Spring and summer means escaping the hibernation of our small apartments and venturing out to enjoy the green spaces in and around our city and neighborhood. But what if it could also mean blessing others and getting to know our neighborhoods? As we see from the above verses, God made all that we see around us and in the beginning He invited us to care for us and steward it for the sake of others.
As part of the Reshape Your Summer Plans series, this week we highlight a few ways to enjoy the outdoors, maybe get your hands dirty and bless others.
Spring Block Sweep
For our Park Slope and surrounding friends, this includes joining many others cleaning up our blocks and rubbing shoulders with our neighbors for the Park Slope Civic Council Block Sweep on on April 16th from 10am-2pm. Our family has participated in this for a number of years and for the last two, it has involved graffiti removal on an assigned block. Letting kids paint [legally] mailboxes, streetlights, signposts and switch-boxes is not a hard sell, but what was particularly beautiful was watching the ripple effects in my oldest. A few weeks after the event, my daughter saw some graffiti on a wall close to our house and asked if we could fix that. It was a beautiful moment where she saw that she could help look after our neighborhood. Information is in the link above so mark your calendar or just show up at JJ Byrne Playground
Plenty Farm is a sustainable community garden that was started by Trinity Grace Park Slope in 2009. The produce and flower harvest from the garden is donated to Bed-Stuy Campaign Against Hunger. Upon it's opening in the spring, every Saturday from 10:30am-12:30pm volunteers come to weed and clean the garden, plant and then pick and organize the produce. The hope and dream of this garden is that it would not be just a place to come and serve, but would also be a community gathering and safe space and allow our church and others to set roots in that neighborhood in encouraging and supporting what is happening in Bed-Stuy. For more information, email HERE about how to be involved and when the season starts.
These opportunities and many others [like joining a community garden or a CSA and even volunteering at a CSA] as Briggs says are not merely about taking care of the earth entrusted to us, but also afford us opportunity to get to know the pinnacle of God's creation; people. And in the setting of roots in a garden, we can learn of ways to be a blessing and be blessed by listening to the people that make up our community. Then, as we serve alongside them, there might also be opportunity to share about our hearts to care for this beautiful world entrusted to us by a generous God.