Buying organic foods for the first time can seem expensive. My husband remains unconvinced that buying foods without pesticide use is healthier than the conventional variety. However, studies show that even with thorough washing, most conventional fruits and vegetables retain residual pesticides. In addition, organic farmers offer us a wider variety of fruits and vegetables than conventional farmers, hence the “heirloom” varieties, and organic farming is better for the earth. Unfortunately, not all stores carry a wide variety of organic food.
If we have to make a choice between organic or conventional fruits, buy organic fruits when the skin is eaten. For example, strawberries, cherries, grapes, peaches and nectarines. Most fruits will carry the majority of pesticides on their skins. The same is true for vegetables. All greens like lettuce, spinach, kale, chard, etc. should be organic. That is because the spray goes directly on the part we eat. This will include peppers, brocoli, asparagus, and celery. Any foods that are underground are less likely to carry a lot of pesticides. Carrots, potatoes, radishes, all of the “root” vegetables can be conventional if organic is not available or too expensive. Anything with a “something” that gets peeled: oranges, corn on the cob, onions, avocados, peas, etc. can also be conventionally farmed without our consuming a lot of residual pesticides. Of course, if we can afford it and if it is available, supporting the organic farmers of our communities will always be our best choice. This is because small organic and local farmers struggle against the large factory farmers who produce conventional fruits and vegetables. They can produce cheaply but it often arrives at stores weeks after harvesting. It is more nutritious to eat fresh, local, organic food than old, distantly grown, conventional food.
There are some “good fruits” and some “bad fruits” in Christianity as well. Our spirituality sometimes runs the risk of becoming too religious. Christians can fall into the trap of thinking that we can “earn” our salvation. We may have heard that the grace of salvation is free, but is that part of what we do? Serving others is important but if we do it out of a sense of obligation or need to feel like we are “in good” with God, we miss the joy of serving. I certainly can fall into this trap. Serving others out of love is easy for me when it is my family, my children, my spouse, or even my pets but serving a thankless stranger or even an angry stranger is much more difficult.
Sometimes serving our church can cause a difficulties. We don’t have time or maybe we serve often but never feel like it is enough. Think of the Lion of Judah and how fiercely he devoted himself to his people even when many of the leaders hated him. Jesus loved with a fierce love and we can too. God is love, and it honors him when we act lovingly to others not because we should, but because we want to glorify Our Lord, that is, have others thank God for the kindness we have done for them.