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Spring Break 2010: Day one

One of the text’s for today’s morning prayer was the story of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead. It’s a story I’ve heard a thousand times, but I don’t think I’d heard it in quite a while. I was struck during this reading by the number of people who told Jesus upon his arrival that “if he’d only been there before Lazarus died, he could have healed him.” It seems that people hadn’t quite gotten the picture yet of the power in this new thing Jesus was doing. They thought he only had the ability to heal, but he was about to show that he was after something much bigger: to defeat even death, the worst fate we can imagine.
Even death; those two words kept turning over in my mind while we were sitting in silence.
We left the Hermitage after breakfast and headed over to Huss School to begin our work for the day. Several folks drove down from Grand Rapids to join us for the day–including a few additional Calvin students and staff, plus a couple *cino supporters (thanks everyone!). For our three work hours, we gathered all of the miscellaneous stuff from around the school into a few rooms to begin sorting it and started cleaning the gymnasium for a future rummage sale or auction. Though there was a lot of stuff scattered throughout the building, we were able to gather most of it in a short amount of time. Many hands really do help quite a bit!
Often, when I look around at the bigness of the project we’ve taken on at Huss School, I get completely overwhelmed. There is so much to do if we’re going to get to where we want to be with this space and it is all going to cost so much money. How are we going to do any of this? What have we gotten ourselves into? It was good, then, to have prayed this morning and to hear in the silence: “even death.” Yes, this project is huge and overwhelming … but God has defeated death! We, then, can surely come alongside the Spirit to breathe new life into this old school building.
After a short lunch break, we visited with several small-scale farmers in Marcellus who are challenging conventional agriculture wisdom. Dale Hasenick of White Yarrow Farm has been running a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program for several years now and is a great model for how someone can make a living growing food (albeit modest). It was wonderful to hear Dale talk about the soil variation from where we were digging out carrots to the land 30 yards away–a beautiful kind of intimate familiarity with the land. We met Randy Ewert who, after almost 20 years of farming on the side, is attempting to go into full-time farm work this year–raising sheep and chickens; growing a wide variety of fruits, vegetables and herbs; and harvesting maple syrup. Finally, we spoke with Luke Nofsinger, a recent graduate with a degree in journalism, who has decided to start his own farming business instead of pursuing a journalism career.
We headed back to the Hermitage for an amazing meal featuring carrots we’d dug up at Dale’s farm in a tasty carrot soup, plus a white bean spinach pasta. We took our time cutting vegetables and preparing the meal, then lingered over the table while enjoying a wonderful conversation reflecting on the day. Most of the Grand Rapids contingency didn’t leave until well after the sun had set.
As I’m typing this, it is now well after midnight. I must adjourn if I am to be of any use tomorrow.