Five Minutes unedited here we come…the word-prompt today is Gather.
I see in my minds eye, the Shepherd with his arm full of lambs. And I see the Biblical Ruth – my namesake – with her arms full of gathered wheat. Jesus said to his disciples, ‘The fields are ripe for harvest, open your eyes; pray for workers…’
And so we pray.
I know nothing of sowing, reaping, harvesting. I know nothing of the back-breaking work of leaning down in a swelteringly hot field, picking from the ground my supper, my eating. I know nothing of that sort of hard work.
I know nothing of the farming, the raising of livestock. I don’t even own a dog. It speaks to me of mess, smell and poop. They can be cute and fluffy, but they can be barky or sickly. Troublesome. An armful of wriggly escape-artists.
You would have thought that an armful of lambs would have the sense to nestle in to the Shepherd’s embrace, eh? I never saw a Farmer with one that didn’t want to wriggle away to ‘freedom’.
This gathering of souls – lambs – sheaves of wheat. It’s hard, messy, exhausting work. God give us the strength for it. God give us the eyes for it too… the vision, the sense of urgency there is to get out into the fields and get on with the job. We co-labour with him. We think it’s tough? I’m reminded of his first ‘labour-pains’ in Gethsemane, as he wrestled with a vision of humanity saved, and what it would cost him to open the way for us all to come back to God. Then he went though with it. Right to the cross, to death, hell and right the way up to heaven. He’s opened the way.
We must point to that open door.