Already, and not yet...
In Christian theologies of God's reign of peace, you might have heard the expression, "already, and not yet" as an attempt to capture the mystery of our salvation. Every time I feed the chickens, I pass under the branches of our star magnolia, whose buds are soft green, and round with the promise of what's to come, even as the temperatures drop into the single digits again this week. Already inside them is not just the future of the flower, complete with petals and scent yet to come, but also the future of magnolia trees altogether. The snow and ice surround the fuzzy buds, and the gales of winter are having one last go, and yet there is nothing that can persuade those buds not to open. The blooms are already there, ready to go.
This is what life in Christian hope is like. Resurrection is both reality and promise. Life abundant is yet to come, and yet we're not without it now. Spring is coming, but not out of nowhere, rather out of what is under our feet and within our reach even now.
The life of the farm ministry is in a similar season. The work has a Lenten feeling to it, much preparation in anticipation of things as yet unseen. The farm's calendar is full of community events that will happen when the warm weather comes, but there are only a handful of people on the quiet farm now. The vineyard is waiting for the hard work of pruning away what won't bear good fruit this year. The hoophouse urgently needs hours of work to take down last year's growth, though no green raspberry shoots can be seen. The sun shines on these clear winter days, but we can't yet feel its warmth on our skin. It's all of it 'already, and not yet.'.
You, friends, are part of the 'already'. Already, we are making connections, starting conversations, planning collaborations. Already, your generous support of this ministry and your encouragement are making the buds swell and the seeds get ready to sprout. Keep us in your prayers as we keep you in ours. We send you blessings for a meaningful season of Lenten preparation.