“O mountains of Israel, see now, I am for you; I will turn to you, and you shall be tilled and sown.” Ezekial 36:8-9
“The kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard.” Matthew 20:1
We see it outside restaurants and businesses, even on random street corners: “Help wanted!” “Now hiring!”
Not always … Dorothea Lange photographed Florence Owen Thompson, a thin mother with tired, waiting eyes; the heads of her two young daughters buried in her shoulders. Thompson was a migrant worker who picked peas. The peas froze so there was no money to be paid to workers. She had a car, but could buy no gas, and sold off parts of the car to get money to buy food. The family slept in that car, and eventually on cardboard under bridges. I’m sure many nameless, unphotographed people died under bridges during the ‘30s – as they do now.
This year peas are not freezing (at least not yet!). Farmers are anxious, watching for clouds, waiting/praying for rain; wondering where they can graze and water cattle that are hungry for forage, and thirsty. Where water supplies are dwindling some fields and orchards are not thriving. There may be no work for those who travel to harvest, for people such as Florence Owen Thompson. I wonder what they look like. Who might photograph them and help us see them?
It might seem odd to think almighty God needs help … our help. God’s harvest is tending to such as Florence Owen Thompson along with the nameless, unphotographed. These are God’s vineyard, needing food and water. The whole Earth is God’s fields, needing our caretaking. “Help wanted!” “Now hiring!” Do we hear it in the morning? The call in our hearts? From God? We should answer. We’re guaranteed a job.
Gracious God … We are so grateful for the gifts of your Earth – food and water …… and beauty, sounds and smells. This is an anxious year for mortals – farmers and gardeners praying for rain; for those looking for suitable employment; for businesses struggling to find enough workers. Give me strength and energy to work for you, to use and share my many blessings to help satisfy the needs of others. Amen