For all who come to read here, please know this website will stay active and we may continue to post from time to time, but The Orchard Community itself is no longer meeting. Our gatherings were always in fits and starts, small groups of 2-5 people for brief seasons that never lasted long.
And while "that's all it ever was" makes it sound like there was 'failure' involved, since it didn't grow and become what we thought it should, what we hoped it could, what we dreamed it would -- nothing could be further from the truth.
God met us and sustained us, and still is. We are different people now, in more dependent relation to God than ever before, even if our paths are diverged from what we once saw.
And we trust that God will continue to uphold us as we walk into the future. But for now, The Orchard is in hibernation for however long this beautiful but uncertain winter wilderness lasts
For now, here is a parting thought to remind us all:
The Powerful Reason Why We All Have To Keep Getting Out of Bed -- That Changes a Broken World
(from an A Holy Experience by Ann Vos Kamp)
When I saw it plastered on a wall somewhere in the city, it brought me up short.
I stepped back a few steps, stood there in front of it like a fool farm hick.
Blazoned across the three panels like a wakeup call:
Why do you get out of bed in the morning?
Some dare devil pictured on the billboard plunges off his surfboard: Fear of Failure
An astronaut lashes himself in for launch: The Need to Succeed
Some guy holds a curling cat: The Love of Your Life
And I mean —
There’s work towering over you like a toppling avalanche about ready to bury you a couple feet deep, mocking you to go ahead and just try to get of bed. There’s bills stacked up like a deafening demand. There’s people counting on you and you’re counting on someOne stronger than you to get you through.
Why in the world do you get out of bed in the morning?
I’m pretty sure that I don’t get out of bed in the morning for any purring feline and I ain’t got no rocket ship or a hankering to go launching off into the cosmos and, quite frankly, I’ve never quite had the gumption or the backbone to take on any looming wave while trying to balance on a defying sliver of fiberglass.
Standing there before the billboard and it’s haunting question, it comes as a beat under my feet, a rhythm down the street, the question that’s begging an answer, and I want to arrest a steady stream of blank-faced commuters and ask them if they know, want to ask of old men on park benches and kids on park swings and mamas at sinks with young ones slung up on tired hips and the brave who get out of bed and alone and face their own uphill road: Why — why do you really keep getting out of bed?
Do you find your feet because you’re driven by a relentless fear of failure or beaten down by the need to succeed or do you hit floor for the love of a ball of fur?
Nothing is more necessary than finding God and falling in love and deeper into Him.
Love decides everything.
What you are in love with decides what you live for.
What you are in love with decides what decides what you get out of bed for.
Fall in love with the Hands that shaped your heart, that cups your face, that trace your scars, that caress you with grace. Fall in love with His face in a thousand faces, in the baby that meets you at the crib rail and the teenager that doesn’t want to budge and the man that find that never fails to put feet to the floor and find his Levis and the back door to brave the world for Love.
Fall in love with the One who fills your lungs with this breath and all these people and this sky and all this light, all this glorious light.
You have to fall in love because this will get you up and keep you going every day.
Because —- Love decides.
And Love isn’t about agreeing with someone, it’s about sacrificing for someone.
Love decides everything —- which is another way of saying, Sacrifice is the essence of everything.
Fall in love, fall into sacrifice, and you will always rise.
Go fall in love with grace and mercy and the only One who has ever loved you to death and back to the realest life —- because the world is begging us all to get out of bed and sacrifice for someone hurting, for someone different, for someone forgotten or marginalized, to hold the hand of someone who doesn’t look like us, to lean in and listen to someone angry and grieving and doubting the likes of us, to give a bit of ourselves to those who feel like they aren’t given much real space at the table.
Read the headlines, read your news feed, and then defy the dark and go fall in love with kids raised in different neighbourhoods than yours, fall in love with God in the faces that tell stories different than yours, fall in love with people who think and live and walk in circles far different than yours. Sacrifice for someone so your sanity, your joy, your fulfillment isn’t sacrificed.
Sacrifice will always leave you the most satisfied.
Fall in love, stay in love, stay sacrificing, and you live the most satisfied.
What you are in love with in your life —- decides everything about your life.
Love decides everything.
The sun can rise, and we all could rise, falling around each other, falling all around, healing rising.