This time last month I was on my way to Winton, half an hour from Invercargill, for three days of Parish Mission in the Western Southland parish.
There were many highlights: conversations with older parishioners in their homes, reflection sessions, Masses, gatherings in cafes and pubs, and time with school staff and students.
In one question & answer session with 9-11 year olds one of the bright young students asked me a very original question: if you were teaching in our school, what you would want us to learn?
The question surprised me and the look in the young boy’s eyes let me know that he deserved more than a religious-cliche-response. I took a moment to think, pray, and think again and was surprised at the answer that came to me.
My response: If I was teaching at a primary school I would want every student to learn the joy of growing vegetables.
Anyone who grows vegetables knows how to create a garden environment of rich soil and sun, to plant seeds and then to water and wait. A vegetable gardener then experiences the delight of seeing green sprout from the soil to become seedlings then grow into lettuces, tomatoes, broccoli, spinach and peppers. And even if I’ve named one or two of the vegetables you don’t like eating you can’t deny that there are few things as satisfying as eating the veges that you have grown yourself.
A gardener knows about life, seeds sun and soil, patience and persistence, nature and nurture, maturation and harvest – and the the satisfaction of the good home-grown meal with friends.
This email begins the daily Food For Faith Advent reflections. I’m excited about this four-week opportunity to go deeper, seeking personal maturation, nurturing and patiently persisting, knowing that like the gardener, even when I am forgetful unfocussed and distracted, Jesus is working to ensure that the seeds of new life in me are brought to harvest.
A couple of notes as we begin:
- Thank you to those who share news of this FFF website with others. This mission grows by word of mouth. Invite your friends and family to sign-up to this four-week pre-Christmas mission at www.foodforfaith.org.nz
- Let’s start up the FFF cafe gatherings again – just send me a date, place and time when you will be waiting at a cafe ready to meet any FFF friend who turns up to chat together about life and faith. Email me (email@example.com) with this info and I will advertise these gatherings on each day’s Advent post.
- The response to my published collection of reflections, Food For Faith – the book, has been encouraging. Click the image below to order. Save yourself the postage by picking up your copy at The Catholic Shop (at St. Marys) in Christchurch, St Augustine’s in the Christ the King church foyer Christchurch, St Joseph’s Gift Centre Takapuna, or ask at any bookstore and they can get you a copy. If in doubt send me an email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Click on the image to order
Food For Faith – the book
Eighty-five reflections for anyone who is seeking
greater depth of life and maturity of faith.