Between the three walls of the Makefield Elementary School and its playground is a wonderful raised vegetable and flower garden where children can come to see how plants grow. Eagle scouts built this garden for a community project. It is divided into five sections with gravel paths between the planted areas. An open, wood arbor covers the center walkway. There is a bench, surrounded by zinnias and other annuals, at the end of this walkway, and next to it is a wooden box with a glass door. Inside the box are many children's books.
A few weeks ago my grandson Ben and I spend some time in this garden. We found corn plants, carrots and herbs. A good portion of one section of the garden is filled with all sizes of sunflowers. Sparrows flit around a bird feeder hanging from the arbor. Morning glories, with their dark blue flowers, are twined around two of the legs of the arbor. Butterflies are everywhere, enticed by the row of Butterfly bushes on one side of the building.
Ben opened the treasure box of books as I sat on the bench to take in the diversity of plants around me. He selected a book that I used to read to my daughters--Are You My Mother? We read several other books before he selected one called Raspberries: An American Tale of Cooperation by Mary Newell DePalma. It is the story of a bird who is born with only one wing. She could not fly with her two brothers who took off to pick raspberries from the bushes in the park. She did the only thing she could do--jump down from the nest and begin to walk. Along the way she met a dog who decided to help her get to her destination. They walked toward the park and were confronted with a busy highway that had to be crossed in order to get to the park. The button to stop traffic and allow walkers to cross the road was positioned high on the traffic light pole.
As the dog and bird were trying to figure out what to do a chipmunk scurried over the join them. The pole was too slippery for him to climb. Next, a frog came over to learn about their dilemma. He tried to use his jumping ability to reach the button but could not jump high enough. Eventually, the four animals figured out that if they cooperate with one another they could press the button. They made a tower by climbing on one another's backs. The bird at the top was able to peck the button with her beak and traffic stopped. They crossed the road together and all of them enjoyed picking and eating raspberries from the bushes in the park.
Each animal in this story came with a gift but, alone, they could not use their gift to accomplish the goal. It is only as they cooperated with one another that they had success. The Bible talks about how God has given to each person different gifts for the common good of the Church. It is through using these gifts, in unity, that we obtain the fruits of the Spirit. "Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others..." (1 Peter 4:10) "It was He who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God's people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ." (Ephesians 4:11-13)
This is our goal--to obtain the fullness of Christ. When we use our gifts for this common goal and operate in a spirit of unity we will see the fruit of unity.
Joan E. Mathias