Dear Friend,

One of the worst feelings I had about the Las Vegas killings was not feeling shocked by it because so many killings like it have happened already.

On Sunday night, a few of us reflected on Jesus’ parable of the seed growing secretly. That parable, along with some reflections by Helmut Thielicke, are all I can think of to pass on today. As enemies were already plotting his death, Jesus said: “The kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed upon the ground, and should sleep and rise night and day, and the seed should sprout and grow, he knows not how. The earth produces of itself, first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear. But when the grain is ripe, at once he puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come.” (Mark 4:26-29)

In a bombed out Church in Stuttgart in 1944, Helmut Thielicke, a German pastor-theologian who resisted the Nazis, preached that parable of Jesus. Reflecting on how Jesus combined compassionate love for the world with confident trust in his heavenly Father, Thielicke seeks to follow his Lord with the following words:

One day, perhaps, when we look back from God’s throne on the last day we shall say with amazement and surprise, “If I had ever dreamed when I stood at the graves of my loved ones and everything seemed to be ended; if I had ever dreamed when I saw the specter of atomic war creeping upon us; if I had ever dreamed that when I faced the meaningless fate of an endless imprisonment or a malignant disease; if I had ever dreamed that God was only carrying out his design and plan through all these woes, that is the midst of my cares and troubles and despair, his harvest was ripening, and that everything was pressing on toward his last kingly day—if I had known this I would have been more calm and confident; yes, then I would have been more cheerful and far more tranquil and composed.” (The Waiting Father, p. 88)

Is it wrong to spread cheer and feel composed in a world filled with woes? I hope not. I hope I can sow some love and joy and peace and, when the grain is ripe, I hope I can put in my sickle for the harvest. Peace,

Joel Kok