The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


Harvest worship

It is the “reddening” of the day, when the sun has begun its relentless descent into evening.

The brilliance of the approaching sunset mellows in a fragrant haze of ripening fields of barley and wheat.

It is then that a renewed realization of the hand of God settles on farmers, who ready themselves for harvest. They prepare themselves for the inevitable solitude, where they will converse in silent prayer with their Father, thanking him, and seeking his wisdom — behind the windshields of their combines.

“Will there be enough to pay the bills?” they wonder.

“Thank you, God, for the bounty, not only of the crop but also for family—my wife, my parents and grandparents before me, who have led me to my role as a farmer.”

“And for my children, where hopefully I have planted the best seeds and nurtured them toward a bumper crop.”

Indeed the time for silent thoughts and prayers comes with harvest.

And other thoughts: “Don’t raise the truck-box under the wires, Johnny!”

The next morning the sun dawns warm, and the preparation again is under way. The bins are cleaned, the sickles are sharp, the threshing bars are set with the concaves, and the sieves are opened for the right amount of wind to bring in a clean and pure crop.

God commands our best to bring in the grains that will feed God’s world. With each turn of the wrench and each pump of the grease gun, we do God’s work to provide for “the least of our brothers.”

At noon, dressed in the clothing befitting this type of church, they climb the steps to the “church pew” in their combines and bring the harvest home. The time for thought gives way to the mechanics of the task at hand. Muscle and steel bring in the sheaves.

Again as the sky reddens and evening approaches, the parishioners, dusty and weary, turn to God with thanks for the bounty, concerns for the future and a peace that comes with good toil. And they sincerely pray:

“That the work of our hands may be enough. Enough for our world, and enough for our family. Thank you, God, for letting me be a farmer.”

This week's front page features:

In the Wangerin 'kinder-garten': Planted for grandchildren, trees bear life and love into the future. (Photo at right.)

Bless all the animals: Caring for pets, we live out God’s call.

The way we were: 1957. Youth march in Minneapolis.

Focus on rural life: Alliance addresses small-town concerns.

Also: The Lutheran's circulation challenges.

Also: Joy and life abound.

Also: Four faithful women.

Read these articles at our front page > > >

This week on our blog:

Andrea Pohlmann (right) blogs about the recent spate of school shootings.

Elizabeth Hunter writes about VeggieTales' slot in the Saturday morning cartoon lineup.

Sonia Solomonson reflects upon the power of storytelling.

Check out our blog (and leave a comment) > > >

Discuss the October issue of The Lutheran:

Each month The Lutheran gives you the opportunity to reflect on the most recent issue of the magazine. Use our open forum to discuss what we did right in October and where there's room for improvement.

Consider these questions: What did we do right this month? What stories inspired you? What did we cover that you'd like to see more of in the future? What needs improvement? What stories did you skip? What did we cover that you'd like to see less of in the future? What would you like to tell the staff of the magazine (and your fellow readers)?

Also: Get ready for future discussions about the spirituality of caring for pets and ministry among crews of merchant ships.

Join the discussion > > >

Share your evangelism tips:

Reader George C. Weirick challenged the staff of The Lutheran: "Tell us about programs that work, or unusual or new evangelism methods."

Send us your tips via e-mail, with a brief description (two or three paragraphs), along with contact information for those wanting more background.

The staff will review submissions and start publishing the best as a regular item on the “Currents” pages.

Or respond online > > >

Take our 2007 topics survey:

Help decide the topics for The Lutheran’s cover stories in 2007 by taking our survey. Last year readers like you decided what we’d cover this year.

Now it’s your turn. Tell us which 10 topics you’re most interested to read about in The Lutheran. The survey deadline is Oct. 15, and results will appear in the January issue.

Take the survey > > >

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