Friday, July 27, 2007

Two Saplings are Planted

In ancient Hebrew literature, a Vineyard is often symbolic of life and prosperity and blessings from God. The story of the ancient Hebrews is one of a people being called out and charged with caring for His handiwork. They were also greatly blessed by God -- in order to be a blessing to the world around them.

After 20+ years of life and growth in a community of Jesus followers affiliated with the the Vineyard, we are continuing to follow The Master by following our hearts and dreams as God calls us to a new adventure in Salem, Oregon.

The way in which our community gathers will differ from traditional models of Vineyard churches, in that we will be home-based rather than church-building-based. With no paid staff, we will work in our respective professions and live in The Way of Jesus wherever we find ourselves.

Since our heart's purpose is the same, but our model differs, we are choosing to stay affiliated with the Vineyard, but also choosing a new name which reflects our unique situation and personality.
We are choosing to call ourselves The Orchard because an orchard is a collection of trees, intentionally planted by The Orchard Master, as an expression of beauty, and as a source of healthy nutritious fruit. And if we, collectively, are like an orchard then individually, we are like trees.

Writer, poet, and leader in the Emergent church movement Mark Scandrette captures this idea very well in his book Soul Graffiti: Making a Life in The Way of Jesus:
To sustain life, a tree must stay both rooted in the soil and open to the energy of sunlight and carbon dioxide. If a tree is cut or pulled out of the soil, where it draws water and nutrients, it will eventually die. Similarly, if a tree is shielded from the radiance of the sun it will eventually wither away. The life of a tree is an apt metaphor for...making a life in the way of Jesus. To see the Creator's genesis-vision fulfilled in our lives we need to be both rooted in the soil of our humanity, people, and place and open to the transcendent energy of God.

The dirt of life in the here and now provides the nutrients to cultivate a life with God. We also need exposure to the Spirit of God surrounding us. Jesus demonstrated a life that was grounded in humanity and struggle and open to the energy and breadth of God. We find him in the marketplace caring for the needs of people and on the mountainside connecting with the eternal Father. His life was an example of dynamic unity and synergy between the pursuit to love God and everything that God has made. And this is the life we are being invited into.
We desire to form a community of people trying to model ourselves in The Way of Jesus, The Master. Like trees in His orchard, we want to bear fruit in our lives which offers sustenance to others around us, and join with God in fulfilling His dreams of beauty in all we are and do.

But for now we are just two saplings He has lovingly tended and cared for. He has now bound up our roots and is transplanting us to the rich soil and temperate climate of the Willamette Valley in Oregon.We look forward to the adventure and invite you to join with us as we put down roots and begin to grow.

4 comments:

Tom Zawacki said...

Hi Keith:

Great post, "The Orchard” very cool name, powerful symbolism, I like it!

Metaphorically trees represent leaders - an orchard filled with trees = a community filled with leaders - sounds about right when I think of you guys.

You made reference to Ancient Hebrew, have you ever checked out this website on the pictorial language of Ancient Hebrew? I think you might like it.

http://www.ancient-hebrew.org/

PS. I love the pictures!

Z

Nadine said...

I'll be excited to see where this leads you. The name is great. I pray that this new season will bring you joy and peace.

LL said...

Can't wait to taste some of the fruit!

Good luck and don't forget to call us AS SOON AS you're settled!!!

JJ said...

K & C: We're standing with you! The journey continues...woohoo! The Fredricks