“But as for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty.” – Jesus, Matthew 13:23
Yesterday at Wake Forest Presbyterian Church, guest preacher Allen Brimer shared what’s happening with “Farm Church,” his new church plant over in Durham. There’s nothing unusual about starting a new church, but Allen and his colleague – Ben Johnson-Krase – are building an entire ministry around responding to God’s call to feed the hungry.
We started with an intergenerational discipleship hour, first talking about food insecurity, and then moving out into our own church garden to harvest produce in support of the Farm Church initiative.
It was a lot of fun, and I was impressed at the way people enthusiastically dug into the soil – in their Sunday clothes – immediately immersed in their work.
We’re certainly no strangers to hunger ministries here at WFPC, and we’re involved in a number of highly effective local and international efforts. But the beauty of yesterday’s emphasis was to fold our entire education and worship experience into the same theme, effectively challenging absolutely everyone to take Christ’s words seriously, and to encourage one another to love in more practical ways… and to export that love into the world around us.
In that context, worship was – once again – a joyful explosion of light and love. I guess I could write about how Rebekah grabbed a wheelbarrow full of Swiss Chard and turned it into a remarkably interactive children’s message; and I could sing the praises of the wonderful bluegrass band that led the singing; or I could recommend listening to Allen’s message on our Facebook live-feed.
But instead I’ll leave you with this (paraphrased) story from Allen. Three years ago to the day (July 16, 2014) his colleague, Ben, woke up from a dream where he showed up for worship and found himself on a farm. That was it: “An embarrassingly short dream,” Allen said. At that time the two friends were preachers in traditional churches, several states and several hundred miles apart. It was 3:00 in the morning. Within 20 minutes Ben had purchased the domain name, “FarmChurch.org,” and the next day he shared the nascent vision with his friend.
My point in this post is not just to say that God works in mysterious ways – mysterious… bizarre… odd… cryptic ways – but that God works. Let me say that again, but louder: GOD WORKS! GOD WORKS!
Our responsibility is to be attentive, to seek God, and to listen. Then it’s up to us to actually do something in response.
As a worshiping community, Wake Forest Presbyterian is doing so much – I’m often blown away by this amazing church body. But God’s message to us Sunday morning, through Allen Brimer, was to pay more attention, and to seek God constantly. So that, and because we follow Jesus, even more light, and life, and love will spill over into this community.
Peace, and more peace; in love, and because of love – DEREK