Filed under: Bible, Christianity, faith, God, Inspiration, Religion, Sermon, Spirituality
Ever since I was in Jr. High I knew how to work. Whether it was putting handbills on each door in my neighborhood for the local store, or pushing grocery carts up the smoldering asphalt parking lot at Super Saver grocery store I could not be accused of being a lazy child. Yet, there was one job which I refused do. It was a job that was a rite of passage for many of my friends on those Nebraska plains. It was the grueling summer job called corn detasseling. My friends would arise way before the sun would rise and fill the back of the flat beds of pick up trucks. Dressed in a couple of layers of clothing, boots and utility gloves they would begin walking down the rows of corn stalks.
Corn is grown in blocks or panels. Each panel has six rows. The inner four rows are called the “female” stalks, while the two outer rows are the “male” stalks. Each detasseler would move toward these four inner rows and begin plucking the tassels that pollinated the corn. The outside rows tassels were kept untouched. Each workers must make sure that the tassels were thrown in the muddy ground in the center row so that the corn will cross-pollinated. This hybridized corn produces a much higher yield for the farmers. Each panel is about ½ mile long. So, after being lashed in the face by the sturdy leaves of the corn stalk, slogging in boots for ½ mile in thick mud, sweating terribly in those multilayer cloths as the summer sun moves toward its apex you must then start it over again on new rows for the next 12 hours. The pay was good for a summer job, but it was brutal work. This preparation work was essential for the corn to produce and be harvested. Without those who detassel there would have been a much more meager harvest and the farmers and agribusinesses would produce much smaller yields. Those who detasseled the fields prepared them for a plentiful harvest.
Samaritans led by a woman given “living water” rush toward Jacob’s well in their white robes as she proclaims, “Come see the man who told me everything that I have done.” “Can this man truly be the messiah?” Just moments earlier bewildered disciples found their teacher chatting with this woman of a different faith. They want him to eat, but Jesus is much more interested in the crowds in white robes which are descending on him. To him they are a harvest of abundant fruit. They have been prepared and are ready for the worship of God in Spirit and truth. He tries to teach his disciples that this wellspring of eternal water that he has activated in the Samaritan woman is bubbling just beneath the surface in each and every one of these people who are now rushing to his side.
So who are we in this story? Are we the woman who misunderstands the prophet’s message about water, but becomes the first to declare him as messiah? Are we the bewildered disciples which strain to understand why their teacher keeps such unattractive company and refuses to practice good self-care, the same disciples that Christ exhorts to become active in harvesting? Are we those who rush toward to seer brought close by the promise of revelation that comes from the worship of a God in Spirit and truth? Are we the one’s preparing the harvest, the reapers, or the barley that is ready to be cut, gathered and brought into the storehouse?
So, much is revealed to the woman who leads the mob to the man who is a prophet. He not only reveals to her current living situation, but what life springing eternal water can sate her parched soul. He has also revealed the nature of the God whom will be worshipped, not in temples made of stone, but in Spirit, in truth! The Christ has ripped back the pretense and façade in her human existence and in doing so cracked open with his words the impenetrable mystery of the divine. It is in these moments Christ is the messiah, the one who will save his people and the one who will set the captives free. Jesus does it by tearing back the curtains that cloud our eyes from understanding ourselves and keeps us from worshipping our creator. Like those who detasseled in my youth Christ is ripping off the tassel to prepare us for a greater yield in our spiritual lives. The woman who was harvested has turned and brought more to the harvest.
This must mean that at any given time we can be harvesters or be harvested. The divine will prepare the fields for a plentiful yield. As a matter of fact we are told in Amos that our hope should be that this harvest shall reach such a fever that “plowman will overtake the reaper and the treader of grapes the one who sows the seed; the mountains will drip with sweet wine, and all the hills shall flow with it.” Whether you are harvest or harvesting this morning know that it is undeniable that if you encounter a strange man and he offers you an internal well which will transform your worship of God it will strip back the denial and self defenses that you have built up to keep you from knowing who you truly are in this world. Yet, it will also strip back the veil that separates you from an authentic relationship with your creator. Our worship of the divine will be transformed form the idols of our past into the never ending Spirit who is truth. It will be transformed because someone can tell us “everything that we have done.”
Today we are having the tassels ripped from our lives so that we might bear great fruit in God’s harvest. Christ’s Word is revealing who we truly are and what direction we should take in life. Be prepared to harvest and be harvested in the process of getting to know the divine and ourselves. Before there can be a deeper understanding of the divine we must be prepared to understanding our own true nature. It is then that we can drink from an unquenchable spring and delve deeply into an inexhaustible God who has been called love, wisdom and reveals the truth.
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