Archive for September, 2012

Golden unto harvest

September 19, 2012

We drove the 300 miles across Southern Minnesota last weekend in order to help our 11 year old grandson celebrate his birthday.  That drive can get to be a long one as the topography is mostly flat.  The few groves of trees that break up the monotony usually surround a few farm buildings providing shade and windbreaks.  Some of those clumps of trees no longer harbor any buildings at all, but stand as a memorial to the farms that once were.

The unchanging landscape can be boring, but this time I found it exciting.  God has blessed Minnesota with more rain than much of the Midwest.  Crops look good.  Acres upon acres of corn sweep across the fields, brown tassels bending in the breeze, stalks slowly changing from green to brown.  Soybeans are ripe and those acres brown as well.  In between are strips of dark green.  I don’t know if it’s another crop of hay or winter wheat, but it provides contrast to the brown, no, golden fields.

I’ve seen it in other years, but this time especially it struck me how beautiful these fields are.  The bounty of the fields inspires awe.  The waving fields of grain remind me of what a rich and productive part of the world we live in.  There’s something too about the seeming vastness of the fields.  Others may get that feeling as they stand on the seashore or on the shores of Lake Michigan.  Here we have waves of crops rather than water, but the vastness of it all inspires awe just the same.

Awe and then thanks.  Thanks to God for the beauty of this world.  thanks to God for the abundance right at hand.  Thanks to God for where we live.  But also…a reminder that we are simply stewards of this abundance.  It’s not ours to keep, but ours to use to care for the world God loves so dearly.  Many live in places of food insecurity.  God’s call is to care for one another and to share our abundance.

The fields also remind us of Jesus saying to his disciples,  “Behold, the fields are white unto harvest, but the laborers are few.”   Jesus was talking about more than whatever crop was in the field, but that the time was ripe and people were ready to hear the good news of God’s love, grace, and mercy.  Who would tell them?  Who would be so caught up in this grace that they couldn’t help sharing it and inviting people to a deep experience of it?

We live in an odd time.  Young people crave the spiritual, the extraordinary, the magical.  Harry Potter, the Twilight books, Percy Jackson, Spiderman, Superman fill some void with their exploits.  Yet they avoid church and religion. These  people are a field white or golden unto harvest.  We’re all called to be laborers in this field, to bring the good news of the beauty of life in this world that God loves dearly, the good news that God loves them dearly and will never let them go, and the good news that they are filled with all the powers that they need to live a full and meaningful life.  Who will tell them?

Labor Day

September 3, 2012

This summer the Estelline (S.D.) High School class of ’62 celebrated its 50th anniversary.  Time flies.  Twenty of the 23 living graduates attended the event.  We are scattered from California and British Columbia to Virginia and North Carolina and from North Dakota and Northern Minnesota  to Texas.  We are teachers and nurses, college professors and tool and die makers, engineers and farmers, co-op managers and landfill managers, business people and financiers.

After the reunion one classmate wrote an email telling about her daughter sho is mmaried to an Assembly of God minister, another son and his wife who are missionaries.  She is very proud of them and of  how they do the Lord’s work.  She also mentioned that her youngest son farms with them in North Dakota. 

When I wrote back to her I congratulated her on all her children.  I also noted that the son who was farming was also doing God’s work.  Any work that is creative, that preserves, protects and provides for this world that God loves so dearly is God’s work.  She wrote again saying that , of course, their youngest was involved in their church, teaching Sunday School, helping with the youth, etc.

As a retired parish pastor, I remember how this time of year we often desperately searched for Sunday School teachers and confirmation guides.  Who was God calling people to do this important church work? We couldn’t maintain a community of faith without those volunteers and many others.

I’m afraid though that it’s easy to lose sight of how most everyone is already doing God’s work with their hands in some way.  Take a look on this Labor Day at what you do daily to join in God’s work of preserving, protecting, providing in God’s world.  How are you also joining in God’s work of redeeming the world from sin and death?  How is God filling you with the power of God’s Holy Spirit as you love this world because God loves this world dearly?

ON this Labor Day rejoice in the opportunity to serve God in your work.  Pray for those who do not have meaningful work.  Pray for leaders who will enact policies that make it possible for all to the blessing of work..