Matthew 13:24-43 (King James Version)
24Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field: 25But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way. 26But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also. 27So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares? 28He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up? 29But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them. 30Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.
An open mind is an amazing thing. One day I realized that if I needed an answer to a question, and I could not find it, I just had to leave my mind open – eventually the answer would come. I extended this to my religious reading and an understanding of the parables of the New Testament and the Books of the Old Testament. So, in reading the above parable of the Sower and the weeds I could not understand how it was that the Sower thought that the good crop would be picked up with the weeds. All of the stories are told in terms of the reality that we know so that we could draw a parallel. However, I easily remove weeds from my garden upon the first appearance because they do not appear alike. Suddenly, during the Presidential election I saw the true meaning of weeds. I saw people who said that they believed in God, were “good” Christians and Jews turn into hateful bigoted people.
So what is the Harvest? Many like to think of it as the “end of days”, when in fact there is no one end of days. There are many fields in God’s world and many have seen an end of days. Surely there was an end of days in Germany for six million Jews. There seems to be an end of days in Darfur. There was an end of days in Bosnia, Rwanda, and certainly parts of Iraq. There certainly was an end of days for the thousands killed and still dying due to the World Trade Center attack, and Hurricane Katrina. No, the Harvest is not connected with the end of days, it is a time when we are ripe and bear fruit. That time is not the same for everyone – It is how we each answer when we are called to show ourselves. When Obama ran for President I saw so many people grasp at straws to find a politically correct reason to fear his being elected, but their desperation exposed their truth. They had been living as hypocrites, going to their Churches and Temples lying to the God that demands that we love each other as ourselves, perhaps even lying to themselves. The Harvest came to the Germans. Those who risked their own lives to save the Jews were the good crop, and those who turned on them were the tares.
The same holds true in Rwanda, there are so many stories of people who risked their lives to protect those whose lives were threatened, and those who did nothing – harvest. Today, as millions of people lose their jobs and their homes – while others still spend tens of thousands of dollars on accessories rather than coming to their brother’s aid are showing the fruit – or lack of fruit that they truly bear. It is not about tithing, it is not about giving of what is extra or comfortable – it is about giving what is needed – even when it requires a sacrifice, because to sacrifice is to make sacred.
Whether our hatred surfaces, our greed, or our indifference to all other life on earth, all is coming to the surface during these testing times. The real enemy is never the one standing in your face holding a gun – no, the real enemy is the one standing at your back holding a gun on you while he tells you that he is your friend. There is no greater enemy to man, to the world, or to God than the hypocrite. The Harvest is when there is no choice but to act in accordance with who we are. It is when the circumstances are so dire as to force a response that is true to the self – and when no response is equal to a response.
I once firmly believed that the enemy was Religion. Clearly, at a time of readily available weapons of mass destruction Religion, being divisive, and the cause of so much death and destruction over the past two thousand years had to be our greatest enemy. This was a disheartening belief, because we cannot do anything about religion. Then one day I was reading about what it means to be a Jew. I read:
“How could anyone who believes in the God of the Bible treat his fellow human beings, all of whom are created in God’s image, with less than compassion?” “To Jews, compassion is the keystone of being a mensch, and so basic a requirement of being human that the Talmud’s Rabbis were willing, at least in theory, to read an unkind person out of the Jewish Community…. From Judaism’s perspective, an unkind person is presumably a non-believer”.
All of this would be intensified for Christianity because it is upon the rock of brotherly love and compassion that Jesus built His Church. With or without religion, even with belief in One God and One Way – there will still be hypocrites because there is a universal belief in One God, and that God demands that we love and that we understand that we are our brother’s keepers. Yet, there are still those hypocrites who place themselves above and apart from God by choosing to pretend to live in the image of God while living in the image of the deceiver. We can only worship and honor God, the noun, by living God, the verb. So, for many different reasons, the Harvest is coming to, perhaps more fields at once than ever before. In a sense, it is a time of Revelation, as it was originally depicted – a time when all that has been hidden is being revealed – a time when however hard we try to disguise ourselves – we can no longer hide. We are in a time when there are only two paths on which to walk – the path for those who are God-ing and choose to serve all as needed, as brothers and sisters under God, and the other path, the one for those who cannot bear to serve any except themselves and those they consider their own.
The road is forked and we must walk that path of who we are. I never really grasped the big deal made of hypocrites in the Bible before now. Now, I realize that a hypocrite is a promised vote that cannot be counted on, a promised service that cannot be depended on, a promised hand that cannot be trusted to be there, a promised fire that will cause one to freeze, a promised meal that will cause one to starve, and a promised ally that will cause one’s defeat. The hypocrite is the one you trust to be there and because of whom you look no further. The enemy that you know can make you strong; the one that you don’t know will destroy you. We don’t need to eliminate religion – we need religion to eliminate hypocrites. In the days to come religion too, will be revealed, it will be known by its members. A whole is the sum of its parts. It is perhaps the decade of harvest, and what will be separated out will be the hypocrites. What are the “Meek” who will inherit the earth? Perhaps meek means simple – clear – transparent. Perhaps it is the true, the transparent who will inherit the earth.