Worship In The Garden

One of the things I love about the beginnings of this church community is that it’s a place where I can make mistakes.  Big, dumb, obvious mistakes.   Do you know what I realized as we gathered to worship in the garden in the sunshine?

I’ve been using a candle to represent the presence of the Spirit, which makes sense.  But I left out the cross.  That right there is a big mistake.  We talk about the cross a lot, but, well, we need to get a cross as a central sacramental image in here.  That’s about as big as it gets. 

The weather this week has been so fantastic, and everyone we know has been so much happier as a result.  This gave us a chance to worship in the sunshine in our garden. 

We’re still looking at John 15:4, and asking “how do we live in Christ?” from a Sacramental, Evangelical, and Pentecostal perspective.  I pointed out that each of these three traditions would answer that question differently, and I asked “so if they all have different answers, which one is correct?”  Coleton replied, “Um, all of them.”  Well done!  

This morning we started exploring the Pentecostal answer to this question, which would affirm a real encounter with the Holy Spirit.  I asked how radio waves work, and Coleton gave a good explanation.  Radio waves are all around us, but we can’t hear it, and Emma pointed out that we don’t have a receiver with us.  I then observed that we’re in range of the wifi router, which means that the ability to access the internet is passing through our bodies, but we can’t see the internet, for the same reason we can’t hear the radio.  

In some ways, the presence of the Holy Spirit is like those radio waves.  It’s all around us, we don’t see it or feel it all the time, and yet the Spirit is always talking to us.  Our relationship with God, our “living in Christ” as described in John 15:4, involves learning how to cultivate the ability to listen.  

This discussion very quickly shifted into a discussion about analogy, and the limits of analogy, as our middle schoolers started talking about ways in which radio waves are not like God.  Ah, another opportunity for me to cultivate patience.  And, as an evangelical, when something starts going sideways, my first gut instinct is to return to the Word, so we did.  

While I don’t have the grape vines described in John 15:4, I do have a strawberry plant behind me, and so we looked at the strawberry plant.  The roots are God, the stalk is Jesus, the vines are us, and the strawberries is the life that is created with the relationship between God and us.  

Oh the strawberry harvest is always one of my favorite times of the year!  I’m looking forward to seeing if this discussion comes back up again when we go berry picking in a few weeks.