Location: New England, United States

Monday, May 15, 2006

The Winter Harvest

"After this the Lord appointed seventy others, and sent them on ahead of him, two by two, into every town and place where he himself was about to come. And he said to them, "The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; pray therefore the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest. Go your way; behold, I send you out as lambs in the midst of wolves." Luke 10:1-3 RSV

We have seen that the first fruits will be harvested together before the heat of the summer; lest they wither. The summer fruits are harvested as they ripen and mature. Now let us learn about the winter harvest.

The seeds of the winter harvest were planted along with the first fruits and the summer fruits, however, they have taken longer to germinate and grow. Their growth or even germination may not even appear until after the first fruits have been taken up. Though they may grow along side the summer fruits, they did not benefit from the spring rains. They must persist through the blazing summer sun and possible summer droughts.

The days become shorter with more darkness and cold nighttime winds. An early frost may sear their upper growth. They grow hard shells such as pumpkins or winter squash to withstand the cold, or they may hide underground as potatoes and parsnips. They are not as flavorsome as their spring and summer counterparts, but they have much more substance because of the hardships they have survived.

The Hebrew Harvest Feast of Sukkoth is celebrated five days after Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. Sukkoth is when the final harvest is carried into the storehouse. It is also called the Feast of the Tabernacles to commemorate the huts constructed by the Israelites in the desert. These huts were temporary dwellings which could be erected, taken down and carried during their wanderings. It is also indicated that these huts were constructed in the fields during the final harvest allowing the field workers to sleep close to their fields until the harvest was complete.

"Carry no purse, no bag, no sandals; and salute no one on the road. Whatever house you enter, first say, 'Peace be to this house!' And if a son of peace is there, your peace shall rest upon him; but if not, it shall return to you. And remain in the same house, eating and drinking what they provide, for the laborer deserves his wages; do not go from house to house. Whenever you enter a town and they receive you, eat what is set before you; heal the sick in it and say to them, 'The kingdom of God has come near to you.' But whenever you enter a town and they do not receive you, go into its streets and say, 'Even the dust of your town that clings to our feet, we wipe off against you; nevertheless know this, that the kingdom of God has come near.' I tell you, it shall be more tolerable on that day for Sodom than for that town. "Woe to you, Chora'zin! woe to you, Beth-sa'ida! for if the mighty works done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago, sitting in sackcloth and ashes. But it shall be more tolerable in the judgment for Tyre and Sidon than for you. And you, Caper'na-um, will you be exalted to heaven? You shall be brought down to Hades. "He who hears you hears me, and he who rejects you rejects me, and he who rejects me rejects him who sent me." Luke 10:4-16RSV

These fruits will carry the people through the long, cold winter and witness the returning spring.


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