The peach season here is just starting into it’s peak. This past weekend, Tim and I went to a large farmer’s market in the country outside of town. Among other things, we got a basket of fresh peaches raised by Mennonite farmers. Every summer I look for fresh peaches. Usually I’m disappointed by the peaches I’m able to find, because they’re mealy textured and have no taste. I have this memory of the peaches my grandpa would bring home every summer when I was there visiting. They were juicy and sweet, and the flesh was tender. When you bit into them, the juice would run down your hands and face. For me, that’s what a peach tastes like. These peaches from the farmer’s market are the closest to grandpa’s that I’ve had in a long, long time. Also, there is a great ice cream place in our neighborhood here in Toronto. They have the very best soft serve vanilla ice cream I’ve ever tasted. They make it with cream rather than milk and it’s better than most people’s homemade ice cream.
Today was a pretty warm day. I’d spent a couple of hours working in the yard and came into the house a bit tired and hot. I remembered that we had some of that wonderful ice cream in the freezer and those amazing fresh peaches were sitting on the counter and I had a brain storm. I sliced up the peaches and put them over the ice cream…..nothing fancy or complicated…..just fresh, ripe peaches over really creamy, soft vanilla ice cream. As I finished the bowl, my mind filled with the memories of summers with grandpa…..fresh peaches he’d brought home that grandma would put into homemade ice cream…..going to that drive-in at the edge of town with the peach milkshakes he liked so much….how happy it made him to have his grandchildren with him (until we put rocks in the gas tank of his tractor, of course!).
When I think of what church is and what it should be and what it’s become, I think we make it too complicated. I believe the community of Jesus followers should be just that…..a community. We should be focused on the relationships we have. Just like the memories I have of spending summers with my grandpa, eating fresh peaches and vanilla ice cream, our community should be built around the time we spend together. Jesus left us an example in the way he built relationship. He spent a significant amount of time with twelve people, and built very close relationships with three of those twelve. Those relationships were built as they lived life together.
The closest relationships I have were built in time spent together…..and, yes, frequently food was involved. Jesus seemed to know something about this. Whether it was the marriage feast in Cana, or the meals shared with Lazarus and his sisters, or the Pesach meal he shared with his followers as the Last Supper, important relationship moments were established as they shared time together.