Hope Is in the Air – MSA Imaginings

Last week we celebrated Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent. For many it is a time to give up chocolate, T.V. or social media. However as I commented in my Ash Wednesday post, Lent is not really about sacrifice and deprivation, it is about freedom and transformation.

It is a time to acknowledge the deep longing of our hearts for a more intimate walk with God and consider ways that we might accomplish that. I concluded the post by asking: What is one place of brokenness you long to see transformed? What practices could you adopt during Lent to see that transformation occur and experience the freedom of following God in new ways?

Lent Beckons Us to Live in Hope

Lent beckons us to live into the hope of the resurrection and prepare ourselves for life in God’s eternal world. We hope that you will continue to take this season seriously and journey towards the resurrection with us. Our Lenten resource lists have been shared widely, being featured amongst other rich resources by sites like Textweek.com, Lent and Beyond, and by bloggers like Rachel Held Evans.
Don’t forget to check out the newly updated resource lists:
Keep your eyes open for the new resources for Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Sunday which will be added as Holy week approaches; and don’t forget to download the free Lenten activity guide 40+ Ideas for Lent and Easter.

The Garden Beckons Us to Live in Hope

Gardening, as I mentioned in our last newsletter, is a wonderful metaphor for the Lenten journey from brokenness to transformation, an exciting, hope-filled journey that affirms God is in the business of transformation.

ash.flame.1At our Lenten retreat last weekend we wrote one area we hoped to see transformed on pieces of paper that were placed in a bowl and then burnt. The ashes formed the foundation for a small garden to which we added soil and then basil seeds. Those seeds have now sprouted and we expect that by Easter they will provide a fragrant reminder of our resurrection hope.

The bright yellow daffodils and multi-coloured primroses shining in the early spring light outside our living room window instill this same hope. Inside we have been busy planting tomatoes and basil. Broccoli, cauliflower, cabbages and a multitude of greens are ready to move outside. In the next couple of weeks they will take their place under row covers in the early spring garden. Here in the northern hemisphere, the hope of springtime coming is definitely in the air and the longing for God’s resurrection is palpable.

Celebrate God’s Resurrection Hope with Us

Over the next couple of months there will be numerous opportunities to celebrate God’s resurrection hope with us. If you live in the Pacific NW please consider joining Andy Wade and me for The Spirituality of Gardening workshop. We will dig into the wonderful ways that God and God’s story are revealed in the rhythms of planting, growing and harvesting. We will explore the basics of organic gardening and discuss resources for starting a faith-based community garden. This is always a stimulating event and a wonderful learning experience.

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Some of you may like us to start your garden for you. We have lots of tomato squash and basil plants available for sale, as well as broccoli, cabbage, cauliflowers and a plethora of greens. This is one small way that our fellow garden enthusiasts can support the work of MSA. Please consider downloading the plant order form and sending us your order. Plants will be available for pick up in early May. Or if you prefer to take potluck, join us May 3rd at the Mustard Seed House for our first ever plant sale.

We are also working to provide additional resources for those who live outside the Seattle area. To Garden with God continues to be one of our best selling products and has been used by many faith-based groups as a Bible study for those preparing to work in the church garden. We intend to supplement its resources with a free downloadable Resources for Creating a Faith-Based Community Garden shortly.

Rooted and Linked in Hope

2014Inhabit-Sidebar250x250Once again we will join our friends in the Parish Collective at the Inhabit Conference April 25th and 26th.We would love to see you participate as well. We too are convinced that we need to be both rooted in our local neighbourhoods and linked to other communities in collaboration and unity. Al Tizon, co-president of Evangelicals for Social Action, will be with us for the event. You can gain a sneak preview of the work he is involved in at a preconference luncheon to be held at the Mustard Seed House April 24th. Space is limited, so please respond early for this exciting opportunity.

At the Mustard Seed Village, slow but encouraging progress is being made. As the walls go up and the roof is finished on our first building, we are excited at the hope and promise this offers us for the future. Slowly an exciting vision for a centre of innovation and creativity is emerging. We appreciate your prayers as we continue to shape this vision, recruit fellow dreamers, and develop partnerships who will help us grow into the future.

Our annual Celtic Retreat, August 8-10, should be a wonderful celebration as we expect to have this first building completed and plan to unveil more concrete plans for the future. Please consider camping with us for the weekend, or drive in for the Saturday only. In the past we have had people join us from as far afield as Florida, so distance is no excuse.

There are other ways in which this season beckons us towards hope. Last Saturday was International Womens’ Day, and I suggest that you check out this beautiful rendition of St. Francis’ Prayer written specifically for this celebration.

The team at Mustard Seed Associates is living in the hope of the resurrection in the midst of the daily challenges of life, and we trust that you are too.

We appreciate your prayers and supportiveness.

God bless,

Christine Sine
Executive Director
Mustard Seed Associates