This readings were:
- Psalm 85
- Deuteronomy 28.1-14 – blessings for obedience
- Luke 17.11-19 – story of the healing of 10 lepers
What is the meaning of harvest for you and for me?
If you are a farmer it is hard work – and your livelihood at stake.
For most of us, I suggest Harvest gives us an opportunity, to slow down and stop, and notice…
- Cold water from the tap – fresh, thirst-quenching
- Pink warm sunset – and a big autumn moon
- Tesco shopping – will have semi-skimmed milk
Things we might take time to NOTICE today, but otherwise we could be taking for granted.
Not so for our Ukrainian friends?
This time of year gives us the a perfect opportunity to pause our rushing along, to pause and notice.
What will that be for you.
- Joy of the shiny conker in its shell
- Autumn fruit – aubergines, onions, courgettes, marrows, gluts of apples, plums
- Change of the colours to leaves of yellow and orange and brown, the berries…
Today's Bible Readings, how do they fit with harvest?
1. Let’s start with Jesus and the meeting on the road from Luke 17.11-19 – Jesus meets 10 lepers.
As you know this sickness was a terrible problem, meaning serious isolation, infectious, limbs damaged.
And meant that any healing or cure required the priest to give a public declaration, before re-joining society
Jesus meets 10
And just one returns to say thank you – in fact to shout for joy at his healing – and he throws himself at Jesus’ feet
A new life given to him
And Jesus points out that it is the Samaritan who comes back to say thank you – the outsider who is grateful –
NB . this is the third time that Jesus has pointed out the faith of a non-insider;
- earlier in Luke 4, after his first sermon, he tells everyone that there were many lepers in the day of Elijah the prophet, but only one was healed, and he was Naaman the Syrian – Jesus nearly got lynched for that;
- Then the story of the Good Samaritan, who stops to help the wounded beaten up man on the road.
- Now this time it is not a parable but a true story.
And it is the one non-Jew. who returns to say thank you, and to return to honour Jesus for what he has done.
– for his life his cure – his joy
– like a resurrection, a whole new life
– and FAITH in Jesus is new
2. Old testament reading – Deuteronomy 28
From Part of the 5 books, the Torah, the core LAW of the Hebrew Scriptures – it is about
- Living a life of obedience to God
- Which flows from gratitude for God’s mercy in his rescue
- And brings blessing
God had brought the people of Israel out of slavery in Egypt, now he was giving them a new identity, they are becoming a holy nation set aside, with a covenant relationship with their creator and rescuer
– how to live together as God’s people obedience and honouring to God himself
This involves a Covenant promise
And the relationship involves responsibility
They know now how to live… then comes blessing
To recap on Harvest Sunday
- This season of Harvest helps us to stop taking life for granted
- We are given the opportunity to pause to notice the world and the gifts of God given to us, and be thankful
- We have heard about the gratitude of the Samaritan leper healed and given a new life
- We have learned about the responsibility of the covenant relationship of God’s people to live obediently to his standards, out of gratitude for his rescue and his mercy, and then see the blessings
So how will we, therefore, put harvest into practice?
1. recognise that ALL of our life is GIFT
Air, water, food, music, flowers, each other
And be thankful
2. recognise that our fellow humans WORK is a gift
You know the mealtime grace… Adrian Plass…
3. finally, with thankfulness, gratitude and reflection, we come to our responsibility
- To share the harvest
- To care for the world and its harvest,
not only on our shores but across the planet
As we leave here, let us give thanks for the beauty and make a plan to share something…
We live in ABUNDANCE – of so many things.
I FINISH ON A NEW NOTE – for us to be GRATEFUL, to take note of God’S ABUNDANCE on our behalf, and then lets share it.
Take away today the ABUNDANCE verses for you to keep and rejoice in… as a harvest blessing from me. Bookmarks were given out in church, but are on the right hand side of this page 👉
Marion de Quidt, October 2023