A Dutch restaurant has come with a novel idea of allowing people a somewhat “unique” (and safe) dining experience during the Coronavirus crisis: Serving people food… at tables… in greenhouses!

The Serres Sepparees restaurant on the Mediamatic ETEN Waterfront welcomes customers wearing face masks and gloves when they arrive – which are then taken off once safely inside their individual greenhouse dining room, and meals are then served through a slot in the door.

It may be a novel business idea – swapping the food usually grown in greenhouses for the customers that buy them – but as helpful as the experience may be for some, you can’t deny that it is not a patch on the real thing.

Maybe you feel that way about your experience of lock down life. Old things like Facebook, Whatsapp and YouTube are being utilized like never before. New things like Microsoft Teams and Zoom are being discovered and deployed to great effect. And of all the businesses that may struggle and suffer through this time – it seems like phone companies are enjoying quite a surge. But still… it’s not a patch on the real thing is it?

Because as helpful as all new (or at least new to some of us) technology  can be… we simply weren’t designed for The Greenhouse Life…

 

Or next Psalm, Psalm 133, paints this beautiful picture for us:

How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity!

It is like precious oil poured on the head, running down on the beard,

running down on Aaron’s beard, down on the collar of his robe.

It is as if the dew of Hermon were falling on Mount Zion.

For there the Lord bestows His blessing, even life forevermore. (Psalm 133)

 

David here describes the unity of the people of God as: “good”. Our English word for “good” pales in comparison to the Hebrew word used here which can be translated as: “beautiful, best, better, bountiful, cheerful, at ease, fair word, be in favor,”

It’s as refreshing as cool balm on the head on a hot day. It’s as precious as the anointing that sets the priests apart for service. It’s as essential as the morning dew on the grass. It’s as fundamental as Mount Zion, for within unity we discover the blessing of the Everlasting God, who has been enjoying unity (the word Trinity literally means tri-unity!) throughout all of eternity!

There are moments when, like David, we experience the joy of deep fellowship together in Christ. And when that is denied us we appreciate the family of God even more. I can’t think of a time for us when something as simple as a Sunday service (something many of us had come to take for granted) had been so missed by so many.

 

Thankfully, we don’t have to physically be together, to be deeply united together in Christ.

The writer of the letter of Hebrews includes strangers and those who were imprisoned (isolated), within their call to serve the fellowship:

Keep on loving one another as brothers and sisters. Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it. Continue to remember those in prison as if you were together with them in prison, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering. (Hebrews 12.1-3)

 

Earlier this year, we explored the “One Anothers” of the New Testament – and here is yet another: the call to “love one another” as family. However, part of the challenge is who we think of when we think of “one another” and how we think of them.

The Scriptures call us to see the image of God in each other, and even to treat strangers as we would angels! And to “remember” those separated for us – as if what they were going through was our own personal experience.

When it comes to “praying for one another” we can sometimes get stumped on what to ask for – and so imagining their experience as though it were our own can totally reinvigorate our prayer life. More than just “remembering people before God” as a mental list, walking in their shoes will lead us to deeper places of prayer for them, and a deeper sense of unity with them.

It’s exciting to imagine where that deeper sense of community (comm-unity) might lead us. James warns us against well-meaning words that aren’t backed by actions:

Suppose you see a brother or sister who has no food or clothing, and you say, “Good-bye and have a good day; stay warm and eat well”—but then you don’t give that person any food or clothing. What good does that do?

So you see, faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless. (James 2.15-17) 

 

 

So, who are you remembering today? How might you demonstrate, in words and deeds, that they are not forgotten? How might that unity smash through the greenhouse effect and help us to actually grow together and feast on the love of Christ?

But if we are living in the light, as God is in the light, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, His Son, cleanses us from all sin. (1 John 1:7)

 

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