I participated in four funerals this summer within a two month span. The first was a relatively young man who died far too soon for the loved ones he left behind. The other three were all faithful patriarchs in their 90s, fathers of New Life Church members. One of them was Carol’s father Harlon Jennings, who passed away August 2, 2016, in Ashland, Ohio.
That’s a lot of deaths to process in a small church. We might call it a bountiful harvest by the Grim Reaper. It has changed the dynamics in our tiny congregation. All of us were helping elderly parents. Now all of us are going through the process of grief at the same time. We are finding hope and help in Christ. But it’s different.
This year saw an abundant harvest in our area. It was a second consecutive record yield for many farmers. Corn and beans are the lifeblood of our local economy. The yields in the fields were very high, but the farm prices at the elevators are very low. We might call it a bountiful harvest by the grip reapers. A few farmers can’t even sell their extra grain.
We’re used to experiencing ups and downs in rural Minnesota, but this year we saw them both at the same time. We’re hanging on tight as we trust God for the future. Come to think of it, for most farmers hanging on tight is just business as usual.
Another bountiful harvest we’re experiencing is the launch of a Good News Club in the local charter school last month. We’ve met only three times so far, but student attendance has jumped from five to 11 to 18. For a small congregation without any school-age children, that’s a bountiful harvest, or at least a good start. We are grateful to God for the opportunity to serve the community in this way.