Pastoral Ponderings— Of Apples, Grammar and a New Future

Who is we?  Bad grammar, or good for provoking thought?  Welcome to the family, Ravenna and Charlestown, meet the rest of our “we,” the Twin Falls Church family in Munroe Falls, just down the block past Kent, in our new adventure starting together this week.

One of my Army buddies moved to the Cleveland area near his wife’s family a couple years ago in his shift from Active Duty to being in the Army Reserve.  Just after moving in, they started planting fruit trees for their kids to grow up with, and he was so excited to share one of his first fruits with me, suggesting I plant it at our new place.  I was excited for it too—until Darling Wife Karol told me you can’t just plant apple seeds and expect good apples to be produced.  Apples as we know and love them come from ingrafted stems known to bear good fruit, into hearty root systems.  Not all plants do well on their own, but when good fruit bearing branches are ingrafted together with good roots, good fruit grows in abundance.

So now who is we?  When I write these love letters to you, I often refer in some way to the “we” of the church—but which church?  The “Church Universal,” all churches everywhere (secret code—that Church starts with a CAPITAL C), to our United Methodist family, to our local congregation (both with a lower case “church”) or some other congregation?  And now, to Twin Falls, or to Charlestown, or Ravenna, or we three together in our newly ingrafted family tree?  And how shall we refer to this new “we,” a new trinitarian three in one, we who are ingrafted together?  And what does that mean, anyway?

The answers to some questions are still being knit together, as are the tissues of our three congregations being now knit together as we are surgically joined into a new creation, one in which we are three, yet one, three branches, each bearing good fruit, grafted together for a stronger foundation.  When a branch is ingrafted into a new root, the branch is the same—yet enhanced with a stronger root, and I hope we (see what I mean with this complex word?) can all grow well together to bear even more and sweeter fruit together.  At the same time, the whole body grafted together is something new, something “better together.”

We invite you, this new family this week (is this “we” just Karol and I, our Conference leadership pulling us together, or what?), to join together in worship this Sunday.  Twin Falls in celebrating United Women in Faith Sunday—a great celebration in itself!  But one allowing the Rev. Karol and I to celebrate our new ingrafting together at Charlestown and Ravenna churches, with their services being live-streamed (watch later at for Charlestown, and for Ravenna—AND for the Twin Falls service!).  We’ll start exploring our identity together in Christ—and who we each are as ones ingrafted into the Body of Christ.

Not much is guaranteed—except that it is sure to be an adventure, and that God is with us every step of the way, and has, in fact, already prepared the way for us, and is calling us from the other side of this open door!  Let’s join together in our passion for God, and compassion for our neighbors in all three of our communities.  We’ll see you out there in ministry.  Keep being a blessing!

Revs. Jim and Karol Lewis—Twin Falls, First UMC Ravenna, and Charlestown Churches, ingrafted together!

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