A long while back, one of us told a story. Every now and then, one of us retells the story...
A little group of visitors had come to our sister church community - a first visit. While they were at the church, a farmer named Luis came carrying a bag of beans: beans which he had planted, tended and picked, beans which were the first fruits from his field. Luis presented the beans, the offering which he brought to the church, as a gift to the visitors. This was a gift of hospitality, a gift of gratitude, a gift of first fruits.
This is one of those little stories which has become a part of our sister church history - the collection of tales and adventures we pass along from one visitor to another, from one who visits in person to another who visit in stories.
A long while back, a Sunday School lesson emerged from the telling of the gift of first fruits, and a simple art project was designed to help children and families to share the story at home. Every now and then the story is retold. Every now and then, another family hangs a little plaque with beans on the wall in their kitchen. Every now and then, we remember that our sister church relationship began with an act of generosity and a gift of first fruits.