by Lena Van Wky, Farm Director
This winter, we decided to formally name the garden that we’ve been developing by the greenhouse the “Revelation Garden,” after the passage in Revelation, chapter 22, that describes the restoration of Eden in New Creation when Christ returns to bring all things into perfection. After some more gravel removal, the garden will be in two mirroring leaf shapes, surrounding the outdoor chapel, to represent the leaves in New Creation that will be for the healing of the nations. Around the perimeter, there will be twelve different kinds of fruit trees, to represent the tree of life and its abundance.
“Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads.” Revelation 22: 1-4
I believe that one of the reasons the Holy Spirit has been putting this verse on our hearts for the farm is because His purpose for the farm is for the healing of the nations. We are blessed by God with a very international church and I am humbled by the ways the farm has already started to reflect that beautiful image of the Kingdom of all nations. Last year, at our workdays, we had folks from all walks of life in our parish come out and work side by side: American, Congolese, Sudanese, German… the list goes on! And we planted crops from all over the world in our garden to show our congregants how God has been actively creating beautiful food for all his children all across the world.
At a recent farm workday in February, this theme of “all nations” was revealed to me in full color during a conversation with two wonderful women in our community: Sarah Charles and Estella Marile. The three of us were sitting in the outdoor chapel, looking out onto the garden and talking about plans for the coming season. Sarah, who is from the Virgin Islands and is Afro-Caribbean, started asking Estella, who is Sudanese, about the foods and plants she grew up with. The conversation turned lively and joyful as both of them recounted the agricultural and culinary traditions they grew up with in Sudan and St. Croix! They realized that many of the fruits and vegetable they grew up with were similar, due to the all the plants that African folks brought to the Caribbean. They shared stories about how God had provided for their families directly from the land in their home countries. We excitedly started to dream together about what it would like to find a way to plant some of those heritage foods they grew up with at the farm. To me, that conversation was a perfect image of the way that Jesus brings together his children from all nations into his united Kingdom of holiness and peace.
In moments like those, I often think of the Song of Simeon, which Judson and I pray so often from the Book of Common Prayer (taken from Luke 2:29-32): “Lord, you now have set your servant free to go in peace as you have promised; For these eyes of mine have seen the Savior, whom you have prepared for all the world to see: A Light to enlighten the nations, and the glory of your people Israel.”