I love the springtime. I love the progression from seeming death to life springing up in every sun-baked corner. I love the fresh, new things to eat and the pleasure of warm skin exposed to the sun. Life wins out again with its unlikely power. So I bought a big tub of strawberries to celebrate.
Washing and slicing a huge berry into my cereal bowl I wondered at its size. One berry filled the bowl: honestly, a berry slice in each bite! This marvel of agricultural science was no accident. It was a strategically planned marketing design that berries should grow larger and firmer and be able to withstand the process of transportation and storage so that I could enjoy the slices on my cereal this morning. A great idea, it seemed, until I took a bite.
You have to understand, I grow strawberries out behind the garage. Sure, there’re more weeds than plants right now…well, that’s a different story. I wait and wait, (and usually weed and weed) until, just at the right time (before the slugs get to them) a red jewel of a berry forms and at the peak of sweetness, I pop it into my mouth. I only get a handful at a time, but that handful! The taste of a true strawberry is nothing short of heavenly.
There’s the difference. The commercially grown berry looks beautiful, stores terrifically well, grows fast and large, and sells very well. Even I, who know better, couldn’t resist buying them. But as I sliced the fruit, I saw that the entire middle was hollow. Something had to be sacrificed for the more marketable qualities to be enhanced. And tasting those slices was only just a hint of the flavor of the real fruit of the strawberry plant.
The metaphor for the Church is obvious. As a western culture, we have adopted values – marketing strategies- that we believe have made the gospel of the Kingdom accessible to everyman. We have strategized and packaged and created a product (the evangelical church of the West) that seems to all human eyes, enviable. Anyone who had never tasted the sweetness of the Jesus-led Church would say this model is successful.
But to those who have tasted life led by the Holy Spirit, shared among brothers and sisters who feed one another from the Source of life itself, the fruit is wooden, the taste is a shadow of the real, organic Church. No strategy, no plan, no human leader can replicate the unlikely power of dependence on the Life within the body of Christ.
Simple Church Yakima is an attempt to gather in the original way Jesus taught us. We believe that though imperfect and unglamorous, the fruit of sharing His life among us in homes, in simply following Jesus day by day in our ordinary lives, in shared communion with Father God spontaneously, is sweeter and more life-giving in the end. We hope to listen carefully to His voice, to reproduce disciples who hear His voice and to extend His Kingdom with humility and self-sacrificial love. We hope to bring a richness and sweetness and authenticity to following Christ that produces true, lasting fruit for His glory.
The proof will be in the tasting!
Blessings, Anne for us