Hymn: “Come, Ye Thankful People, Come” – Henry Alford (1810-1871)
Tune: ST. GEORGE’S WINDSOR
This seems to me to be a great description of society… or the field of humanity owned by God himself. The good, the bad and the ugly coexisting.
Somehow, we wheat-types sometimes want to get rid of the tares-type – to set them aside as worthless outsiders… even people without hope. Jesus knew we were going to do this, so he told a parable in Matthew 13:24-30; this one is right on the heels of the Parable of the Sower which we know and understand better… although I’m never quite sure we understand everything Jesus was trying to communicate through these little stories!
|"Farmer Sowing" - Charles Henry Granger|
In this “Parable of the Weeds,” the hired hands want to go out and pull up the weeds (tares) from amongst the soon-producing wheat. The landowner who had planted the field says, “Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.”
I see this kind of thing happening all the time: it’s the us/them mentality. The righteous vs. the unrighteous. The lost vs. the saved. The good guys vs. the bad. Worst of all, I see this within the church.
If we follow the Lord’s direction on this, we will leave the separating of wheat and tares (sheep and goats) up to him at the harvest time. Meanwhile, we yield fruit… period. That is our role. Pointing out and pulling up weeds is the role of the One who owns the field.
Although we sing this hymn at Thanksgiving (because of the title), the “harvest” allusions are to the final harvest – as in the Matthew passage above. That’s why the last stanza begins with “Even so, Lord, quickly come. Bring thy final harvest home. Gather now thy people in…” Together we thankful people come to say and sing “Maranatha!” Or for those of us who watch THE PRICE IS RIGHT, “Jesus Christ, come on down!”
Interestingly, “harvest home” is the name of an English festival celebrating the harvest; it is also a song they sing as they bring in the sheaves.
So it is good and right that as we sing this hymn, we should celebrate the harvest of terrestrial crops; at the same time, we anticipate the heavenly harvest yet to come when we will be gathered in, purified, and privileged to abide in his presence forever. Even so, Lord, quickly come.
Sung by the Mormon Tabernacle Choirhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=yVIsS243854