First fruits celebration puts God first

David+Lopez+plays+guitar+during+Iglesia+de+Dios+Getsemani%27s+2016+Primicias+celebration.+Lopez+has+been+a+musician+in+the+ministry+department+for+three+years.+Photo+credit%3A+Victor+Hugo

David Lopez plays guitar during Iglesia de Dios Getsemani's 2016 Primicias celebration. Lopez has been a musician in the ministry department for three years. Photo credit: Victor Hugo

Jamal Melancon

David Lopez, biological sciences sophomore, sought both God’s presence and better communication skills as part of what he prayed for during his sixth annual celebration of Primacias, or First Fruits, with the Iglesia de Dios Getsemani.

In biblical times, it was believed that giving God the first bearings of one’s harvest could mean better harvests in the future. Modern practice of this tradition continues today in an effort to receive God’s blessing.

The church of Dios Getsemani celebrates Primicias to gain a more intimate relationship with God through the practice of prayer and fasting, and this year their fasting period, whether of food or activity, took place from Jan. 11 to Jan. 31.

Lopez prayed before every Primicias service to ask God to fill him with his presence, so that his presence would both remain inside Lopez and reflect onto others. Services benefited Lopez’s discernment, or ability to think biblically.

“This got better as I would apply the sermons to my life, basically connecting the dots and knowing that every word preached was a seed for some part of my life,” Lopez said.

Playing guitar for his fourth year as a musician in the ministry department, Lopez did feel burdened with the stress of attending daily church services after only being back home an hour after classes. He also offered his church tithes, part of his income, to support worship.

“I presented God with my best offering through my musical ability and finances, essentially giving all I had left with the expectation and trust that God was going to provide for me and my family,” Lopez said.

Lopez aimed to use his determination in making sacrifices to receive a blessing from God. He took on giving up social media use for a week during his fasting in order to make room for God and to isolate himself from the mundane world.

Jessika Velasquez, worship leader at Iglesia de Dios Getsemani, said Primicias’ origin comes from a feast the Israelites would put on after they gave up their literal first fruits from the harvest. The first fruits and vegetables they would reap would be delivered to the high priest.

“First Fruits consist in that God wants preeminence in all that we are, and all that we do and all that we have,” Velasquez said.

Velasquez said that Primicias is also a celebration that follows God’s example because he gave up his own first fruit in Christ.

Elizabeth Goodine, religious studies professor, said the concept of First Fruits showed up first in the Old Testament, and its participation demonstrated showing gratitude to God and the people’s hope and trust that a greater harvest would follow for their offering.

“You have to live a life that’s out of the ordinary,” Lopez said. “You have to embrace what you believe in and just enjoy it, to be honest.”