I grew up in Calgary, in the big city. This makes me, technically, a city kid. Even so, I am very pleased to come from farming roots. Happily, I got a chance to visit the family farm of some parishioners, where their son and his young family live. It was a great day. We had a good visit, and I really enjoyed touring the farm, learning about the operation, and getting to know them better.
The farm air triggered in me memories of the many agricultural scenes and references that can be found in the Bible. In lots of places in the Gospels, things like crops, seeds, grain, harvesting, and ploughing are mentioned. After recently standing in fields of triticale, canola, and peas, my mind drifted to a passage in the Gospels that mentions placing our hand on the plough confidently and with trust (Luke 9:62). The image of the plough sparked some reflection.
If we think of our life as a field to care for, moving forward in hopes of a good harvest, then the image of putting our hands to the plough starts to make sense. The plough, as it moves along the contours of the field preparing it for seeds and a future harvest, can represent how we live our life. A plough can either leave uneven and crooked furrows which makes it hard to seed afterwards, or the plough can bite into the earth evenly, straight, and true, leaving the field well prepared for seeding. This success does not depend on us alone, but on a partnership.
A very important detail about a plough is that it cannot be pushed. It must be pulled. Whether it is by a horse, mule, ox, buffalo, or tractor, a plough is pulled.
To take our reflection further then, we can ask this question: Who is pulling our plough? Are we people with enough faith and trust to allow God to pull our plough through life, guiding us along a path that is good and right for us? Is something or someone else in the lead?
If God is in the harness, we can trust that we are headed in the right direction. We can know our furrow will be a good one. We can trust God, knowing that we will not be rushed or pulled off our feet. We will be able to relax and really experience the shape of life as we pass through it. With the security of God pulling our plough, we can glance back to see where we’ve come from, without pining for what we left behind when we grabbed hold of the plough.
Who is at the head of your plough?
- Fr. Matthew