…let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another–and all the more as you see the Day approaching. –Hebrews 10: 22-25
I found this tasty morsel hiding in the pages of my favorite church cookbook:
A Church Garden
First, plant five rows of peas:
Presence, Promptness, Preparation, Purity, Perseverance
Next to those, plant three rows of squash:
Squash gossip, Squash criticism, Squash indifference
No garden is complete without turnips:
Turn up for the meetings, turn up with a smile, turn up with new ideas, turn up with determination to make everything count for something good and worthwhile.
While the poem can be enjoyed solely at face value, deeper truths are found when you look below the surface. Rather than “squashing” too often our churches can be filled with the poisonous ingredients listed above, which hurt not only our own churches, but the reputation of the Church itself.
The early church dealt with this openly and honestly. The author of Hebrews gives us a glimpse of some of its own struggles. Some of the faithful had given up meeting together and some had fallen prey to a spirit of discouragement. But as the Church, we are called to persevere in times of difficulty and to be set apart from actions that hinder the work of Jesus Christ. Today, may we have the courage to check ourselves and find ways we can begin encouraging those in our own community of faith.
It takes every person doing his or her part to make the Church complete, every man, woman, grandparent or child. How are you fulfilling your God-gifted role?
1 Corinthians 12:12-31