Here's another reason why I love Fourth Reformed Church and New City Neighbors. Do you know what God creates in Genesis 1 & 2? Scholars point out that God created the earth as a temple, a dwelling place for himself. Eden in particular is seen as this dwelling place, with God's image, Adam and Eve, placed in Eden to be mediators (priests) of God's presence. In other words, Eden would be understood by its first readers as a sanctuary, a place of worship. And guess what this sanctuary has right next to it? A garden!
So I get excited every time I drive to 1226 Union in the Creston neighborhood of Grand Rapids, because guess what I see in the middle of the city, the middle of my neighborhood? A sanctuary and a garden!
New City Neighbors not only has a community garden but has also started an urban farm that sells shares as a CSA, runs a stand in the neighborhood, and sells produce to local restaurants. Now, some Christians might focus solely on the sanctuary and ignore the garden. But that's not what Genesis or the rest of Scripture does. In tending the garden, we see the value and dignity of work. Work is not just providing for our daily needs but, when done properly, also images God to the rest of creation. Good farming and gardening is one way of being God's priestly representative. In this way, making disciples and making good gardeners are not two opposing things; rather, they fit together right from the beginning of the Bible.
New City Neighbors combines God's mandate in Genesis 1:26-31 with the Great Commission of Matthew 28:19-20. To support NCN in this mission, simply go to newcityneighbors.com and click on the "donate now" box. If you'd like to send a support check, send it to:
New City Neighbors
1226 Union Ave NE
Grand Rapids, MI 49505
Thanks for your support!