Monday, March 23, 2015

"Practice Resurrection"

I (Reed) read through many publications in any given month, but one of my favorites is Cardus' Comment Magazine. They're amazing exemplars of writing, photography, and thorough thinking. With their permission, I'm reposting a bit from their Fall 2014 Edition. I thought it applied well to the nature of this blog, as many of you can relate to the experiences of this family that patronizes a market in Grand Rapids.

"The Fulton Street Farmer's Market is a hallowed place for our family. For a decade, the market was pretty much our front yard, so we easily fell into almost daily rhythms that incorporated the market. Having moved just a mile away hasn't made much difference: visiting the market is a nonnegotiable liturgy in our house. In fact, if you ever visit the refurbished Fulton Street Market in Grand Rapids, peruse the memorial bricks that line the upper square and look for a brick that simply exhorts, "Practice resurrection." That's ours.

After our final visit each year to find a Christmas tree, we impatiently wait through the dark, cold vegetal desert that is winter for that first Saturday in May when the market re-opens. We then visit every week, excited to fill our basket with the latest seasonal offerings: "Is asparagus almost done?" we ask."Raspberries next week?" we hope. "Is the corn ready yet?" Eventually the Boetsmas' tables are spilling over with a rainbow of burgeoning piles: green peppers and red radishes and white cauliflower and yellow corn and earthy potatoes. This cornucopia of color is the gold that emerges from a famous Hudsonville muck-a ribbon of fertile soil outside of town, the rich remnants of an ancient river-bed.

We even go to the market on days we don't need anything, just to rub shoulders in what functions as our town square. In a metropolitan area of half a million people, we'll always run into folks we know: fellow shoppers, but also longtime vendors like "the garlic ladies" or "the honey guy." There is something humanizing about commerce in such a place.

It's also an intersection, a space where town meets country. Like the "market days" of old, even this twenty-first century market still replays the country coming to town. For some of us city slickers, this is as close as we'll get to the soil. And I sometimes wonder what these farmers and their children must think. They rose at 4:30am, throwing on their sweat pants and a cap, to begin packing the trucks and heading into town to open and await our advent. "We" then begin to arrive, in our Subarus and Volvos, pushing $300 strollers in our Patagonia jackets, Starbucks lattes in hand. The later crowd arrives with their beards and tattoos and blonde dreadlocks and babies swaddled about them in homemade baby slings asking whether the broccoli is organic. We're all so earnest. What a sight we must sometimes be.

And yet here we all are, town and country, farmers and philosophers, butchers and bearded artists, enjoying the fruit of creation, the produce of their cultivation, engaged in the creational good of market exchange- and it is good.

There is a common grace in the very stability and durability of the market and what it makes possible. This year I've been particularly struck when I look at the Visser Family Farm booth. The man in charge now-with his burly shoulders and closely cropped red hair, who manages the whole scene with a simple smile but firm hand-was probably thirteen years old when we first started coming here. Back then he had a shock of unruly red hair and was already eager to serve. He had an uncanny ability for small talk with adults who lived in another world. You could see he was being apprenticed. Now he is the master. I depend on him on ways he could never know."

 Quality, right? Cardus puts out entire magazines full of this four times a year! This particular article was written by James K.A. Smith, the editor of Comment Magazine. If you want to buy a year subscription to Comment, Click Here you'll be glad you did.

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