Rejoice Together – part 2

So that the sower and the reaper may rejoice together.Jesus of Nazareth, The Gospel of John

It has been my experience that the emphasis of this verse is on the “reaping”—the gleaning of the fruit, ​corresponding to the​ practice in​ ministry of looking for opportunities to “bring people to Christ”.* In my previous post​,​ I highlighted that “reaping” wasn’t the only activity mentioned by Jesus in this moment. In fact, he seemed to put reaping in its place alongside the need for sowing or other activities for proper farming – or spiritual growth.

The analogy that Jesus is drawing here relates to what is needed in the whole process of the spiritual journey to Jesus the Christ. In the last post I made my observation, in this one I want to ask several questions.

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Rejoice Together

Green Barley Field

“Look, I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see that the fields are white for harvest. Already the one who reaps is receiving wages and gathering fruit for eternal life, so that sower and reaper may rejoice together. For here the saying holds true, ‘One sows and another reaps.’ I sent you to reap that for which you did not labor. Others have labored, and you have entered into their labor.” Jesus of Nazareth, The Gospel of John

The primary grain staples of 1st Century AD Israel were barley and wheat – used to make bread – an important part of the Jewish gastronomical and spiritual culture. Commonly, in that region, the seeds were sown between the months of November and January, then tilled or hoed into the ground to allow to grow and to protect them from scavengers. Beginning about early April the barley fields would begin to be harvested which would last through May when at the end of that month the wheat harvest would be reaped. When first planted the ground would obviously be brown or clay in color, then as the plants grew to their largest size they would be green, and finally as they would ripe in the full sun their color would change to a light gold or cream color. Altogether about an eight-month period of time for both grains.

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Paradox and Astonishment – Jean-Luc Marion quote

Some opening lines to ponder of a new book I (Kirk) am starting:

“In itself, perspective exercises a paradox…The paradox attests to the visible, while at the same time opposing itself, or rather while inverting itself; literally, it constitutes a counter-visible, a counter-seen, a counter-appearance that offers in a spectacle to be seen the opposite of what, at first sight, one would expect to see. More than a surprising opinion, the paradox often points to a miracle – it makes visible that which one should not be able to see and which one is not able to see without astonishment.”

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The immanence and transcendence of food and relationship

This is an essay based on an introductory talk Kirk gave at A Place at the Table: Creativity in Food and Togetherness on January 18th 2013. This has been edited from the audio version (which will be made available as soon as it has been properly prepared for posting).

Postcards and pins on registration table

I remember in the days following 9/11 when I lived in Manhattan there was a desire to seek out some level of personal and communal healing. The arts group I was a part of sought that out in Tribeca—a half a dozen blocks from Ground Zero. We began to meet weekly in a bakery behind Robert De Niro’s “Tribeca Grill” called the “Tribakery”—we named our group “The Tribakery Group” in honor of that place. We met there for many reasons. One, was for communal healing through friendship and conversation. Two, was to stir our creative juices together as artists, and three we wanted to bring our meager “art income” earnings down to one of the neighborhoods hit hard economically after the attack. That being said, the unstated but very evident reason we met at Tribakery was the great baked goods and variety of strong coffees that we would consume every week. We knew the food and drink would be good because they resourced Mr. De Niro’s grill right next door. I was never disappointed…they had great coffee and croissants. These seemingly minor starches and hot liquids sped our healing, enhanced the creative juices, and satisfied the investment of our monies.

This same group influenced a few visiting college students who later started the Friday Arts Project (FAP) at Winthrop University in Rock Hill, South Carolina.

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Quote | John Piper

The imagination calls up new words, new images, new analogies, new metaphors, new illustrations, new connections to say old, glorious truth. Imagination is the faculty of the mind that God has given us to make the communication of his beauty beautiful.”

John Piper, God Is Not Boring

Quote | Emily Dickinson

Tell all the Truth but tell it slant—
Success in Circuit lies
Too bright for our infirm Delight
The Truth’s superb surprise
As Lightening to the Children eased
With explanation kind
The Truth must dazzle gradually
Or every man be blind—”

Emily Dickinson

Quote | Howard Thurman

Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”

Howard Thurman

Quote | Hans Urs von Balthasar

We no longer dare to believe in beauty and we make of it a mere appearance in order the more easily to dispose of it. Our situation today shows that beauty demands for itself at least as much courage and decision as do truth and goodness, and she will not allow herself to be separated and banned from her two sisters without taking them along with herself in an act of mysterious vengeance. We can be sure that whoever sneers at her name as if she were the ornament of a bourgeois past — whether he admits it or not — can no longer pray and soon will no longer be able to love.”

Hans Urs von Balthasar, Seeing the Form, published in 1982.

The Flavor of God – part 2

This is part two of a two part series I gave as a meditative reflection at two recent events. Part one was posted last week.

Kirk speaking at Grace and Peace Church in St Louis

Last week I began to answer a question asked in Daniel Siedell’s book, God in the Gallery where he asked, “Can one experience Truth aesthetically without knowing Truth cognitively?” I believe a confident “Yes” and “No” can be the answer for this question. I posited that Psalm 19 was a place to start in seeing aesthetic Truth validly experienced by every human being.

Psalm 19 isn’t the only place in the Jewish Bible where a “speaking creation” is mentioned:

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The Flavor of God – part 1

This is part one of a two part series I gave as a meditative reflection at two recent events. Part 2 will be posted next week.


Take a moment and try this exercise.

Find a piece of your favorite candy or prepare a cup of your favorite drink. I love caramel and Starbucks Frappuccino’s, but you may love something else. When you have one of your favorite items prepared to consume find a place to sit and get ready to eat or drink your chosen item.

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