Today's Lectionary Text
Psalm 4:6-8Many people say,
“We can’t find goodness anywhere.
The light of your face has left us, Lord!”
But you have filled my heart with more joy
than when their wheat and wine are everywhere!
I will lie down and fall asleep in peace
because you alone, Lord, let me live in safety.
Wheat harvest is winding down now in central Kansas and moving on to northern Kansas and into Nebraska and points farther north and west. Harvest is always a hectic and worrying time for farmers. But it is also a time that fills my heart with joy. I grew up in central Kansas and for much of my life there was a big wheat field just across the road from my home. I have always found harvest to be a special and beautiful time. There is nothing prettier to me than a field of ripe wheat under a cerulean sky with big puffy cumulous clouds towering overhead.
My first appointment was in the Flint Hills and as my first year there came to an end, I found myself suddenly very discontented. It wasn’t until I made a trip home to visit my mother that I understood what was wrong. There were no wide-open wheat fields in the Flint Hills. Lots of wide-open pastureland, green and beautiful in its own way, but no wheat – not even many small fields tucked into odd bits of farm ground.
But when I reached south central Kansas on my way home that week, harvest was underway. Combines were working their way across vast fields of gold. My heart was immediately flooded with joy, and I knew that I’d been homesick for those fields of ripened wheat. After my visit home I went back to my parish renewed by both time with my mother – and the vision of wheat harvest. The discontent I’d known earlier was lifted and when I returned to my parish, I was ready to resume my pastoral duties and rest peacefully because God had given me such joy.
The psalmist wrote that while others felt the absence of God, his own heart had been filled with more joy than they would ever know. He gave thanks for God’s presence that allowed him to rest peacefully and live in safety. As I look back across the years, I can recall numerous times when I have felt my heart filled with joy and the presence of God – much like that wheat harvest so many years back.
How often do we all find ourselves feeling restless, distanced from God, only to have a sudden rush of joy fill our hearts over something simple – like a combine in a wheat field? When that rush of joy comes, do we recognize God’s presence in that moment? God is never far from us. But sometimes we need the reassurance that comes as joy pours into our hearts.
--Rev. Robbie Fall, retired elder
Prayer for Reflection
God of joy, fill our hearts with the knowledge of your presence this day and help us to find peace in your presence. Amen.
This Week's Lectionary
This Week's Liturgical Color