The Fedge – by Roger
Do you know what a fedge is?
It is a cross between a fence and a hedge – an open lattice work made from living willow stems. It is an attractive feature used to mark the boundary of a property or to create a divide somewhere on it.
Why do I ask about the fedge?
Well this weekend we planted one. It arrived ten days ago as a mass of willow canes that needed to be placed in water to keep them alive. This water has been most generously topped up by God in the following days as we waited for a dry opportunity to plant them.
The day arrived on Saturday – a beautifully sunny, cold crisp clear day. A few hours later we had our structure completed and could stand back and admire the work. Yes it looks good. Yes we are pleased with the results, but as I reflected on it I asked God to show me some spiritual truths from the exercise. This is what I feel I learnt
- The canes needed to be in water to keep them alive. We too need water – spiritual water to keep us alive. We also need God’s rain to keep replenishing that spiritual water so we can flourish and we need to be in a place where we can receive it. It is no use being under cover and out of the rain.
- The canes needed to be planted deep – this will encourage good root growth and stability later in the year once they are fully established. All plants need good roots to flourish and we too should develop our spiritual roots in the word and in fellowship with each other.
- The first stage of installation is to plant the uprights. In truth I wondered if we were doing the right thing at this point. They were very unsteady and easily moved. In isolation they were too flimsy to be anything substantial. A Christian in isolation is vulnerable and could be blown about by any “gentle wind” from the enemy.
- This is when you need to install “binders” and “weavers” to the structure. These tie in uprights to the left and right of the individual canes. Now the structure starts to make sense. There is a strength and rigidity about the lattice that enables it to stand. It is now certainly strong enough to withstand the worst weather that we can get here. United together with other believers the Christian can stand firm against the influences and destructive forces of the enemy.
- The lattice is held together by specially formatted elastic string. It is designed not to disintegrate under sunlight or tempest. It is also designed to be stretchy enough to allow flex and movement as the whole structure grows together and becomes one. We need to remember that Jesus is the indestructible tie that binds us together. We need a flexible structure to allow us to grow into the roles that God has for us in the church. There will always be some give and take in a community and there will always be subtle changes in the relationships that we have with one another. The key is to flex in those relationships in a way that brings benefit to the whole structure.
- Finally the canes were delivered to us as bare sticks. However, the supplier promises that in a few months they will be green and leafy – just as we need them to be. Already we can see leaf buds up and down the length of the canes that look towards this promise. God has also promised that if we remain in Him he will produce fruit in us – not just in our individual lives but also in our corporate lives.
One cane does not make a fedge. Only working together as a “team” can the canes as a whole fulfil the purpose for which they are made. It is the same with the church – an individual isolated and alone is unable to produce the result that the same individual could produce as part of a team.
So remember we need the spirit to keep us alive, we need to be set deep so our roots can develop healthily, we need to be linked together as part of a team to fulfil God’s plan for us, we need to be flexible in the relationships we have with those around so each can grow and flourish both as an individual and as part of the church.
The result will be a flourishing fruitful life for the individual and for the church he is part of. May God bless you abundantly as you seek to do His will and fulfil His purposes for your life.