Thrust in thy Sickle, and Reap

In August as I walked between the Lincolnshire villages of Helpringham and Swaton, I found a shortcut through the fields. Unlike our heavy clays and damp airs which are conducive to pasture, these eastern farms enjoy rich soils and plentiful sunshine. Yet when I walked through, the crop was harvested and the fields were brown and barren. It felt like walking through a desert. We tend to view the harvest as a wonderful time of plenty, and in our harvest festivals, our pantries and our barns, it surely is. In our fields, however, it is a period of violence and plunder, an emptying and denuding. Writes Jeremiah the prophet in 8:20:

The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved.

To those who go up to meet Christ in the air, all riches and glory are theirs. To those left behind, a scorched and desolate earth, upon which they shall await coming judgement.

And I looked, and behold a white cloud, and upon the cloud one sat like unto the Son of man, having on his head a golden crown, and in his hand a sharp sickle. And another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to him that sat on the cloud, Thrust in thy sickle, and reap: for the time is come for thee to reap; for the harvest of the earth is ripe. And he that sat on the cloud thrust in his sickle on the earth; and the earth was reaped. Rev 14:14-16