Today's Lectionary Text
2 Thessalonians 2:13-17
But we always must thank God for you, brothers and sisters who are loved by God. This is because he chose you from the beginning to be the first crop of the harvest. This brought salvation, through your dedication to God by the Spirit and through your belief in the truth. God called all of you through our good news so you could possess the honor of our Lord Jesus Christ. So then, brothers and sisters, stand firm and hold on to the traditions we taught you, whether we taught you in person or through our letter. Our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father loved us and through grace gave us eternal comfort and a good hope. May he encourage your hearts and give you strength in every good thing you do or say.
As I begin with this passage, I want to be clear that I’m pulling first crop of the harvest out of the passage to express what’s on my soul today.
As the flood waters began, I do not think any of us in the Great Plains Conference imagined the toll these floods would have on the harvest. Traveling over Nebraska and Kansas these past nine months has brought aches to my soul – so much devastation. So much pain and loss. There is one particular stretch of driving that carries me past field, after field, after field. Some of those fields are now a waste land – evidence of saturated soil still remains – no planting this year.
There are fields showing evidence of growth, yet even in the midst, there are patches in the fields that planting could not happen. There are fields where planting happened, yet the crop didn’t produce. There are fields near the river and creek banks that are covered in toxic sand. Yes, there are fields ripe for harvest and being harvested now and what a glorious sight that is to see!
Driving back from Fremont, Nebraska, on a recent Saturday night, I noticed headlights off in the distance. I slowed down to take a better look on this dark and lonely road. As I pulled to the shoulder, I saw a farmer on his John Deere tractor harvesting the crop. (Kind of reminded me of the movie, “Field of Dreams,” when the players would come through the corn field at night to play baseball.) I watched for a short time as the headlights were the only thing visible, knowing the tractor was going row by row.
I wondered about that farmer – is he a generational farmer? How long has the family tended the precious land? I wondered about the family traditions that may have covered that land in hard work, sweat, prayers, harvesting, then enjoying the benefits. I wondered how the floods have affected that farmer -- is there ground unusable this year? Is the harvest going to sustain he and his family? Are the markets going to suffer with less food, because of the flood waters that covered the land?
I drove on down the dark, lonely road, praying to God for this farmer. I prayed this passage over that farmer, claiming that he be encouraged in his heart and that God will continue to strengthen him. The God of creation gives us eternal comfort and a good hope (v.17b)
-Rev. Hollie Tapley
Great Plains Disaster Response Coordinator
Prayer for Reflection
God of the fields and their workers, I pray for sustaining strength and ability as they work to produce a harvest. May that harvest be life giving, provide comfort, and continue to multiply. Amen.
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