The Three Sisters: Cultivating Harmony in God’s Garden

By Ernesto Hernandez, Washington Conference Media director

Part of our garden at home is dedicated to preparing a lot where we will cultivate a milpa, a traditional farming method I learned while working on my grandfather's crops as a child.

The milpa is an ingenious system that utilizes the Three Sisters—corn, beans, and squash—planted together to support and benefit each other. In this setup, the corn provides a natural trellis for the beans to climb, the beans enrich the soil by fixing nitrogen, and the squash's broad leaves help retain moisture and suppress weeds.

This method not only maximizes space and yield but also embodies the essence of interdependence and sustainability.

Growing up observing and participating in this practice taught me invaluable lessons about collaboration and the wisdom of traditional knowledge. It's fascinating to see how these principles translate into the broader context of our community life. Just as in a milpa, where each plant contributes to the health and success of the others, our communities thrive when different generations come together, sharing wisdom, energy, and support.

The elders in our lives, much like the corn in the milpa, offer support and stability, their deep roots and tall presence providing guidance and support. Our youth, like the beans, bring freshness and vitality, their innovative spirit helping us reach new heights. And just as the squash covers the ground, our collective efforts protect and nourish the environment where we all grow.

Psalm 133:1 celebrates this harmony, stating,

How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity!

This scripture echoes the beautiful symbiosis found in a milpa and urges us to emulate such unity in our lives.

As we tend to our own gardens, whether literal or metaphorical, let's remember the lessons from the milpa. By listening to the stories of those who've walked before us and sharing our own dreams and ideas, we can create a thriving community where everyone feels valued and has a place to grow. Together, we can cultivate a space that reflects the love, respect, and mutual support inherent in God’s garden.