Thursday, June 14, 2012

How can we possibly know him?

I harvested my wheat today.  Do you know how long it takes to grow a crop of wheat?  A really, really, really long time.  Like baby growing long.  I have been waiting for a dry day to tackle my tiny crop for a week or so now.  Those heavy heads started drooping just like sleepy tinies, and I knew it was time.  I took a paper sack and Annabel and we yanked those lovely nodding heads off and tossed them merrily into the bag.

I thought about Jesus and his disciples walking along tugging off those same clusters of grains on the Sabbath.  I imagined how he would have absently rolled the chaff off and popped the nutty kernels into his mouth.  I can almost hear his sigh as the paunchy, self-important Pharisees came hustling over clucking and murmuring.  "It's the Sabbath, Jesus...what do you have to say for yourself?  Surely those disciples of yours know better than to harvest on the Sabbath!  I am sorry you are hungry.  We just can't go rewriting the rules because somebody didn't plan ahead..."

I thought about Ruth gleaning in Boaz's fields.  I saw how it would have taken extra stooping to retrieve the shorter more out-of-the-way grains.  I could imagine how she thought of her lost husband as her fingers began to sting with the roughness of the chaff, and glimpsed her brushed away tears as she toiled lonely and scared.  I thought about how she would have glanced around, surprised, as she began encountering not the low, scrawny, gleaner's heads, but the tall, proud grains that were the offering of a lover.

I thought about Cain and his work.  I thought about grain scattered here and there; some landing happily, some not.

And I thought about the fields "white with the harvest."  Jesus told his disciples that the harvest was plentiful, but the workers were not.  I am no great exegete, but I just wondered as I found my rhythm of harvest, what exactly is ripe?  I have always assumed that it was people ready for the gospel train a comin', but in Matthew 9, Jesus has compassion on the people because they were stressed out not necessarily because they were lost.  In fact, he was talking about the crowds of people who were following him already.  I think.  What if God's people are the harvest?  What if the love that Christ endows us with through grace is the nutty fruit that nourishes the hungry and discomfits the comfortable, and Jesus is asking the disciples to pray that God will send laborers out into the world to teach people to share God's love.  Not that the lost are the harvest waiting for someone to save them, but that the harvest is those who are filled with God's love and ready to be sent out as nourishment.  Seed if you will.  How would that change how you look at the harvest?  Stressed out? Overwhelmed? Chin up!  Jesus might just be having compassion on you and noticing how wonderful and marvelous you are!  Jesus might be thrilled that you are ready to share love and nourishment with a starving world.

Also, harvesting is itchy.

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