The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few;
therefore ask the overseer of the harvest to send out laborers into the harvest.
Harvest by Pastor Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Maybe the harvest is not bringing people to Christ
but gathering the fruits of the Spirit
God has sown in you
for the sake of the world.
Maybe it’s not an act of taking,
The harvest is plentiful
but few are the people who have gathered,
who have received the gifts, the grace,
the love growing in your heart,
and feasted on those fruits
to be strengthened to go out
and heal the wounded,
and be good news for the broken of the world.
The field stretches to the horizon.
There are more trees in this orchard
than stars in heaven.
What grace have you not yet harvested?
Go into that good harvest.
Here is a basket for your labors. Go.
Called together in the Spirit’s embrace, let us pray for the mending of God’s world.
Holy God, Loving God, Steadfast God, Compassionate God, looking at this world which You have created, this world over which You have given us stewardship, it is so easy to become discouraged and disheartened, to forget Your call to harvest Your grace, and to be good news for those who are broken. Sometimes all our tear-clouded eyes can see is the heartache and heartbreak which holds us in its thrall, making it difficult to see anything other than darkness and despair:
*Despair about an unknown blast which went off in eastern China, leaving at least seven people dead and over sixty-five others injured.
*Despair about a suicide car bombing into a hotel restaurant in Mogadishu, Somalia, where at least nineteen are dead and many others wounded
*Despair about the fire in the Grenfell Tower in London, England, where at least seventeen people have died and dozens of others are in hospitals, many of them in critical condition.
*Despair about the shooting in Virginia, US, at a Congressional baseball game practice, where six people were shot and the gunman was killed.
*Despair about Ohio, US student, Otto Warmbler, released by North Korea after seventeen months in captivity, who is in the hospital suffering from a severe neurological injury.
*Despair about the hundreds of civilian casualties in Raqqa, Syria, due to US-led air strikes.
*Despair about hot car deaths – deaths of children being left alone in vehicles during hot weather – occurring in the US, as three children have died in the last week.
*Despair about the road-rage shooting and killing of 2-year-old Laylah Washington of Memphis, Tennessee, US.
Holy God, Loving God, Steadfast God, Compassionate God, looking at this world which You have created, this world which You call us to co-create with You, open our eyes and our hearts to see the harvest of Your grace-filled love which is being made manifest in countless places, through countless people, children of Your own creation.
*The harvest of over one hundred and twenty migrants, who had been abandoned by traffickers without food or water in the Sahara desert, by Niger authorities.
*The harvest of the organization My Stealthy Freedom in Iran, led by Masih Alinejad, an Iranian journalist who boldly organized #whitewednesdays to protest a law forcing Iranian women to wear head scarves.
*The harvest of the work of 26-year-old Rahmatullah Arman, who, through Teach for Afghanistan, has placed 80 graduates from Afghan universities into twenty-one schools to teach 23,000 students in the hope of reducing the country’s 60% adult illiteracy rate.
*The harvest of the election in Ireland of Leo Varadkar, of Indian descent, as the country’s youngest and first openly-gay prime minister.
Holy God, Loving God, Steadfast God, Compassionate God, looking at this world which You have created, this world which You love, we Your people reach out this day. We reach out with grief and gratitude, with worry and wonder, and with tears and triumph. We open ourselves to Your Spirit as it longs to fill us with the gifts of Your grace, to empower us with the strength and courage to speak truth, and to work for justice and the healing of wounds we encounter and cause. May it be so, today and every day.