Real life conversation between two Westboro eight-year-olds—overheard by parents at older brother, Jack’s, baseball game, some weeks ago:
Dean: You’re kind of small for your age. How old are you, anyway?
Dean: Eight! You could be seven, or six … or five, even …
Henry: Uh-huh …
Dean: You need to get some veggies in that belly, like Swiss chard, or something. If you do that, you’ll grow—like—eighteen inches before I see you next.
Not everyone can live in a place of obvious goodness, where Swiss chard comes up among eight-year-olds in ordinary playground talk. But, this year, we do live in such a place.
Goodness is abundant this time of year in the Northwoods. And, while our farms aren’t as big as our neighbors’ in the southern part of the state, ripeness too visits our fields, forests and gardens. For us, in the moment, this means the time of berry picking—strawberries, blueberries, raspberries—is just about past. Vegetable produce rolls in daily, enough to share, for sure. Apples await. Like the birds who by-pass our feeders for want of need, because of the abundance of food in the wild, we too look at our tables and say, “Wow … that all came from the garden. Praise God for this!”
That last thought reminds me of Jeremiah’s word from God, spoken over Israel in light of His judgement, but in anticipation of future salvation:
They shall come and sing aloud on the height of Zion, and they shall be radiant over the goodness of the LORD, over the grain, the wine, and the oil, and over the young of the flock and the herd; their life shall be like a watered garden, and they shall languish no more (31.12, ESV).
Those who rest in Christ know this abundance today, in essence. All who know peace with God through Christ will join Israel in fullness at Christ’s return.
Till that day, we say, Praise God for this! And, we harvest from the fields and forests and gardens, and receive all this as a picture of God’s present and future … Goodness.