Biblically, the human story starts in the garden of Eden, but the subsequent description of this "garden" makes it clear it is a garden of fruit trees -- an orchard. The Tree of Life is one tree mentioned, and this tree is also mentioned elsewhere in the bible (Genesis 2:9, and Revelation 22:2, among others). In essence, the story of God and people in community together starts and ends in an orchard.
We choseto call ourselves The Orchard because an orchard is a collection of trees, intentionally planted by The Orchard Master, as an expression of beauty, and as a source of healthy nutritious fruit. And if collectively we are like an orchard, then individually we are like trees.
Writer, poet, and leader in the Emergent church movement Mark Scandrette captures this idea very well in his book Soul Graffiti: Making a Life in The Way of Jesus:
To sustain life, a tree must stay both rooted in the soil and open to the energy of sunlight and carbon dioxide. If a tree is cut or pulled out of the soil, where it draws water and nutrients, it will eventually die. Similarly, if a tree is shielded from the radiance of the sun it will eventually wither away. The life of a tree is an apt metaphor for...making a life in the way of Jesus. To see the Creator's genesis-vision fulfilled in our lives we need to be both rooted in the soil of our humanity, people, and place and open to the transcendent energy of God.Toward this end, we were a community of people trying to model ourselves in The Way of Jesus, The Master. Like trees in His orchard, we want to bear fruit in our lives which offers sustenance to others around us, and join with God in fulfilling dreams of beauty in all we are and do.
The dirt of life in the here and now provides the nutrients to cultivate a life with God. We also need exposure to the Spirit of God surrounding us. Jesus demonstrated a life that was grounded in humanity and struggle and open to the energy and breadth of God. We find him in the marketplace caring for the needs of people and on the mountainside connecting with the eternal Father. His life was an example of dynamic unity and synergy between the pursuit to love God and everything that God has made. And this is the life we are being invited into.
We're friends of God, relying on Him as our source, relating to Him intimately, looking to Him continually, and honoring Him fully.
We love all those He brings our way: walking beside them, encouraging them, and championing them; sharing our life and growing along with them -- inspiring one another on our journey toward God.
We endeavor to impact others with the Love of God in practical, purposeful ways so as they experience God's love through us, they come fully alive in Him and find their place in His family -- in His Orchard.
For more of our planting story, you can link here.