Reflections on the Garden and Radical Hospitality

August 2, 2018

By: Bailie Gregory

I’ve spent a lot of my time at Broad Street in gardens. Between the MEEP Community Garden and Carousel House Farm, I’m normally in a green space three times a week. Until this summer, I had avoided gardening at all costs because I killed a cactus once. I don’t necessarily have a green thumb. So the garden quickly became a place of learning. I was welcomed into the space, and quickly taught how to keep things alive.

While I was learning about gardening, I was also learning about how creation works – like how the tomatoes will grow tall and produce fruit, but only if they’re supported properly, and how you can only take every other piece of kale when you harvest it so that you don’t deplete the plant. Gardening lessons don’t just apply to the garden, they apply to God’s creation and God’s people.

At Broad Street we talk a lot about Radical Hospitality. It’s part of our culture, and it’s one of the many things that I appreciate about this place. Everyone is truly welcomed at God’s table, but that doesn’t start with us. Creation is radically hospitable.

The garden gives us a glimpse of what radical hospitality really looks like – a place where plants grow and thrive, and where each different plant has a unique purpose. A place where the sunflowers in the middle of the garden help clean the soil, so that other things can grow. A place where the asparagus beds are allowed to grow wild and free for a season so that they will eventually produce good food. A place where trees offer shade for leafy greens to grow. Like the garden, the Body of Christ thrives and grows when we recognize that our individual strengths can help support other’s needs.

The garden is a true reflection of radical hospitality. A reminder that God has created all things different, and that we thrive in our differences. A place where everyone is invited to the table because everyone has a place at the table.