Freedom Child Care Center, located on Pleasant Lake Road in Ann Arbor, Mich., is a Christ-centered child care devoted to providing children, from infants to pre-Kindergarten, with quality nurturing and training in God’s Word. Recently, thanks to a Thrivent Action Grant and dedicated parents and families associated with the child care, Freedom has built an above-ground vegetable garden and a “natural” playground. Both of these additions are reminders that, while we build with our hands earthly things that will ultimately pass away, the Lord builds His Kingdom through His Word which will never pass away.
First, the Bible begins and ends with two garden scenes. In the beginning, God places man in a garden with the tree of life—the Garden of Eden (Genesis 1); at the fulfillment of time there is also a garden with the tree of life, producing leaves that are healing for the nations (Revelation 22). In that last garden, everything will be brought to its fullness in the Lord. But there is a garden and tree that stand in between these two that Christians must recognize. The garden and tree in between are the only way that this healing, wholeness, and redemption is brought about. That garden is the Garden of Gethsemane and that tree is the the Cross of Jesus Christ. In that garden, Jesus begins His suffering on our behalf and all creation—He begins to endure agony and pain in order to reconcile the world to God. On the tree of the Cross, He completes His suffering to atone for our sins when He cries, “It is finished.” Moreover, the revelation that “He is risen,” proving He accomplished what He was sent to earth to do, happens in a garden, when He is mistaken to be a gardener (John 20:14).
Second, the Lord has promised that what He builds by His Word will endure. Though we in this life will build up our bodies through eating and physical activity, the Lord Himself builds us up as His living, holy temple through His Word. What He gives in this life for exercise and recreation is to be used and enjoyed according to His design; but what He promises to give us when He rebuilds all things, that gift will be greater than any enjoyment or recreation that we can have here and now. He gives that gift through His Word and Sacrament—the very means by which He builds His eternal Kingdom. So, while we play and exercise for this life, the Lord gives us His Word to build us up for eternity.
At Freedom Child Care Center, the goal is not simply to educate the children in basic skills to prepare them for school, but to build them up in lives of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; to plant God’s Word in their hearts and minds that it may sprout forth and bear fruit in their lives. This planting of and building up in the Word of God happens at Freedom by hearing God’s Word, singing God’s Word, and praying God’s Word. The dedicated staff at Freedom Child Care Center implements this through Chapel services, Bible-based teaching, and compassionate service to the children. The Lord Jesus Christ promises that His Word will not come back void, and it is from this promise that Freedom carries out its ministry.
Photos courtesy of Freedom Childcare Center