Thursday, August 1, 2013


Last Saturday, we visited Spiral Path Farm where we are a part of a CSA.  Each week, we are the proud, curious, and sometimes confused {more on that in a bit} recipients of a box of organic produce.

We pick it up.

We peek inside.

We marvel at the colors and textures of un-messed with nature. 

This is our first year participating and we just didn't know what to expect.  It's been pretty amazing thus far.  Talk about eating the rainbow!  We've had everything from garlic scapes, to strawberries, to kale, to beets, and, of course, zucchini--lots of it.  We even got homemade Italian herb vinegar.

Each week, in addition to the veggies, SPF includes a newsletter with that week's crop, some recipes for those items you just don't know what to do with {think garlic scapes...btw--they're awesome} and a short write-up.  The newsletter story is always different; typically a glimpse into life on the farm.

This past week, they interviewed the young grandchildren of the farm owners.  One of the questions was to describe the CSA.  Come to think of it...what is a CSA?  CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture.  Each "share" helps support the farm for a specific amount of produce in return.  It's not really like going to the grocery store because you can't choose what you get in your weekly box.  You don't just send money and food arrives.  There is an investment.

You get what is in season.

You get the crops that survive and thrive.

The latest newsletter explained why CSAs are the way they are and why they seem to be growing in popularity.  CSAs are a community of people who help sustain the farm.  If you know anybody who is a farmer, you know that there are years of plenty and years of famine.

There is risk.

We are part of that risk.  If this is a bad year, we lose out on the bounty that might have been.  But if it's a good year {like this year!}, we have a huge amount of beautiful leafy greens, juicy berries, and crisp cucumbers to eat.  Risk.

God has a way of teaching us hard -- to the core -- lessons when we least expect it.  I was recently reading a Henri Nouwen book titled The Return of the Prodigal Son.  The book is so insanely intimate that it's taken me over a year to get two-thirds of the way through it.  Nouwen conveys some of the thoughts we've thought and feelings we've felt about the spiritual life in a way that makes me uncomfortable.   

I mean...nobody else actually thinks the thoughts I do...right?  
                    And even if they do, we wouldn't talk about it, right?

We know the story of the prodigal son.  We read it in Luke 15:11-32.

Nouwen writes on page 53,  

     "One of the greatest challenges of the spiritual life is to receive God's forgiveness.  There is something in us humans that keeps us clinging to our sins and prevents us from letting God erase our past and offer us a completely new beginning.  Sometimes it even seems as though I want to prove to God that my darkness is too great to overcome.  While God wants to restore me to the full dignity of sonship, I keep insisting that I will settle for being a hired servant.  But do I truly want to be restored to the full responsibility of the son?  Do I truly want to be so totally forgiven that a completely new way of living becomes possible?  Do I trust myself and such a radical reclamation?  Do I want to break away from my deep-rooted rebellion against God and surrender myself so absolutely to God's love that a new person can emerge?  Receiving forgiveness requires a total willingness to let God be God and do all the healing, restoring, and renewing.  As long as I want to do even a part of that myself, I end up with partial solutions, such as becoming a hired servant.  As a hired servant, I can still keep my distance, still revolt, reject, strike, run away, or complain about my pay.  As the beloved son, I have to claim my full dignity and begin preparing myself to become the father." 

So.  Back to risk.

Staying where we are in our spiritual lives is safe.  Staying in a comfortable role {read: sinner} is safe.  The prodigal son had convinced himself that it was better to return to his father as a hired hand than stay in his job as a pig slop deliverer.  Despite having full rights as a SON, he settled for hired hand.  His father, however, set him straight.



That cannot be undone.

What am I settling for?  Full restoration as a son or daughter of God means letting go of control.  Eeeeeeeek.  How much farther along in my spiritual journey could I be if I would hand over the reins to...hmmm, I don't know...the Almighty God?

We say that we fear the bad stuff but I think we also equally fear the good stuff.

Otherwise, wouldn't we all be embracing forgiveness, reconciliation, and hope?  We wouldn't be living under the oppression of guilt, fear, and sin.  But we are.  We have full rights as sons and daughters of God yet we don't claim them.  WE HAVE TO TRY.  WE CAN'T SETTLE.  

The risk we take with the farm -- committing {blindly} to a share of the crop -- mirrors the risk we take when we fully trust God.


There is no chance that God won't deliver.  To us, we are entering the unknown realm of full surrender.  It's not, however, unknown territory for God.  The risk is ALL ours.  The burdens we carry are heavy and cumbersome...but they have become our identity.  Just like the prodigal son, we truly see ourselves as the sum total of our defeats.

Thankfully, the father points out his true identity. 

Ideal opportunity for a family photo except Micah was distracted by a REAL TRACTOR and Grace was...well, being 5yo.

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