Sermon – Harvest Festival 2019 10.45am

Harvest Thanksgiving 8/9/19

Text  Psalm 24  v .1  Preached by Bernard Moss at the 10.45 service

The earth is the Lord’s and all that is in it

Gold old fashioned sermons always started with a text, and on this our harvest thanksgiving  what better text to use to underpin everything that we are doing today.

The earth is the Lords and all that is in it

Traditionally of course we filled our churches with flowers fruit and veg  – not a single nook or cranny was left unfilled and   boy oh boy didn’t the church smell fantastic at harvest… it was God’s visual aid to remind us of how rich and bountiful is God’s created world.

Come ye thankful people come raise the song of harvest home

Nowadays of course our celebrations are more nuanced  – we still celebrate God’s rich and abundant creation but we are ever more acutely aware of those millions throughout God’s world where even one meal a day would be a major step forward – where even a hope of getting fresh water would raise people’s spirits

Our text is still our fundamental underpinning – but if this really is God’s world then we have an ever greater duty as stewards to use the world resources  in ways that reflects that stewardship – the compulsion for justice and sharing of God’s abundance becomes paramount.

And at this point of course all the contemporary issues that bewilder and perplex us come crowding in

Global warming; climate change; GM crops; political pressures on farmers ; environmental considerations; over-consumption of meat; decimation of rain forests; the risk to food standards in times of political change and upheaval;  pressures from big supermarket chains that drive prices down and threaten the  survival and at times the human wellbeing and mental health of small farmers and their families.

Whew….. it all seems a long way away from churches filled with grapes and pumpkins and dahlias for harvest festival

But it isn’t really – not if you take our text seriously – not if you believe that we are stewards of God’s goodness -not if you believe that under the parenthood of God we are all equally precious children of God – brothers and sisters in one human family

It isn’t really if you have a Christian view of the world and know perhaps more deeply than anyone else what human nature can be like – what havoc  human greed and evil and hatred and sheer sinful selfishness can wreak in the world we are entrusted with…

It isn’t really if you believe that the God who created is also the God who redeems and turns us round and gives us a vision of what things could be like, if only we took the text seriously.

The earth is the Lord’s…

And today we have some important examples of some of the ways we here at St Mary’s are trying to take seriously the wide implications of today’s text..

We have invited some of the projects we are supporting to share with us at our bring and share lunch the work they are doing  as part of their commitment to being stewards of Gods creation

We welcome Helen and Monica part time chaplains working with the Cheshire Agricultural chaplaincy who will be telling us about their work in this area to support farming families under pressure

We welcome Wendy from the  CHURCHES URBAN FUND PROJECT TRANSFORMING LIVES TOGETHER… and the work they do  to encourage communities to flourish and to care for the impoverished and to celebrate diversity ad to provide places of real welcome

We welcome David to remind us again of the work done  by Railway Children in our area as well as overseas – he is celebrating his golden wedding anniversary this weekend so we are double blessed

Julia is join us from CLASP and the massive caring work they do in our areas for single parents and their families and the alleviation of poverty and isolation

And Steve comes to remind us that Operation Mobilisation’s ship Logos Hope takes Christian books bibles and literature most recently to South  America where the hunger for the things of God almost outstrips their capacity to meet it  –

of course we met  Andrew and Lisa Peart our  CMS mission partners from Bolivia earlier in the year, as well as supporting  Kasupe to help feed  children in a school in Malawi and a project in Kenya.

Wow!!!!  So much to celebrate

All of this is, is if you like,  a human harvest festival – we are surrounded by so many examples of  goodness and kindness and compassion and a yearning for justice – so many gifts  and talents – the deep fruits of the spirt which  God calls us to exercise in  so many ways.

So at Harvest we are truly grateful… at harvest we are reminded time and again of abundance…

We are reminded of the love of God which keeps on giving, in and through so many  and which refuses to be downhearted, disillusioned or overcome by seemingly insurmountable challenges

This love of God is the powerhouse that will really  transform lives and help many many more pause and rejoice and proclaim :  do you know what? the earth is the Lord’s and all that is within it. Thanks be to God