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HYMN for Pentecost 14 Bringing in the Sheaves

Psalm 126:5-6

Text: Knowles Shaw (1834-1878). Tune: George Minor (1845-1904)

Sheaves in the field Vincent Van Gogh

1. Sowing in the morning, sowing seeds of kindness,

Sowing in the noontide and the dewy eve;

Waiting for the harvest, and the time of reaping,

We shall come rejoicing, bringing in the sheaves.

R/ Bringing in the sheaves, bringing in the sheaves,

We shall come rejoicing, bringing in the sheaves,

Bringing in the sheaves, bringing in the sheaves,

We shall come rejoicing, bringing in the sheaves.

2. Sowing in the sunshine, sowing in the shadows,

Fearing neither clouds nor winter's chilling breeze;

By and by the harvest, and the labor ended,

We shall come rejoicing, bringing in the sheaves.


3. Going forth with weeping, sowing for the Master,

Though the loss sustained our spirit often grieves;

When our weeping's over, He will bid us welcome,

We shall come rejoicing, bringing in the sheaves.[3]



"Those who sow in tears shall reap with shouts of joy! He who goes out weeping bearing the seed for sowing, shall come home with shouts of joy, bringing his sheaves with him. Psalm 126. This is one of those golden psalms. It is filled with such hope and joy. And truth. This summer has been a time of drought that has stressed the farmers in the Upper Midwest. Now the past few days we are being drenched in rain, which is a joyful thing after such a long time of drought. While it is a bit late, it is replenishing the soil so that fall will not be so dry and thus the spring planting more hopeful. As one who grew up among farmers, I always would marvel at the hope and joy with which they would begin planting. Then they would wait upon the Lord for sun and rain. Without that, the harvest could be bitter. Until my parent’s generation, a bad harvest meant poor living through the winter, with barely enough food since the land had not yielded enough. So they watched the skies all summer long.

Sower at Sunset Vincent Van Gogh

We learn from Scripture that tribulation is part of the Christian life. Paul says in Romans 5:3-5, "we rejoice in our sufferings because they bring endurance which produces character which produces hope which does not disappoint."

One can wonder whether those of us who have been given so much have not missed this lesson. Suffering produces character, a truth that Paul and the Greeks knew well. When everything is given a child and his or her parents help them live utterly without any effort, the child may turn into a spoiled narcissist who thinks the world revolves around him or her. It is a worry as we face an uncertain future: do our leaders have the character to endure?

Ole Hallesby in his book of daily devotions says that without suffering, Christians do not know what the Christian life is all about. We are like an old grandfather clock, he says, without the weights which drive the gears.

I am always struck when I suffer something unexpected, a family trouble, or difficulty, how quickly I turn to the Lord with an urgency I haven't had just before. It teaches me over and over again how easy it is to think all my efforts to keep myself solvent or healthy or in good humor are enough. They are most surely not. We need the Lord in our joy ever so much as we need him in our suffering. As the foolish rich man was boasting that his full barns were enough for him to enjoy life, he heard a voice, saying “Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?” (Luke 12:20)

This old favorite hymn “Bringing in the sheaves” based on the Psalm revels in the promise that even if we have sown the seed in sorrow, God can surprise us, completely contrary to the normal cycles of springtime and harvest. He will bring us back from the harvest rejoicing. That promise is what gives us hope. While the Greeks knew that suffering brought wisdom, and those who endured to the end were to be praised, Paul adds one more quality to the list: hope. Hope is not in the list of admirable qualities for the Greeks. It is for Christians. Christ rose from the dead to show us that he had defeated death for us.

Over the past year and a half of the pandemic, I have been surprised to see how our suffering seems to have brought more fear, than hope. We should be preaching hope in Jesus loudly so all can hear. It is what Christians and the church have to offer, that nothing else has. No matter what happens, the Lord is in charge of our futures and from all we have been told, it is bright indeed. So fear not! hope in the Lord!


Knowles Shaw

Knowles Shaw grew up on a hard scrabble farm in Indiana. He knew the routine and rituals of the farm in his bones. When he was twelve his father took ill and died. His last words to the young boy were “Take care of your Mother,” and “Prepare to meet your God.” Knowles also inherited his father’s fiddle which, after a very rough time as a twelve year old farming with his mother, led him into music. He always honored the first admonition from his father and worked hard to support her. He became a popular fiddler for neighborhood dances at which he was reported to have taken up the hard drinking typical of these events.

One day, a woman asked him about his soul. He quit playing the fiddle and began searching for peace with God. After some time he found it and became a successful evangelist in the style of Dwight Moody. He wrote many hymn texts and tunes. This one he wrote around 1874. He died in a train crash when his car slipped off the rails into a river. Although he wrote a tune for it, George Minor, also a musician in the circles of evangelists of the day, wrote the tune we know. Minor served in the Confederate Army and became a music teacher after the war. He founded the Hume-Minor music Company that built pianos and organs in Richmond VA. His tune became an American classic. It was used in many movies and TV series like Little House on the Prairie. Charles Ives also used it in his Symphony 2.


Little House on the Prairie setting

Mormon Tabernacle Choir

Marshall Hall and Friends/peppy jazz

Norman Luboff Choir

Daniel Baptist Church

Robert Mitchum in "Night of the Hunter"

Charles Ives Symphony 2, directed by Leonard Bernstein

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