Drummond Hill Newsletter, April 20, 2022
Wednesday Meditation (Luke 13:6-9)
Then he told this parable: ‘A man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came looking for fruit on it and found none. So he said to the gardener, “See here! For three years I have come looking for fruit on this fig tree, and still I find none. Cut it down! Why should it be wasting the soil?” He replied, “Sir, let it alone for one more year, until I dig round it and put manure on it. If it bears fruit next year, well and good; but if not, you can cut it down.” ’
Planting season is upon us. We are beginning to scour nurseries, pop-up plant sale tents around the supermarket parking lots, and garden stores for flowers, shrubs, trees, and vegetable seedlings. There is an urge deep inside of us to plant and get ready for summer. All gardeners, or wannabe gardeners, are getting busy everywhere, even though we know that we are not supposed to plant anything until after the frost threat is totally gone.
As a faith community, we are good at maintenance. Like gardeners in the midsummer and early fall, we weed, trim, and harvest. We expect flowers, fruits, and vegetables to flourish in our gardens. After all, we put lots of effort into making sure our church is productive and brings glory to God.
As we keep the church operating with our best efforts, what we often do not think about is the role of advocacy. I do not mean advocating for the poor, the sick, and the marginalised. I mean the advocacy of speaking for those who fail to meet expectations and live up to their potential. We are quick to judge and dissociate ourselves from those who are burdensome and are failing to be Christians.
Luke reminds us through this parable that like this gardener, we, too, as Christ’s followers, ought to ask our Lord to give those who are failing or not meeting expectations a second chance. Here our advocacy comes with the responsibility of making sure that necessary supports are in place for them to succeed. After all, a good gardener is the one who fertilises and nurtures the tree to see if it will bear fruit abundantly. We, too, like the gardener, do our best for them to succeed.
Drummond Hill 3.0
What is Christ’s ministry in the resurrection church of the 21st century?
We know things change. Sometimes things change so dramatically that we don't remember what it used to be like. We simply assume things were different in our younger years. It is when we put things side by side that we come to see how things have changed.
Here are side by side pictures of the current Eaton Centre and old Eaton Department Store in Downtown Toronto. You would notice that both buildings do exactly the same thing. They house many brands and merchandise. The difference is that the current Eaton Centre houses many smaller stores owned by many people. The old one was owned by the Eaton family as they sold all kinds of different products and brands. This model of retail is changing rapidly with online shopping. Many of these stores owned by many individuals are trying their best to figure out what retail sales will be like.
I remember reading from Peter Drucker (1190's leadership guru) that trying to look out the window as we plan to meet the needs of people today is a sure way to fail. He meant that a plan always has to be a way to build for the future. Planning to thrive today is a sure way to be blind to things that will happen tomorrow. Any plan also requires clarity in ways that those who will enjoy the fruits of a plan will see where it is headed. Planners, on the other hand, ought to know that there will be reluctance, scepticism, resistance, and refusal. It means all plans, however simple or self-evident, requires lots of work of understanding, explaining, and continual sharing with patience. One thing that is in our favour is that this new plan is our sincere discernment in how God is to be worshipped and served in the future.
The main thing for us now is to begin implementing the plan. As we share and explain the plan, it is now time for us to begin the work of digging for foundations. It starts NOW!
So what are we starting now? We are building toward a flourishing community of faith where people care for each other in ways the love of Christ is real. Cinnamon Bun Tuesdays is the start of this caring community. We will come together to share with each other who we are and be nourished physically and more importantly spiritually. Please, come and join us for this start. It is a simple gesture of care that will make Christ love alive for all. Monthly Tea Tastings is another. And for younger folks, monthly Spicy and Fragrant is the beginning of laying the foundation for this new community of Christians.
Please remember to pray for many people, especially those who are not well. Also pray for those whom we have not seen for a while. There are many who have been staying at home and have not been out for a long while.
As we continue to look for ways to become a resurrection community, let’s talk about what this resurrection community for us looks like. As we have been praying, we will be a community of believers who learn from the Bible first and foremost. Our focus is fully on God’s Word. One major way we approach God’s Word for us is that we read God’s Word with humbleness and humility. As Paul says in Philippians 2:3, “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility regard others as better than yourselves.” In this , we will consider those who interpret God’s Word differently than we do as ones who are better than us rather than argue or dispute, causing divisions among the followers of Christ. This humility does not mean that we throw our faith in Christ. It means to honour and love others in the same way we would like to be treated.
This practice of humbleness and humility is far more difficult than we think. It is to be firm, yet, fully loving and caring without letting our judgement get in front of us. This spirit of humility and humbleness is to count ourselves less, while loving and serving them in ways that glorifies God. Yes, it is hard to resist our desires to correct and fight on God’s behalf. But we remember how Paul became a Jew to the Jews and a gentile to the Gentiles in order to seed the Gospel of Christ.
In this picture we see a sinful woman washing Jesus’ feet, first with her tears, and wiping her tears with her hair. Then, she anoints Jesus’ feet with an expensive perfume. (Luke 7:37,38).
As sinners before God, we are to demonstrate the same humility and humbleness as she does, not only to Jesus, but also to one another.
These humbleness and humility we embody come from Jesus who washed feet of his disciples as they supped together. In this picture on the right we see Jesus not only washing Peter’s feet, but also gently kissing. He is the example we follow and truly come to love all those who belong to Christ. Our resurrection community will demonstrate these virtues in serving others.