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Ripe fields for harvest

by davesandel on September 4th, 2021

Saturday, September 4, 2021                                   (today’s lectionary)

Ripe fields for harvest

While Jesus was going through a field of grain on a sabbath, his disciples were picking the heads of grain, rubbing them in their hands, and eating them.

The sun shines, the rain falls, and all the crops in all the world are growing, growing, growing. In America, the harvest moon and the harvest itself, are very near.

Jesus said to the Pharisees, “The Son of Man is lord of the sabbath.”

And of course Jesus was making a point when his disciples blew through that field of wheat, eating whatever they wanted. But when I read the story I think more of the wheat, and how it feeds so many, than anything theological. Across the northern hemisphere of the whole earth, farmers are about to toil and sweat in the dust and then the mud and then sometimes even in fields covered with ice. In America they will send cornucopias of food in trucks and wagons to elevators in every county of every state in the Union. It’s September, and it will be October, and the harvest will be in full swing.

God himself is my help. O God by your name save me. O God, you sustain my life and hearken to the words of my mouth.

Farmers love these days, of course. But there can be catastrophe now and then. I remember Dad’s Massey Ferguson combine catching on fire, and he ran on legs like mine (not so good anymore) away as fast he could. Our trucks and wagons got stuck and were hard to extricate. Morning glories and other stringy endless weeds get caught up in the combine and jam it. How tempting is it to stick your hand in there while it’s running, and pull those weeds right out? Or have your hand and arm pulled right in? It happens.

Behold, God is my helper; the Lord sustains my life. Freely will I offer sacrifice. I will praise your name, O Lord, for your goodness.

Eighteen months ago a far cousin’s tractor turned over, and he was caught. A fire started and burned him badly, and he spent weeks in the hospital. I recently remembered when Dad’s finger was sliced off so suddenly in his feed grinder.

When I began writing who knew I would think so much about the accidents. Because, truly this is a generous, joyous, magical season for farmers as they watch their combines run smoothly through field after field, filling one hopper after another with the corn, the soybeans, the wheat, the sorghum, the rice, the cranberries, the cotton. This is the time of fruitfulness, of plenty … of harvest. Native Americans dance, and the rest of us should join them. These are the days of ripe, full joy.

Brothers and sisters, you once were alienated and hostile in mind because of evil deeds, but now God reconciles you in the body of Christ to present you holy, without blemish and irreproachable before him.

Jesus told Simon Peter, “From now on you will be fishers of men.” He tells us all, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few.” Autumn approaches in its own silence. I do not think I should be afraid. When I take a little time, I can feel the ripeness of my soul.

And I look around. I see there are so many … to the north and south, to the east and west. We all await our making, at last holy and irreproachable, by the Source, the Sower, and the Harvester we call God.

(Colossians 1, Psalm 54, John 14, Luke 6)

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