I didn’t want to pass up the opportunity to swing by my niece in lower Michigan and nab some peaches (and pears) on the way home.
Preserving peaches (I prefer canning, others prefer freezing) is a way to anticipate a taste of summer in the midst of freezing weather.
The few simple steps of preserving teach me things about spiritual preserving too
- Harvest – Someone had to tend the fruit so I could harvest it
- Prepare all the steps – kettles, jars, lids, knife, boiling and cooling water, sweetener syrup
- Remove the protective outer shell
- Cut and remove the seed
- Immerse in the syrup
- Remove any residue that would get in the way of a complete seal
- Immerse in water
- Process for appropriate amount of time
Spiritual preserving also has the goal of feeding others. We all have cold and barren ‘winters’ of the soul and need to prepare for a way to anticipate the new life and fruit that follows the dying off times. Like preserving peaches, the process starts a ways before the actual happening – with the preparation and planning. I once met Wayne Gretzky – his success he said was because “I skate to where the puck will be, not where it has been.” Similarly, when I look at the peaches, I envision the coming winter enjoying the pleasure of the taste of summer.
- Preparing for the Harvest – I’ve found the best thing for my barren winter times is to get my focus off myself and nurture others – planting seeds of restoration and hope, feeding, nurturing and watering those seeds by personal prayer and effort, and yes, helping to remove weeds too. All in anticipation of the harvest.
- Preparing all the steps – gathering appropriate equipment and materials can take some investigation, because people, unlike peaches often require different methods of application: Bible Study, scripture memory, music, feeling useful, teaching them to help others through realizing purpose of their creation, calling, and talents
- Removing or sloughing off the protective outer shell is vital to getting to know someone and revealing their heart. If we haven’t done this ourselves, it is challenging if not impossible to genuinely help another to go where we have not been.
- Cut out and remove the seed. We all were created in God’s image and the seed has life within it. But to bear fruit that seed has to die. I look at the seed as choice. Sometimes I choose the wrong things and need to seek God’s help to always choose life. When I harvest produce, I love to save seeds for another future crop. But first they have to be set aside and either dried (removing chaff from the seed) or fermented (remove germination-inhibiting substances to prevent mold and other disease from growing).
- Immerse in the sweetening syrup – spiritually speaking, the Spirit sweetens our mood, our journey, our outreach
- Remove any residue that would get in the way of a complete seal. Apply I John 1:9. Thank God forgiveness is available.
- Immerse in water – Scripture refers to our washing in the water of the Word. Daily dips are necessary (for me sometimes hourly or more!) to cleanse the way for the Spirit’s complete immersion.
- Join me in preserving fruit for the future (and allowing God to preserve us) – for God’s fruit is even better than this golden harvest:
Prov. 8:19 “My fruit is better than gold, even pure gold,
And my yield than choicest silver.”