The Harvest Is Great, the Laborers Few
Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and curing every disease and every sickness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, ‘The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.’
Reflection by Duke Yaguchi
Jesus didn't just talk the talk by proclaiming the good news. He walked the walk by curing those who needed curing. But he knew he couldn't do it all by himself. He asked the disciples to ask for help.
This is profound. Jesus is asking for help. Through Matthew's writing, the message is for all of us to pitch in and help.
Two massive movements are upon us. First the pandemic is making millions sick and killing hundreds of thousands around the world. People are being asked to be "alone together". To isolate as much as possible to curb the spread of the virus. Those who do go out and about are being asked to wear a mask and socially distant from their "neighbors".
When I went to a home improvement store just the other day, at least 80% of the shoppers and even some of the employees were not wearing masks. They acted as if the pandemic is over. It made me a little fearful and a little angry that so many people are so cavalier about Covid-19 now. It's as if they've reached the end point of the virus and going back to the "old normal". We can get to the "harvest" of a Covid-free world if we all work together to end it. It does take labor, but it can be done.
The second movement is in response to the ugliness and perpetuity of racism. The heightened impact of racism by police is that too often it results in the wrongful death of an African-American. We've seen this video before repeatedly. A black man selling cigarettes illegally in New York was killed. A black man with a broken tail light was stopped by a patrol officer. Because he was behind in his child payments, he ran. He was shot in the back and killed. A policeman mistook his gun for a taser and kills a black man. A black man is shot to death as he reaches in his glove box to retrieve his car's registration that the police officer had asked for. It's not enough for blacks to be upset. For many of us who are not black, we have been upset as well. But what we're finally seeing is that white police officers are just as upset. And no one will be able to change the culture of police departments more effectively than police officers themselves. I hope some day, the next time a black man is dying at the hands of a police officer, his peers, instead of watching idly by, will tackle that officer, put handcuffs on him and tell him that's not allowed. Until that day comes, we must think of how we can be laborers for the harvest of social justice.
Let me add a comment about the rioting. I am against anarchy. I think the violence is totally wrong. I am fearful of being anywhere near city centers, businesses, parks and so on. I have faith in our government and the common good. I have a deep love for the democratic experiment started by Jefferson, Hamilton, Washington, Franklin and others. I can only wonder what they are thinking when they look down upon what is happening in our country.
Dear Lord, I know change is coming. I pray it will be a change for the better. Amen.