer have an office there. For the first time in nearly 30 years I have no key to a Threshold/Church Army building. It was a bit sad. As I walked quietly away Beckett’s phrase “not with a bang but a whimper.” flashed through my mind. “So many of my exits lately have been quiet and unceremonious.” I thought, but then I recalled the omnipresent omniscient God. As I slid into my car seat I felt God’s smile. One chapter closes and another opens