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Farmer's Markets and Communities

This summer Anna and I have been packing up some goods from our garden on Saturday morning and driving the seven mile stretch from our home to Greencastle. We arrive on the north side of the court house about 7:45 am and set up a meager booth at the local farmer's market.

We've seen several of you on those Saturday mornings as you stop by to grab a few items to enjoy that day. I always enjoy seeing you there. In fact, I enjoy the whole experience - the mingling of people and goods, stories and music.

There's something about the Saturday morning atmosphere at the farmer's market that facilitates community. It is very similar to the fellowship hour following church on Sunday mornings. Released from the demands of the work week, people are willing to stop and talk for a while. Many times, Anna and I will find ourselves having great conversations only to discover that it's already about time to pack up our goods for the day. We may not sell much, but we leave the market rich every week - more fully connected to this community we live in. Just like we do whenever we get together at church.

Paul, the apostle, spent a lot of time at the markets of his day, and for good reason. Paul enjoyed and understood the value of community and relationships. He was deeply aware that the richest things in life were not material goods; they were the things coming to us from the infinitely relational God and Creator of heaven and earth. So, he routinely took time just to sit and talk - to trade stories and memories and hopes. He was excellent at exchanging with others.

But, more than anything else, Paul wanted to exchange with others the hope, peace and joy that Christ Jesus gave to him. Compelled by Christ, Paul would go from city to city lugging his supplies and his testimony all in hopes of spreading the good news: God is working to draw together all people into a new, redeemed community ... if we are willing to let Him do that good work.

Paul's example gives good reason for us to reflect on our own living. For Paul, his life was focused primarily on living into his new calling as a member of God's new community, the Kingdom of God. And, his desire was to help others see the virtue and goodness of this new community, this new movement, by the way he lived and behaved - including how he behaved at the local market. Can you say that your living is focused on the Kingdom of God?

As you enter into the final few days of this week and this weekend, take a moment to ask yourself: What (or who) is my community? What unifies me to other people?

Then, take some time in prayer - thanking God for the community He has given to you to enjoy and share and praying for God's will and work to be done in your community.

We'll be at the farmer's market again this Saturday. Hope to see you there. And, of course, I hope to see you on Sunday as God gathers us and uses us to proclaim His glory.




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