April 13, 2012

GraceTree Community Garden

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Gardening is a core practice of our community. Not only is it good, healthy, physical work, but it is work we can enjoy together.

By working according to permaculture principles, we seek to cooperate with the earth and its processes.

It’s also good practice as we live in the time between the two gardens – that of Eden in the beginning and the New Jerusalem.

As the Wurundjeri people have been custodians of this land, so we seek to work with and learn from them as co-custodians.

By growing as much of our own food as possible we reduce food miles, foster sustainable agriculture, and realise the true value of the food production process. In this way we live closer to the creation that God declared ‘good’, and become more aware of its processes and limits.

We also have fruit trees in the front yard, the fruits of which are resources to share with the wider community.

The GraceTree Community Garden was featured on Vasili’s Garden to Kitchen in 2013. Check it out below!

Below is a reflection written for the opening of the GraceTree Oratory, centring on the tree as a deep and life-giving symbol for our community.

The biblical story begins and ends with the Tree of Life
in the midst of paradise.
It begins in Eden, creation’s centrepiece.
It ends with the Tree of Life in the midst of a street
in the New Jerusalem, when heaven and earth come together.
In between, trees play a significant part in God’s story.

Abraham entertains angels by the oaks of Mamre.
Moses encounters God in a bush which burns, yet is not consumed.
As the cedars of Lebanon demonstrate the magnificence of God’s creation
so the pillaging of them demonstrates the pretensions of imperial power.
The prophets Isaiah and Micah speak of a day when everyone shall sit under their own vines and fig trees, and no one will make them afraid.

Jesus likens the Kingdom of Heaven to a tree grown from seed,
is welcomed into Jerusalem with palm branches,
and then nailed to a tree, and left to die.

It is this tree, the cross, that we call the Tree of Grace, the GraceTree.
for here God chose to take our worst
and love us anyway
rising from death,
and proving nothing is beyond God’s grace.

Trees form a connection between heaven and earth;
their branches and leaves reaching for the sunlight,
while their roots reach down deep into the earth.
It is there, in the hidden places, underneath the surface,
that trees gain their stability,
and find what nourishes them.

In the same way in this Oratory, we will have the opportunity
in stillness, prayer, and contemplation,
to explore our inner life, that which lies beneath the surface,
to find our roots in God,
and to be nourished in God’s loving embrace.

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