Spider Sense


It is not unusual to see a pair of young lovers strolling in a garden, but it’s a little unusual when they start spinning webs!

A pair of black and yellow argiope (orb spiders) has built an amazing web in the Rising Light Garden behind Hempfield Church of the Brethren. According to fcps.edu, the female builds the large web and the male adds the thick zig-zag pattern. The anchor strands feel like aluminum wire!

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I noticed the web and this spider today while picking the last of the season’s tomatoes. This spring HCOB decided to remove a 20’ x 40’ patch of grass from what used to be right field back in the days when the ping of aluminum bats rang across the fields of East Hempfield Township. The idea was to plant a garden and donate all of the produce to Water Street Rescue Mission in Lancaster. Many churches do something like this and indeed we used to do it back in the 70’s too. But what prompted the 2014 effort was looking around and asking, “What are we able to do for the Kingdom? What gifts and resources do we have?” The Church of the Brethren even helped us get started with a grant from a program it has developed to encourage this sort of thing.

Our property sits on some of the world’s most fertile land and so it was no surprise when the tomato stakes started breaking under the weight of the softball-sized tomatoes. We planted and tended but God made things grow. And what a joy it has been to drop off over twenty bags of fresh food to the loading dock of the mission!

Four months ago, our young couple would not have chosen this spot to build their home—a large field of grass is not the best place to catch bugs. But now all sorts of creatures fly and crawl and jump around there because of the delicious leaves, fruit and vegetables that grow there. Some of them, the spiders hope, will find their way into the web. (If the husband’s name is Roy and one of their male children stay to help, would he call the business Roy Orb and Son?)

Sometimes someone has to get things started so that people can have something to join. Heifer International, Brethren Volunteer Service and so many other organizations started slowly and then people caught the vision. Multi-billion dollar enterprises have started in a person’s garage. We plan to expand the garden next year and hopefully every year after that.

Is God calling you to start something? Is God calling you to join something? Everybody has a gift that can be used in some fashion to bless someone. Everyone can be the hands of feet of Christ is some way. Ask God to search your heart today. If you’re lucky, He might break it for something or someone. And then you’ll probably have a good idea of what to do!


...and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday. -- Isaiah 58:10


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