This week, my congregation is hosting “Taste and See that God is Good”, a Vacation Bible School for kids. They are spending five mornings this week exploring food–how it grows, why we need it, and how Jesus used it to teach people important truths about life and God.
Every day begins with a skit (in the Kingdom Cafe, of course) and sing-along songs. I love that K. is teaching the kids to sing, “Johnny Appleseed’, something I sang as a grace at meals when I was a camper at Camp Iona and Glen Mhor (now Camp Cairn). Kevin shared the story behind the song, too. For all the times I have heard the song, I never knew he was a real man who sowed real apple seeds!
Johnny Appleseed was actually a man named John Chapman, an American apple farmer in the 1800’s. His dream was to produce so many apples that no one would ever go hungry. It is said that he always carried a leather bag filled with apple seeds that he had collected from cider mills. He planted them as he travelled, and so became known as the “apple seed man”. Later he was simply called, “Johnny Appleseed”.
Some people think he was a dreamy wanderer who planted apple seeds here and there in the countryside. Others think he was a careful and organized businessman who bought and sold tracts of land to develop thousands of productive apple trees. Either way, Johnny Appleseed planted plenty of trees. And plenty of people have been fed by his foresight and hard work.
As a gardener, I think that Johnny Appleseed is a great example. He didn’t just concern himself with feeding himself or his family–he fed people he would never even meet!
I wonder what would happen if I had my own leather bag with seeds in it? Maybe I could spread spinach and swiss chard all over Ontario? I don’t think the kids would be nearly as excited to sing about that as they were this morning, singing about apples: