Bethlehem Farm: Wind and Flame
By: Matt Hubbard, Caretaker Emeritus, St. Louis MO
In the Old Testament, wind and flame are some of the signs of the presence of God. As the Bible opens, God’s Spirit (the same Hebrew word as “wind”) moved over the chaos waters, preparing to bring the spark of life to the universe. Moses experienced God in a flame in a bush on Mt. Sinai. Flame led the Israelites into the wilderness after a strong wind opened a path through the Red Sea. A fiery cloud of God’s glory entered the Tabernacle in Exodus and then moved to Solomon’s temple in 1 Kings. The prophet Elijah gains courage and counsel in the whispering wind on the same mountain that Moses had seen God’s fire centuries before.
As the New Testament opens, the Spirit wind of God is upon a fiery new teacher named Jesus who gathers a community to be the kingdom of heaven on Earth. After Jesus’s death, resurrection and ascension that Spirit wind and flame enters the community of his followers at Pentecost. Just like the Spirit over the chaos waters, this wind and flame lights the spark of life into the community to begin the ministry of Jesus as his Body.
My name is Matt Hubbard. I was a Caretaker for a year and a half. I now live in St. Louis with my wife Laura (also a former caretaker of 5 years) and our two kids Felicity and Max. I teach Social Studies and Social Justice to Middle School students at St. Ann Catholic School. Our school is dedicated to Catholic Social Teaching and Care for Creation. I also run the school’s farm. We have 25 beds, 8 fruit trees and 40 chickens and are expanding our ministry by building new gardens in the yards of our school families.
Wind and flame are some of my most profound experiences of God at Bethlehem Farm; the silent moments of listening to the wind or the loud moments of community around a campfire. So we, the ones who have left the mountaintop are the wind and flame of the community of the Farm. The spark of life has been lit in us to carry to all corners of this round world.
Community is united by its stories. With this blog I am asking for stories from the diaspora of the Bethlehem Farm’s wind and flame. As you carry the Cornerstones with you to your community what successes have you had? What failures have you learned from?
Please send me your stories at firstname.lastname@example.org. No need to make them a novel. I may suggest edits or ask if you could expand on your thoughts. Then I will post them on this blog as encouragement and inspiration. If you have a photo to go with your story, great, send it along, but if you don’t have a photo, then please send your story all the same.