This weekend I took a lovely late afternoon walk near the cranberry fields along the Nathan Creek Dike trail in Glen Valley, just outside of Fort Langley. Fall is cranberry harvest time and it reminded me of our work as Christian educators and leaders in various sectors. All people dedicated to the common call to holiness have three things in common with cranberries.
First of all, cranberries are delicate yet thrive in a bog full of moss, water, gravel, and clay. It’s a pretty tough environment of seemingly unfavorable conditions but the cranberry is durable – its woody stems and roots absorb what they need. The berries are resilient, versatile, and packed with nutrients. We too can thrive in tough environments through the strength and grace received from a life of faith in Jesus Christ.
There are two ways to harvest the berries. Water harvesting involves flooding the fields to remove the berries from the vines. These berries are most often used for juice because they are bruised in the process. Dry harvesting is the other method used for the fresh berry market and involves collecting the berries using rakes. Different methods and tools are used for different purposes – just like in our work of teaching and leadership. One challenge we share is translating what we know into consciousness in this highly secularized world not always open to faith and reason. It’s hard work.
Finally, growing healthy cranberries requires a network of support including protection of freshwater, specialized equipment and farmers to manage the whole process. This network fosters a favorable growing environment for the berries in order to produce. Likewise, we need a network of support in each other to cultivate and nurture a healthy community enabling us to be agents of truth in uncertain, complex, and sometimes hostile environments.
- we are called to be resilient to meet the demands of tough environments,
- we can intentionally hone different methods to reach ‘the harvest’ of people committed to healing and ongoing conversion and,
- we are invited to support one another and hold one another accountable.
My walk evoked a lot of pondering and I hope these thoughts will be ‘fruitful’ for you as well (pun intended).