Fresh Fields - B ... Alive in dead judgements


Choking back his own tears he looked upon his wife's moist loving eyes. Safe in his strong arms she received his comfort. He spoke kindly, with empty words of re-assurance. She received comfort that was tangible but also hollow.  Her awareness too present, that his trip to town was likely to deliver little good - but, he still had to try! Poverty upon this diligent farming family seemed so unfair to both their hearts.

He released her from his tender and loving grasp to mount his dray, drawn by an elderly mare. Soon the hollow clip-clop of well worn horseshoes echoed through the furling dust.

He rose up and down on the dray almost synchronised with the ageing movements of his mare. Sadly he reflected upon the regular repairs his farm required, and the desirable lodging his wallet provided for moths. Again he questioned a silent heaven, the absence of answers.

The hot piercing sun sapped his small energy reserves as he rode a trip towards further despair. Still, he knew he had to get to town. They were desperate for replenished supplies. He knew his credit was most finite. He feared that this finitude would arrive today.

He believed in his own spiritual and physical diligence. His reputation throughout the district was envied by many as a man who would not shirk hard work. This honour kept him buoyant at times through the constant turbulence of farm life.

The first farm he passed on his sojourn to town shared a fence-line with the fresh unsown field. This adjacent landholding was as equally barren as his.

As the dray bucked randomly along he would bounce past the healthy weeds and the biting thorns that looked so green and pleasing. From a distance they were deceptive because could not be identified. In fact these fields would appear to be well cultivated until a close inspection revealed otherwise. Choked among the deceiving green were the good seeds languishing in the long overused and poorly tended soil.

About half-way to town the scenery scape changed most noticeably. The low pastures, verdant with weeds gave way to tall golden stalks. To him, (and many others who passed by) he witnessed a visual miracle. Literally a fence line separated barrenness and abundance, infertility and fertility.

Many unkind rumours circulated (are there ever kind ones?) about this farmer's abundance. Most of the other farms in the district too faced the same dis-spiriting absence of productivity as he did. Why was there abundance here? Cries assailed the Throne of Grace again for justice. Silence was the only audible response.

One story flowed that this farmer consulted evil and cut a covenant with the evil one for his prosperity. Another softer rumour (but no less malicious) claimed he was poisoning his soil for short term gain but long term destruction. Apparently he had cast some formula that killed thorns, enabling a re-planting for a good harvest now, but eventually sowing a poison that would last in the soil for generations.

None of the other farmers spoke well, or believed well of this successful farmer. (Except a small handful that too had adopted his correct farming methods.) The successful farmers, if greeted at all, were never greeted with joy, simply with jeer.

The farmers of barreness believed most sincerely that the farmers of abundance were farming wrongly and would ultimately fail. They believed that the success was actually evidence of unhelpful even wrong farming initiatives. They even accused the successful farmers to their face of poisoning the soil for many future generations.

Completely unaware of their own farming ineptitude and inability to remove the thorns, they would continue to pass ill judgement on the farmers of success. These 'wise judges' would only leave an inheritance of unhelpful counsel, thorns, failing soils and encroaching poverty with accumulated debt.

Curiously the programme that produced abundance was now over a century old. It had produced much fruit for the entire time. Worldwide it had met much success. Still they criticised, still they maligned.

Completely captured in his unhealthy thoughts, the farmer arrived in town feeling the trip was quicker than usual. He was fully convinced not to take any 'polluting risks' to his children's inheritance. He was so naively confident, maybe even arrogant that it was superior to simply leave his family a field of thorns. He knew he would entertain no new technology for farming. He was seduced by his own acclaimed farming persona to the correctness of antiquated and uninformed fruitless ways.

Sincerely (but foolishly) he maintained that his barrenness was not through lack of skill or effort but through an inexplicable intervention from heaven. Giving heaven the burden and blame somehow lifted the load and ameliorated his angst. But faithfully he would keep saying his prayers and listening for non-existent replies.

This farmer could never reap fertility for he did not know how to sow to it.

He alighted his dray and turned towards the general store, fear instantly coursed through his veins and sinews. How long would his credit last?

His criticisms stayed with him. His vision remained firmly planted behind him.

Is 32:15-20 ... Jan 18th 09

Making Sense of Today's Church ... Part B - The Desert Church

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