We have had a garden for a few years now. Each year we spend time together deciding what we want to plant. Our first year we planted watermelons. Our garden, at the time, was a tiny square in our backyard, and the watermelon vine took over the length of the garden. We decided we needed to research a little more about how to plant and what to plant in our smallish space. Possibly we needed to nix the idea of viney vegetables or fruits! As our garden has changed, both in space and area, we have changed what we grow. What we grow changes as our tastes change and depending on what the children want to grow. This year we decided to try squash. We came home from vacation this weekend to find a squash vine has grown out of the garden and attached itself to the grass. The squash that is maturing looks like it will be delicious, but it will be difficult to mow the grass in the meantime!
In the winter and spring, we are gung-ho about picking out our plants and preparing our garden space. As the summer goes on, one thing or another seems to distract us from continuing to tend to the garden in the way we would like. Many times by fall, we forget to till under the remaining garden before frost and freezes start.
Last year this resulted in many, many tomato plants that grew from the previous year’s leftovers. As in, we had a garden of tomatoes and basil without much of anything else surviving. We didn’t complain! The tomatoes and basil were delicious.
With our young family, having the “perfect” lawn or garden has not been a priority for us. We try to keep up. Occasionally though, it means we end up with a garden of tomatoes from last year’s “leftovers” gone to seed. Another time I discovered that the “weeds” growing around our light pole were actually snapdragons from the annuals I had planted a year earlier.
We belong to a co-op, community-supported agriculture, that delivers fresh vegetables from two local farms each week during the summer and early fall. One of the things we have tried because of this membership is purslane. Purslane is actually a weed and grows easily in sidewalks. I never knew that it was also high in omega-3s and delicious! We all get excited when we find we have purslane in our CSA bag.
A few weeks ago Sunday’s gospel was about the harvest. Jesus was instructing his disciples not to pull the weeds until the harvest. As I listened to the gospel in literal terms, my mind went back to the snapdragons we would not have been able to enjoy had we pulled our weeds too soon and to the bountiful harvest of tomatoes we had because we did not pull the tomato plants and to the purslane that we have come to know and love.
My mind began to wander to other times we rush to judgment of people, places, and things. When we don’t wait for Jesus’ timing and His harvest, we miss out on the great and glorious offerings He has in store for us.
Jesus did not only associate with those “beautiful plants.” He ate with the “weeds” of society. He treated each person as the gift He knew them to be, a person created in the Father’s likeness and image. “I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.” Luke 5:32 Jesus looks beyond society’s idea of perfection to what is inside, knowing that it may take until the harvest to find out if a person is truly a “weed” or not.