Wednesday, May 27, 2015
Dear Linwood Family and Friends,
Is the Christian faith is more like a compost pile or a carton of strawberries?
How many times have you asked yourself that question? O.k., maybe not often, but it still might be something worth pondering.
About a week ago I was shoveling compost out of the compost bins, screening it, and taking wheelbarrow’s full to scatter in our flower beds. This compost was the product of the grass clippings, chipped dead tree branches, shredded garden cuttings, and vegetable scraps from the kitchen that I had mixed in five large bins (4′ x 8′ x 2′) last year.
I was congratulating myself and rating my compost as at least a B+ grade, if not A-. Then I noticed something. The very best compost was at the bottom of the bin. It was the most fully cured, had the least little sticks or other items to be removed. It was … beautiful (as far as compost goes). I found myself thinking how happy some section of gardens would be to receive such compost to begin their summer season.
Then I started thinking, “How many other things are best at the bottom? And, how many things do we choose because of what is on top?”
Earlier that day I had been to Costco and bought – among other things – a large container of strawberries. Several strawberries on the top were gorgeous! However, I knew, even when I picked them out, that those strawberries would be the best ones in the whole container. No strawberry packer puts the best berries on the bottom!
That brings us back to the question of the day. Is the Christian faith more like a box of strawberries or a compost pile? Obviously. I vote for the later, because…
• There is a great joy, excitement and beauty that is experienced when we come to know Christ, but that is just the beginning. There is an even greater joy, confidence, and peace that come as we go deeper in our relationship with Him. The deeper we get into the pile, the better it gets.
• Our faith grows as we experience the struggles (the shredding, chipping, cutting, etc.) that are inevitable in every life. Instead of being afraid to “bruise the fruit,” we are called to search, to question, and to struggle, trusting that God, in the midst of adversity, can bring us to a better place.
• God takes what seems to have used up its value and is now useless, and turns it into something that is a tremendous blessing for others. The dead branches, the clipped grass blades, the shredded flowers were once attractive and “valuable.” They then seem to have little value left. They are “dead,” and chopped up into little pieces. Yet, after a while, they become a source of great nourishment for gardens that will bring beauty and joy to another season, much like the Lord does with us.
• God can take what “stinks” and turn it into something that is sweet smelling!
I realize that all analogies break down. However, this is one that may be worth some reflection. What about you? Do you expect that Christianity is going to be more like a box of strawberries or more like a compost pile?
It was wonderful getting back together in worship last Sunday. What a great feeling of celebration and expectation! Our theme for worship this summer is “Faith and Family.” This is going to be a very challenging season – probably more like exploring a compost pile than devouring a container of strawberries!
Looking forward to seeing each of you this Sunday, or later on in the season.
Blessings in Christ,
Linwood Park Pastor
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