Today, I'm making soup from scratch, and the thought of church came to mind. I know that most people look at the scriptures, and none will look at the church as something more than a place to meet other families. However, since I almost grew up in a church with several "fathers" as my teachers, mentors, and counsellors, I see these people as my family. With many experiences in the food industry, I can only explain it this way, namely using food to explain the concept of God's church. The congregation is the key ingredient in a soup or stew, but they are not the principal ingredient. We know who has that position.
Referring to the assembly, they are the meat, vegetables, legumes, etc. When adding flavour to the pot, we can pour on your salt and pepper, like the Sunday School teachers and the pastors, other ministers do every week. They remind us of God's word. "You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot." (Matthew 5:13 NIV) I will not disagree with the scriptures. There are herbs we can add to the pot as well. Who are they in the church? Such livelihood of characters to sweeten the other ingredients are among the congregation. We can view them as fresh blood who just walked into the church for the first time. They can be the ones who got baptized recently. We can also view them as someone who was among us but has been upfront in the choir. Does this make the soup or stew taste better? Or does the water still taste like only salted water?
There are two groups still missing. You may forget the ones who are the deacons, the people who welcome newcomers to the church, the offering collectors, the people who clean up the building and the property, the cooks, the refreshment crew, and the church activity group. Their jobs are to ensure that focus remains on Christ while maintaining peace and order during the minister's sermons or the teachers' teaching periods. They do the grunt work where some people don't want. The bones of the operation or the bones and ligaments of the meat pot that no one wanted to eat are the nutritious parts of the stew. Without them, the soup is just flavourless and gives fewer nutrients. It might taste like a big mess of ingredients.
One more ingredient to add to the pot, and it's not the Holy Spirit.—Wait! What? No Holy Spirit! Isn't He the essential ingredient? I may have mentioned herbs, but I did not say crucial ones like onions and garlic. That's right! The crucial components are those two, and this group of people is essential because they are the crux of all elements when stirred in the pot. You might taste one sense of the recipe and not the whole. Without these two vital ingredients, there is no oomph in the taste. Without the garlic, no underlying flavour that gives the depth of what the recipe wants to say. What onions and garlic do is kill off unwanted bacteria and other things that do not promote the health of the organisms in the body. Without the onions and garlic, the congregation will mix the old and the new into them. That is not what Christ wants. We are to throw off our old selves and live a new life. This is what the Holy Bible precisely said. It is what God wants from us when we accept Jesus Christ into our lives.
So, where does the Holy Spirit fit in this pot of stew? To make my soup, I have to turn on the heat. He is our fire, our Counsellor, our Comforter, our Teacher. Without the Holy Spirit, we will only have His Word but not His direction. We need His guidance to know whether we are lost or found. His whispers comfort us and show God's promises true. But, without the Holy Spirit in our lives, we will run amok in His church. He can show us far more than our little minds can comprehend, so we need this fire into our souls.
In this 2022 year, we have much to be thankful for despite the loss and the continual variants. Nevertheless, let us not forget who is still in charge. When we pray with God's will in mind, we will not be disappointed. He will return with an answer.
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Diana s.f. ng
I love reading, writing, cooking, baking, and pets.