Do you know the hymn "Bringing in the Sheaves" - based on the last couple of verses of Psalm 126? (The chorus goes: Bringing in the sheaves, bringing in the sheaves, we will come rejoicing, bringing in the sheaves. The verses are all about planting - in the sunshine and in the dew - and the harvest.) But for some reason, this hymn is forever associated in my mind with people who have had too much to drink.
This might come from a movie or TV show. Some of us were talking about Andy Griffith yesterday and the guy Otis who was often in the Mayberry jail due to having had a few nips too many from the flask (in fact, the keys were on the wall so Otis could just let himself in when he needed to) might have sung the song then. Maybe the folks at the Mayberry church sang it, because sometimes I associate the song with Aunt Bee, too.
But at any rate, it is a harvest song, and this is the harvest time, these days around Thanksgiving when we are grateful and thankful for the beauty and bounty of the earth, so the song got in my head today. We will come rejoicing, bringing in the sheaves.
Today is also the day known as Black Friday - the biggest shopping day in the universe, the day that all the retailers hope that their red ink will turn to black as a result of a buying frenzy (I hope you were not out at 4 a.m. buying televisions and whatnot) and they will end the year on the plus side of the ledger instead of the minus.
And so I wonder, too, are the people coming home rejoicing, bringing in the stuff? Are the retailers rejoicing, bringing in the cash? Since we are not so much an agriculturally based society any more, does the notion of harvest now accrue to consumers scoring great deals on electronics and retailers racking up the receipts from the day-after-Thanksgiving shopping orgy? Is this our harvest, scoring bargains and bags full of merchandise? Are we drunk on an overdose of commerce?
It is hard to keep one's head and heart in the right place when we are bombarded with messages about consumption. What are squash and corn compared to 52" televisions and cute boots? I love a bargain, too. I want the economy to pick up, too. But I know that the harvest is not about those things but about God's abundance and how in the end we will have all we need, fed by God's own hand. I need to remember the difference.