Posts Tagged ‘harvest’

Mark 4:26-29: God’s Harvest of Love

Friday, November 29, 2019

The Gospel of Mark is beautiful in its simplicity.  Because of its brevity, we may think of it as less weighty; yet here today we have an example of the depth of Mark.  His is the only Gospel which holds this simple parable.

In the Biblia de América, the footnotes tell us that the purpose of this allegory is to give emphasis to the important work of humanity, the grains of wheat.  The faithful are to proclaim the Word of God . . . while the success of this work depends solely on God.

This gives fresh importance to our mission.  We are seed.  We are planted.  To the best of our ability and as best we are able in our environment, we are to draw from our roots in order that we might send forth a blade . . . which in turn yields a grain.  In due season, this grain will ripen for the harvest.

This cannot be more simple.  It cannot be more clear.  It cannot be more important.

This mode of living – of becoming what we are meant to become while living closely with other blades that give forth grain in their own due season – requires obedience, perseverance and patience.  It also requires close communion with our creator, the master harvester.

We must exercise faith – in trusting that we will survive life among a variety of blades until the harvest time.

We must engender hope – in believing that we will produce grain in abundance.

We must enact love – in making room for all to reach the sun and to soak up whatever rain may fall.

Perhaps what makes this Gospel so intense is that it is likely the first written after the Resurrection, when the flame of the Pentecost and the inspiration of the Ascension were still fresh.  Perhaps its concise language and simplicity render its meaning unmistakable.  Mark delivers five parables in rapid succession in this chapter, and he succinctly describes the important work of the faithful sandwiched between other stories which are more familiar.  We might miss it unless we look for it; and yet here it is.  Millennia after they are written, these straightforward words have the power to fill us with wonder at how the direct message of love might change the human experience.  We are loved.  We are love.  All we need do is proclaim this story.

Harvesting in the Himalayas

In reading Mark, we are drawn into his passion.  It is the same passion with which we are created.  It is a simple, clear, uncomplicated story.  God yearns for companionship and he creates a race of people in his image.  These people are wooed, forgiven, blessed, sustained, forgiven again, and loved powerfully.  What are we asked to do in return?  To proclaim this love abroad, to transform the sunshine and the rain into a grain of wheat which the master will harvest, and to render to the creator his harvest of love.

LA BIBLIA DE LA AMÉRICA. 8th. Madrid: La Casa de la Biblia, 1994. Print.

Written on November 7, 2008, re-written and posted today as a Favorite.

Images from: http://www.frankossen.com/Barefoot%20amid%20the%20Himalayas.htm and http://jp.123rf.com/photo_14000685_wheat-blade-on-wooden-table.html and http://www.foodsubs.com/GrainWheat.html

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Saturday, September 7, 2019

1 John 3:16 The way we came to know love was that [Christ] laid down his life for us; so we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. 

Jesus tells us that it is easy to love the ones we love; it is difficult to love those who do us harm.  This is one of his most fundamental – and most difficult – lessons for us.

God says: Believe me when I say that I understand that you do not want to love your enemies; yet this is the fruit I ask you to bear, the harvest I ask you to reap.  When the grain of wheat breaks open to plant something new, it plants my love within a hardened heart.  You become frustrated with the world and yet all of your struggling changes very little.  Plant the seeds I have given you to sow – use the gifts I have given you.  And do not worry about the weeds that grow up with the wheat.  My workers will tend to them in good time.  Do not worry about how much rain must fall and where you will find the harvesters.  I am with you always, offering you my love . . . laying down my life for you. 

Let us take up the gifts we have been given to share.  Let us use God’s gifts lovingly.  And let us offer ourselves as broken grains of wheat in the Spirit.  Let us offer ourselves up to rise again in newness bearing fruit for the master harvester. In this way we come to know Christ’s love.

A re-post from August 17, 2012.

Image from: http://agropedia.iitk.ac.in/?q=content/time-line-based-wheat-practices

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Thursday, September 5, 2019

Henry Hillier: Harvest Time, Lambourne, Berks

2 Corinthians 9:6Brothers and sisters: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.    

God says: I know that there are days when you feel as though I ask too much of you.  I understand that there are times when you are too exhausted to take another step in your journey.  This is why I have asked you to cast your troubles on my shoulders – for my burden is light and I am ready to carry your worries for you. I see how the world draws you in and I am here to accompany you each day.  You have only to call on me.      

At times it seems as if the only harvest we reap is anxiety and sadness and we find it difficult to believe the promise of the resurrection. Yet God abides with us in our apprehension.  This is the message he wishes to give us – that despite our fears, we are saved.  Despite our dread we are redeemed.  And despite our wretchedness we are loved.  This is the miracle of God’s love.  Let us sow the love God gives to us . . . that we might in turn reap God’s love with the harvest.

Enter the word promise in the blog search box and continue to reflect on the promises God intends to keep.

A re-post from August 14, 2012.

Image from: http://www.topart168.com/oil_paintings/Harvest_Time,_Lambourne,_Berks_1481_painting.html

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2 Samuel 11 and 12: Conversion – Part II

Friday, February 3, 2017

Jean Restout: Ananias Restoring the Sight of St. Paul

Jean Restout: Ananias Restoring the Sight of St. Paul

Two interesting readings from Acts tell the story of Saul/Paul’s conversion: 9:1-22 and 22:3-16.  Again, we see the figure who serves as an instrument of God in the surprising kind of turnabout that can happen when we trust God enough to place ourselves in his hands.  This man, like Nathan in the story of David, communes regularly with God so that when he finds himself in a situation that rightfully causes fear, he has the resources to step into the waiting hand of God . . . to go beyond the fear . . . and into his own conversion of vocation.

Nathan, Ananais, and countless other harvesters in God’s vineyard hear and answer this call by trusting in God.  In the Acts readings we see Ananais hesitate, saying to God: Lord, I have heard from many sources about this man, what evil things he has done to your holy ones in Jerusalem.  And the Lord replies: Go, for this man is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before Gentiles, kings, and children of Israel, and I will show him what he will have to suffer for my name.

In today’s story, we do not read of any trepidation Nathan may have felt on going before the King to give the man an opportunity to repent.  What we do read in verse 12:5 is how David reacted in anger to Nathan’s parable.  Yet Nathan stands his ground, firm in his knowing that he has been sent.

We might spend time this afternoon wondering about our own Nathan parable.  What story might the prophet stand before us to pronounce?  How might we react?  We also might also spend time thinking about our own role as truth-revealer.  When we hear the voice tell us what is required of us, are we willing to do what is required?

We might question as Ananais does, or we might immediately – like Nathan – speak a truth we know others who are far stronger and far more powerful than ourselves wish to keep hidden.  In any case, as children of light we are asked to stand in the truth and to bring truth to others . . . as is required of us by our God . . . according to our vocation.

We notice today that Ananais and Nathan respond to God’s call in kindness and with mercy, prepared and even expecting that their work will bear fruit.  As we go about the rest of our day, we might want to think about which role we play in today’s drama.  Are we David?  Are we Bathsheba?  Are we Nathan?  Are we truly converted by our vocation?  Do we act from God?  Do we act with God?  Do we act in God’s love?  Do we act at all on what we know to be our own conversions . . . one of the heart . . . the other of our vocation?

Adapted from a January 25, 2009 Favorite.

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Mark 4:21-25Seed Grows of Itself

Saturday, January 28, 2017lwsm__r4d8578_3814

Adapted from a Favorite written on January 9, 2008.

This is something we need to hear a great deal, and if we were to read this more often we would find ourselves worrying less.

There is much imagery in scripture referring to seed, sowing, reaping, harvesting.  And this makes perfect sense since agriculture was such an integral part of life during Old and New Testament times.  Usually we think of these images as we imagine God’s word or work being planted . . . to be harvested later.  Today however, we might think of Job, and others like him, who plant by giving something up, who sow . . . and later reap . . . because they relinquish self, they witness patiently and persistently, they speak to God from the heart, and they become willing sowers and reapers.

And so we pray.

english-garden-blue-flowersDear God,

Help us to see that all we need do when we are weary is to give over to you our aches and pains . . . you will know how to make a flowerbed from our struggles.

Help us to understand that all we need do when we are anxious is to hand over to you our worries and anxieties . . . you will know which seed grows best in the dark.

Help us believe that all we  need do when we feel too alone is call for you and tell you of our sorrow . . . you will know when to bring the warmth of the sun.

Help us to hope that all we need do when we are at our most fragile is look for you in the arid desert . . . you will know when to send the rain. 

vegetablesHelp us to know the cycle of harvest . . . for you already know when we are ready to go into the field.


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Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Giovanni Battista Salvi da Sassoferrato: Virgin Mary

Isaiah 61:10I rejoice heartily in the Lord, in my God is the joy of  my soul; for he has clothed me with a robe of salvation, and wrapped me in a mantle of justice, like a bridegroom adorned with a diadem, like a bride bedecked with her jewels. 

Today as we celebrate the taking up of Christ’s mother into heaven we might pause to remember that she understood the importance of God’s sowing; she is the vehicle of his arrival among us.  Mary brought a babe into the world whom she knew would redeem all.  She kept watch at the foot of her child’s cross, and she witnessed to his great sacrifice.  Mary celebrates, with Christ, the gift of God’s goodness and the gift of her child’s sacrifice to humanity. 

God says: It is true that I love each of you as I love the Mother of Christ.  It is true that I long to bring all of you to me.  It is true that I hope to unite all of you with me in the Spirit.  You are my bride.  Come . . . take your grooms’ hand so that together we might reap the harvest.  All that is not good I will turn to goodness in my love for you. 

 Mary understands how God harvests; and she stands ready to accompany us in our journey. 

For thoughts on the Blessed Mother, click on the image above or go to: http://humblepiety.blogspot.com/2011/08/sermon-notes-assumption-of-blessed.html

For more on the customs and habits that surround this feast day, visit: http://www.timeanddate.com/holidays/common/assumption

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