The other day, my wife comes in from the side yard with a handful of tomatoes.
"From our garden?"
"Yes, those are ours." Or more correctly, "Yes, those are hers."
She is the one who makes our three elevated garden spots work. They were built for us out of railroad ties from a neighborhood service project.
The harvest season is upon us. There are signs of it everywhere. Better-looking produce in the grocery stores. Roadside vegetable and fruit stands. Sacks of tomatoes on your doorstep from the neighbors.
The theme of harvest comes up many times in Scripture, sermons, religious writings and acts of service from many religious denominations.
In the Old Testament in the King James version of the Bible, the mention of gardens comes early. Adam and Eve begin in the Garden of Eden, a beautiful place that pretty much took care of itself. Upon being kicked out of Garden of Eden, the couple was told by "the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread (Genesis 3:17)."
Gardens and farms are work. It takes a lot of effort to prepare the ground. It takes effort to sow the seeds and a lot of effort to keep the weeds out. Weeding is usually done in the sweltering summer months, and weeds are often prickly and have longer roots than anything else, to the point were cursing might enter the gardener's mind. It has mine. Harvesting also takes time for gathering and preparing it for consuming. A day's work of home canning is exhausting.
In the New Testament, Jesus uses gardening and farming imagery often: The sower whose seeds fell in rocks, weeds and earth (where they did the best); he compares the mustard seed to faith and also the kingdom of God; he speaks of trees being known by their fruit, either good or corrupt; he speaks of workers of the vineyard and the first being last and the last first; he also curses the fig tree.
Apostle Paul later used the harvest theme in a letter to the Galatians: "Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap."
Pope Francis, as quoted in chicagopriest.com, referred to this theme in April: "This is why Jesus said: 'Pray to the Lord of the harvest,' that is, God the Father, 'that he might send workers for the harvest.'
In missionary teaching and instructions in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the efforts to convert new members is often referred to as a "harvest."
I have come across two gardens operated by church organizations in the Ogden area. I am sure there are many more.
Several stakes of the LDS Church operate a garden just north of Deseret Industries on Wall Avenue, and the congregation of the First United Methodist Church in Marriott-Slaterville has one behind their church. The harvests are often offered to the congregation, homeless shelters, bishops storehouses and community food banks. Fresh carrots are likely a welcome treat to struggling families.
And gardens are a mental, emotional, physical and definitely a spiritual treat for those who brought carrots and the rest of their gardens from seeds to harvest.