It was at a leaders meeting when Steve spoke about a ‘picture’ brought by Hazel. At the time I didn’t know what the picture was because I hadn’t been at that particular meeting. This was his interpretation of it.
He said it made him think of a cake, cut into segments – each with a lighted candle on; each segment being carried out to take the light into their own particular sphere of life- e.g. shops, school, work, friends, family. No great fanfares but a life lived simply in the love of Jesus, trusting in His shed blood to save and using the gifts He has given to us to bless, comfort, and heal.
I thought about that cake; that it is made up of ingredients such as flour, sugar eggs , fruit, butter, flavourings, and each ingredient interacts with the rest. Can this be a description of ‘church’? It can be. Each ingredient plays its part and if one is missing it does not produce a good, tasty, moist, risen result. It does not leave you wanting more.
Some cakes are highly decorated with icing and chocolate, marzipan and nuts. They look very pretty but are somewhat sickly and you can only stomach a little. A plain, simple cake but with flavour and a melt-in-the-mouth quality leaves you wanting more.
Pursuing the analogy of this cake representing the church, and by that I mean the people not the building. the ingredients are the members. Without them you have no cake. An empty building is not a church.
Each member is important and plays its part – even the pinch of salt could be the one who cleans the toilets, a lowly part but how necessary. Imagine if this was never done! The parts all interact with each other, meeting often and a bonding occurs. The mixing bowl is important, as is the hand that does the mixing, folding or beating. Could this be the hand of God as He works to unite His people? It is the work of the Holy Spirit, artisan cake maker, each one different not mass produced. A highly decorated cake could be a church that appears alive but is weighed down by the fluff and embroidery. The cake itself is not appreciated. A simple sponge, light and fluffy which melts in the mouth, will leave you wanting more! And isn’t that God’s plan or recipe for the church? To leave you wanting more, more of the one it represents…..Jesus!
Jesus is artisan; He chooses and carefully weighs His ingredients and with a firm hand He combines them with love, creaming, rubbing-in, rolling out. Sounds painful? It can be, but ultimately a mixture is produced which pleases Him. The next stage is the baking of His cake. An oven is pre-heated to the correct temperature which is also painful. The timer is set for the exact amount of time. To be a good cake this ‘fire’ is necessary.
I like to lick out the bowl, tasty, but not as delicious as the end product. God’s recipe for a good church has to be followed meticulously, work out the analogy for yourself.
Recipe book = The Word of God
Ingredients = the people
Bowl = the building
Wooden spoon = the Hand of God
Oven = the work of the Holy Spirit
to refine and perfect
Candles = The Light of the World, to be shared with
whoever we meet on life’s journey