In many parts of La Somme just now the ground is carpeted with these beauties: snowdrops. Galanthus for the horticulturally-minded, un perce-neige in French.
As we’ve been continuing with our plan of visiting and praying in as many of the villages and towns of La Somme as we can, we have seen many many of these incredible white flowers.
As well as being beautiful, these plants are also a really good lesson from God on how His Kingdom can grow, how spiritual multiplication can happen.
There are various ways that snowdrops can spread. They grow from bulbs and year upon year new little baby bulbs (bulblets) grow underground, nourished from the mother bulb, and eventually split off to become independent plants. This process is called bulb offsets.
This is how you get to see a few isolated snowdrops become big drifts like this:
In God’s Kingdom, Christians are designed by God to naturally multiply. New Christians are rather like bulblets: nourished and encouraged, discipled and mentored, by a more mature Christian they are then able to stand alone and have their own bulblets (spiritual children).
That’s great, but if that is all that happens then all the snowdrops will only be where snowdrops have always been. The drifts will get immense, maybe thousands of bulbs. It will look truly amazing, but is of no use to the places further away where there are no snowdrops.
Which is why snowdrops have those gorgeous flowers, which produce seeds. The seeds blow away, or are carried away by birds, animals and water, to entirely new places. The seeds germinate and form entirely new drifts of snowdrops.
The Kingdom of God needs seeds to be carried away too, to new places, to germinate and form new communities of Christians where there are none.
As we’ve travelled round lots and lots of villages and small towns here it has become very clear that the overwhelming majority of places and people are completely, totally, untouched by God’s message of love and forgiveness. They have no way of hearing the Gospel because they never come into contact with a Christian. At the moment, there is (humanly) no prospect that they will be able to hear God’s message, either.
Multiplication is not happening.
If you are a snowdrop in a big drift, you look around and all you can see are other snowdrops. Wow, it’s amazing, there are so many of us and it’s fantastic being together. As Christians, it’s easy to look round our lovely warm, comfy Church and think how great it is to be together — which is fantastic and entirely right.
But if we never think outside of our nice warm Christian community, how will others hear?
Think back to the early Church in Jerusalem. Wow, was that growth stupendous or what? Three thousand people became Christians the day the Holy Spirit was poured out, and then it became five thousand and more and more… What a time to be a Christian!
So what on earth was God thinking when He allowed a time of great persecution to arrive? Did God want to kill off this wonderful new thing?
No, of course not. God wanted the Church to multiply. This is exactly what happened when Christians were scattered all over the known world: they took Jesus’ message of love and forgiveness with them and planted new Churches wherever they ended up.
For us, what would be best? Would it be best if God allowed severe persecution to break up the cozy, comfy big Churches? Or would it be better if we volunteered to take the message of the Gospel where it is not being heard?
This is a time when Christians all over the world, but very definitely us here in France, need to be willing to be mobile for God:
MOBILISATION for MULTIPLICATION!
Are you up for it…?