Monday, September 5, 2011


Today, as I sit at "my" picnic table in the plaza during my 1st period prep, there's a distinct feeling of autumn in the air. The table is smattered with fallen yellow leaves--casualties of the on-again, off-again rainstorms of the past few days. The air is slightly cool, and there's just a hint of that fall crispness to it. Maybe it's just my imagination. Maybe it's just wishful thinking... I mean, after all, I know that it will warm up this afternoon, and it will be muggy during cross country practice. When that time comes, I won't be making any comparisons to fall. But right now? Things are perfect.

God is giving us a taste of what's to come, a reminder that the heat and humidity that make us sweat, make us feel gross will not last. Eventually, they will give way to a cooler climate--the season that is traditionally associated with the harvest. This taste of things to come was a concept familiar to the ancient Israelites as well. By God's command, the Israelites would hold a celebration just prior to the harvest known as "first-fruits" in which they would gather the produce that had already grown in their fields and gardens. It was not a full harvest--the vegetables, wheat and grain were still growing, still had weeks or perhaps months to go before ripeness. Yet, the Israelites would feast and celebrate on the earliest vegetables in expectation of that full harvest.

This is very much a reflection of where we are today, where the church is today--just like the heat and humidity, sin continues to oppress us and afflict us. Sometimes, it seems as if there's no exit, no end. However, we know that Christ has defeated the power of sin and death--the oppression can't last. Sin is dying--it's still dangerous. It's still flailing its limbs and causing more collateral damage than we care to see... but sin will crumble and fall for good when Christ returns. This is the harvest which we anticipate--the lovely, cool autumn season. We can see traces of this in the world today--consider the power of the Holy Spirit in the spread of the gospel! Consider the work of the church! Consider each time relationships are repaired between estranged friends and family, when broken marriages are restored! Consider the ways in which humans selflessly serve each other and reach out to the broken! No, it's not a full harvest--these are just traces. But, if these traces bring us so much joy, then how much more will we rejoice on the day of the harvest?

It's warmed up significantly since I started writing this post, and the bell will ring in two minutes--then I'll be off to class. When next I emerge outside, it will likely be quite hot and humid. I pray that I may not forget about the hope, the anticipation and the joy of the first-fruits of autumn.

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