Jesus also said,
“The kingdom of God is as if someone would scatter seed on the ground,
and would sleep and rise night and day,
and the seed would sprout and grow, he does not know how.
The earth produces of itself, first the stalk,
then the head, then the full grain in the head.
But when the grain is ripe, at once he goes in with his sickle,
because the harvest has come.”
Farmers know. Farmers know how to count the days of growing by weeks and rains. They know to watch the colors and texture of the soil, to breathe deep and smell the life of the field. Farmers know. They know when it’s time to scatter the seeds. They know to wait for the mystery to unfold from beneath the ground. They know that while they irrigate and wait and count the clouds and do chores by the rising and setting sun the wheat is rising and will push through the earth and reach for the sun. Farmers know the age of stalk of wheat or corn by it’s height, by how far it reaches for the sun. And when the seeds or fruits begin to spill out onto the ground, they know it’s time. When life is overflowing, bursting forth, they know it’s time to begin the harvest.
Jesus points us to the parable of the planting and harvesting, giving us a beautiful image of the spiritual life, or a life in God. It’s cyclical, it’s interconnected and dependent on our life in relationship to all that surrounds us, it’s a mystery where growth and meaning happen in the darkness, underground, where only God knows what’s going on. And like the grains and fruits of the harvest our lives also come to a head. The nurture and mystery, the relationships that cultivate, challenge and strengthen us lead to a time of bearing fruit.
What fruits have you born in your life? Can you remember a time when life or love or new life sprang forth from your own story? When your hard work or attention to Holy Spirit bore an unexpected or beautiful moment of peace or joy or deeper understanding? Was it a painful labor? Or one marked by love and support? What have you done with the harvesting moments in your life?
The farmer’s harvest goes to feed the animals, or the people, the family around the table, to the local or global market. Sometimes the harvest goes back in the ground to live yet another life-cycle. Where does the harvest God is tending in your life go? There are times in my own life that I’ve wasted a harvest moment, that I’ve allowed a moment with rich potential for deepening a relationship or paying forward a grace-filled moment fall on the ground. Other times I’ve witnessed God’s exploding harvest and managed to fall on my knees with thanksgiving. To name and celebrate it with others.
May you experience the work of God in your lives as unfolding mystery,
May you recognize and give thanks for the bounty in front of you,
May God sustain you through what at times feels like a famine,
May we celebrate one another’s harvest,
and share it with one another, with the hungry of belly and the hungry of heart.
and may we continuously replant the seeds of God’s creation for future generations.