When I think of the harvest I get images of tall wheaty crops stretching back for miles, their floppy tops moving with the breath of the wind with the sky darting inbetween the rows. I think about how plentiful the full field seems, abundant with nature, a real sense of the circle of life from dust the crops grow and when they are harvested to dust they return.
My first experience of plucking wild fruit was only a few years ago. Lovely ripe plump blackberries lined a walkway, their deep red coloured skins so inviting to touch and hold in my hand. It was so satisfying watching the punnet fill up with the crimson jewels, their growing amount increased the possibilities of what I could do with them.
I chose to make a jam for the first time ever. It was lovely watching the sugary fruits come together to make a jar of preserved joy. Reading a piece of scripture brought back the memory of picking and Transforming the fruits into the jam.
“But I tell you, open your eyes! Look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest right now. Even now the one who gathers the crop is getting paid. They are already harvesting the crop for eternal life. So the one who plants and the one who gathers can now be glad together. Here is a true saying. ‘One plants and another gathers.’ I sent you to gather what you have not worked for. Others have done the hard work. You have gathered the benefits of their work.” – John 4:35-38
I particularly love the line “I sent you to gather what you have not worked for.” It makes me think of the spiritual seed that is planted in each of us by God’s hand. That seed is cultivated through prayer and worship. This is sometimes done through church, through organised regular services, and other times out of church, a quiet glowing faith that is slowly grown privately, a sense of faithfulness from a growing relationship with God.
Recently I’ve seen two people who I’ve been in contact with who have felt the seedling of their faith starting to grow again and produce fruit. One through the clouds of dementia who’s familiar roots in faith have become a strong support in helping her to move forward. One who’s seed had been in the shadows and is now cultivating and thriving in the sunlight of God’s love.
Here in these situations I witness the power of that phrase “I sent you to gather what you have not worked for”, Seeing the wonder of God’s love intact and still strong in a person just waiting for the right and suitable conditions to blossom again.
I am a witness to this, I have not done the hard work, our heavenly father, the Holy spirit, the living word working hard and relentlessly within all of us. We are sent to gather the fruits to bring them together to make something amazing out of their combined wonder. Jesus takes them and transforms them into newness, a lifetime and beyond of Christian faith.
I hope and pray that I can keep pointing people towards the never-ending love of our God. The seeds have been sewn, the plants are growing, now let us gather the harvest into our Church families and share the fruits of the spirit with all.