Daily Devotions
 
Daily Devotion
Good Shepherd Lutheran Church

Daily Devotion

UNITY

Ephesians 4:11-13 
11The gifts he gave were that some would be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, 12to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, 13until all of us come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to maturity, to the measure of the full stature of Christ.

For the first time ever, Tikkun Farm is hosting a job training program this summer for recent high-school graduates. Seven youth come to Tikkun Farm 5 days a week for 9 weeks this summer to learn urban farming practices, in addition to receiving job coaching sessions and entering into mentoring relationships. The goal at the end of the summer is for each of them to be employment-ready. 

GSLC also came to Tikkun Farm this summer with 7 youth this past week. However, these youth are all still in high-school and while we learned a thing or two about an urban farming practice, our focus was doing service work each day. 

On the surface there were some commonalities between these two groups, but I wouldn’t say that they were a “unified” group of youth. At least, not during our first couple of days on the farm.

We shared the same space during lunch and engaged in pleasantries with one another, but we all definitely ate of our own lunch tables comprised solely of each group and didn’t really work together on any specific project. What was needed was a task to rally around to help bring us together. 

Enter bananas. That’s right, bananas. As in a whole pick-up truck bed loaded with bananas. Specifically, bananas that were not able to be sorted out for Tikkun Farm’s weekly food distribution program because they were ripe for the compost pile. Picture bananas that were already turning brown if not black and were wet and slippery to the touch from being wrapped in plastic bags. 

It was an immediate all-hands on deck response to unload this volunteer driver’s truck filled with these large boxes of decomposing bananas. Once the boxes were unloaded, we had to pull out all the bags of bananas, unwrap them, peel off any stickers and toss them directly into the compost pile. Then, each layer of bananas had to be covered with wood chips before another layer of bananas was added. 

This work went on for almost an hour. But it was an amazing hour of work! Questions started being asked – “What church are you guys from again?”, “Why did you apply to work at the farm this summer?”, “What are you listening to?”, “Do you always get this many bananas delivered?”.

The simple task of unloading and composting bananas brought 2 very different groups of youth together in meaningful conversation and productive work. It unified these two group with a central goal – getting bananas into a compost pile as quickly as possible. 

I think when the word “unity” is used, it is often brushed aside as a utopian ideal. The word “unity” conjures up a notion that conflict is absent, that differences don’t exist. If you simply visually observed the youth in the job training program and students from The Flock, you would see differences between them and I am confident that there is a diversity of opinions and perspectives on any given issue.

However, those differences did not prohibit the two groups from finding moments of unity. These moments came from composting bananas, anchoring 6x6 posts to frame the doorways of the greenhouse, sharing appreciations and learnings at the end of each day.

The same is true at GSLC – we have differences of opinion and perspectives, but yet we are unified in our faith. We are unified in our knowledge that God loves us and wants us to show his love to our neighbors.  We are unified in our understanding of God’s grace, that all are forgiven of their sin. We are unified in our desire to bring repair to the broken parts of our world.

How is your faith calling you to bring unity to the world today?

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