Margaret Feinberg spoke as part of the Origins track at Catalyst today. Margaret is a gifted teacher, speaker and the author of a number of books including The Sacred Echo, Organic God, and her latest release, Scouting the Divine: My Search for God in Wine, Wool, and Wild Honey.
Here are some of her insights:
Sometimes the cultures described in the Scriptures feel so far away. By spending time with a shepherdess, a beekeeper, and a vintner, she discovered a better understanding of God.
Sheep respond immediately to the voice of their shepherd (John 10). A good shepherd knows his or her flock (Psalm 139), and he or she knows the voice of his or her sheep.
There are 70 references to bees or honey throughout the Scriptures. Most of the time. Most of the time “honey” is part of the description of the Promised Land (ex. Exodus 3:8). Ironically, in Numbers 13 the spies returning from the Promised Land brought lots of amazing food items, but they didn’t bring back any honey or milk.
There are 50,000-75,000 bees in one beehive and only one queen laying up to 3,000 eggs a day. There are bees that have jobs as getting pollen, bringing water, cooling or heating the hive, protecting the hive, and even removing
For a land to overflow with milk and honey means that the winter snow didn’t come too early or too late or that the summer sun wasn’t too strong. Everything within that land is working in its proper order. The people don’t have too much but just enough, and the people don’t have too little but just enough.
Vines and vineyards were often used as images to communicate God’s heart for His people. Jesus used vineyards in his parables and even as a metaphor of our relationship with Him in John 15.
Pruning isn’t done with a sword or hatchet. Instead the vintner uses a very small type of scissors in order to help each grape become healthy and distinctive in flavor. He handles the vine with care. To grow great grapes you don’t use seeds but shoots from other vines which are pruned back the first 3 years. The first harvest doesn’t come until the 4th year. It isn’t until year 7 or 8 that the vintner tastes the wine produced by his efforts. For the investor it takes between 16 or 20 years to break even.
The best soil is rocky and dry and difficult. The rocks add a distinct flavor and character.
So many metaphors are used to describe God because God cannot be described by just one.
What are other metaphors you’ve found to be helpful in your relationship with God?