“Don’t you have a saying, ‘Four more months and then it’s time for harvest’? Look, I tell you: open your eyes and notice that the fields are already ripe for the harvest. Those who harvest are receiving their pay and gathering fruit for eternal life so that those who sow and those who harvest can celebrate together. ” — John 4:35-36
Often in the life of the church we can become so consumed with what just happened last week or where we are headed in 6 months. In this pace of life we overlook what is right before us, the fruit. Low hanging fruit in fact. Fruit that would hit you right in the head if you were walking beneath an apple tree. There’s discipline to be had in these situations. We have to be attuned to where the Spirit is connecting and affirming our connection with those in our midst. Again, the Spirit is in us, part of our DNA. As we grow closer together as community, our hearts will instinctively begin to notice the fruits of the Spirit within one another. This is the beauty of God’s movement within us, we are drawn to the Imago Dei within the other. The biggest gift we have in this world is each other. It is only when we begin to realize and comprehend this that we can and do accomplish gathering together as the true body of Christ.
Jean Vanier offers this as it pertains to gathering in community, “A human heart is either progressing or regressing. If it’s not becoming more open, it is closing and withering spiritually. A community which refuses to welcome – whether through fear, weariness, insecurity, a desire to comfort or just because it is fed up with visitors – is dying spiritually.” The God which we serve is a God of welcome, inclusion, and gathering. And for us this is what we are to journey towards as well. Gathering matters because when we do, we harvest the fruits in our midst, we gather what is before us and there’s pure beauty in this. The beauty in you, in me, in our neighbors and in our enemies is all of God and for God. We have to do our best to draw on that beauty hourly, for it is in the beauty of a gathered body that we see the mosaic of love and peace draw together. In each one of us there is the same desire for compassion, mercy, grace, love, friendship and communion.
As the beautiful hymn says, Let us Break Bread Together on our Knees, I pray this is our posture and our desire. I hope we will gather faithfully with our full community seeking to harvest the love from within and to watch that transform our community one person at a time for the sake of God’s Kingdom. The gathering of the children at the border are the prophetic mouths beckoning us to listen, attune our hearts, and radically shift the way in which we understand and process this advent season. We as faithful followers mustn’t over look the opportunity that is before us to hear, witness, and journey with these siblings of ours, for when we do, we allow our hearts to wither into status quo and complacency. Such is a time as now to ready our hearts and spirits to be attentive to the fruit that is on the border. These beloved children of God are not tokens of a politicized world, they are the beloved representation of our Lord and Savior which beckons us to draw close, to love well together, and to give way for the Kingdom that is breaking forth through their presence. Church family, let us harvest and gather in love together.
— Nathan Arledge