John 4:35 (NIV)
Don’t you have a saying, ‘It’s still four months until harvest’? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest.
The Lord will keep you from all harm—
he will watch over your life;
the Lord will watch over your coming and going
both now and forevermore.
The theme of this year’s Lenten booklet is “The Kingdom of God is at hand.” What does this mean: is it here or just around the corner? “Is at hand” or some variation on “is near” are common translations. This suggests to me that it is in the future. But, The Message Bible and the J.B. Phillips versions translate it in the present tense; it “has arrived” and “is here.”
In John 4:35, Jesus says “Don’t you have a saying, ‘It’s still four months until harvest’? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest.” Jesus is telling the disciples that the time has arrived to take action. Others may have sown the field, but it’s our responsibility to harvest it. The time to act is now.
How do we take action? The church is Christ in the world, but we are just humans. How can we be like Christ? That seems a pretty tall order. How are we to address the challenges of the world today? Psalm 121:7-8 tells us that “The Lord will keep you from all harm – he will watch over your life; the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.” Where do we get the strength and courage, the knowledge and wisdom to fulfill Christ’s mission? By relying on God and using the law as our guide.
We understand that you have called us to be your light in the world. It almost seems too much to expect of us. Give us the courage and understanding to be able to go beyond ourselves and to act justly, to love kindness and walk humbly with you. Amen.