Thursday, September 20, 2012

Why Farmers are Better Preachers than Preachers

Last Saturday, Bek and I took the kids and her parents to Appleberry Farm. Apple-picking is a fall ritual for Bek, and we've been enjoying the prospect of our first Wisconsin autumn for some time. So we get there and there are pumpkins and hills and bee colonies and German brats soaked in apple cider, with onions, served on soft rolls. And of course apples. We leave with a bag full of apples, a jar of apple butter, a half-dozen apple donuts, a jug of apple cider, and honey (from the bees).

We also paid a dollar each for a hayride that ran the perimeter of the farm, with periodic stops at which our tour guide explained things like how the slope of the hill on which the orchard is planted protects the trees from cold and why bees are so important. At one such stop, our guide explained that the farmers train the trees to grow wide because "a tree that only grows up and doesn't branch out won't bear as much fruit."

And maybe it's because the Lectionary has been strolling us slowly through James these past weeks, but the farmer's words in that moment preached the sermon by themselves; the reminder that love of God and love of neighbor are of one piece, a seamless garment, because of the love of the One who loved us on the tree.

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