Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Pastor


One of the blessings of this time of year is the varieties of fruits and vegetables that become available to us, either from our own gardens or farmer’s markets or even the local grocery store.

There are flavors and colors that we can enjoy only for a few weeks, so it’s good to take advantage of them.


Whenever I see the abundance of choices that we have of good things to eat, it always reminds me of two things:

1. The blessings of God which made all of this possible; and

2. The hard work of people, planting, weeding, watering and then picking this bounty for us to have on our tables.


This month at church we’re going to share an abundance of agricultural images from the parables of Jesus as our Sunday gospel: the sower and the seed, the weeds among the wheat, and the mustard seed are all going to grace our table in the coming weeks. And while each of these stories will serve to describe some part of Jesus’ ministry, they also fit within that other template I just mentioned.


First, we are reminded that what happens to the seed and soil really depends on God, and not on us. It is God who gives us this abundance in the first place, and one of our most natural responses is to be thankful to him.

But in addition, there’s still a lot of labor that goes on—from those who plant the seeds, those who want to weed around the plants, and those who come to harvest. The harvest is going to be plentiful, and there will always be the need for those willing to labor.


This has been a strange summer in lots of ways. I hope you have been paying attention to the news reports regarding the protests that have been ongoing against those who murder, those who inflict death on people of color. I know that the sheer volume of information and opinions can get a little overwhelming after awhile, but I urge you to keep your eyes open.


Our Synod is encouraging us to have conversations about race and fighting against racism. I know that there are some who feel that we should be done with this by now, that we should be able to move on from this. But if all those news reports have told us anything, it’s that racism is still alive and well in our country.


I hope that we are able to have these kinds of conversations, both as a church and in our own homes and among our own families. It might not always be something that we feel like doing, but this, too, is a kind of harvest. It’s something that we need to keep giving to God, to keep asking God to take care of us, to tend the good things that have been planted among us, that will help us all push back against racism. It’s all in God’s hands, anyway.


At the same time, we also need to stay willing to keep laboring in these fields. We would only be fooling ourselves if we were to convince ourselves that the work is already all done. There’s actually plenty that still needs to be done, and we’re not going to get there overnight.


I pray that God will bless our labor in fields of all sorts, and that he will continue to keep us safe. May you feel his presence with you this month!

Peace and love,

Pastor Jim