Harvest Festival 2010

Sermon Date: 
10 Oct 2010
Bible Base: 
Psalm 104:1-15 and Matt 6:25-34

David Jeans

Today we thank God for the harvest, for his provision for our needs – for his giving us our daily bread.
I love Psalm 104 – it’s a Psalm I have looked at again in the context of the Science and Faith course. It’s a Psalm which rejoices in God’s creation – it rejoices in the good earth which our loving God has created. Creation is an act of great generosity. In creation, say some theologians, God makes room for others to exist, he makes space for others to enjoy life.
You make springs gush forth in the valleys, they flow between the hills; they give drink to every beast of the field; the wild donkeys quench their thirst....From your lofty abode you water the mountains; the earth is satisfied with the fruit of your work.
You cause the grass to grow for livestock and plants for man to cultivate, that he may bring forth food from the earth and wine to gladden the heart of man.
It’s a psalm which rejoices in the bountiful generosity of God, and that is echoed in our Gospel reading. Do not worry about food or clothing, for God will give you your daily bread – sufficient and assured for all as the prayer we used earlier said.
There’s a problem. We had a question at our Question Time about children starving. But the problem is not God’s provision – that is sufficient and assured for all. The problem is our use of that provision. Because of our lack of trust in God we grab too much for ourselves and show lack of concern for God’s justice for others. Our overuse of the world’s resources results in problems for other parts of the world.
As I have been thinking about this I have pondered Jesus’ teaching in our Gospel reading. I have particularly pondered who he means by ‘you’ when he says that if you seek God’s kingdom and his justice all these things will be added to you as well . (Please note that the word for righteousness also means justice – increasingly I have come to see that righteous living is just living – living that wants God’s bountiful blessing to be shared justly).
Who are the ‘you’? I think the you is the whole world. It is if we seek God’s kingdom and his justice that all will have enough to eat, and all will not need to worry.
Let’s look at a DVD about the Christian Aid project in Burkina Faso.
I love the way that farmer has arrived at a place of trust in God’s provision. Because the knowledge of good farming methods has been shared with him he is able to have the hope that he will feed his family even if drought comes.
I think there is a connection between our relationship with God that this service symbolises, and our desire to act for God’s justice. Out of our relationship with Christ we learn to trust our heavenly Father; and out of our relationship with Christ we begin to share the heart of God for the people of the world. That is what the prayer from the NZ Prayer Book that we used earlier means:-
God of seed and growth and harvest, creator of need, creator of satisfaction; give us we pray our daily bread, sufficient and assured for all. Give us also, we pray, the bread of life, and we shall have a care to feed the hungry, and to seek for peace and justice in the world. Help us, then, to remember and to know that you are our life today and every day; you are the food we need, now and for ever; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.    Amen
As we feed on the bread of life, as we grow in relationship with Christ, so we learn to trust God and to share his heart of justice for others – give us the bread of life, and we shall have a care to feed the hungry, and to seek for peace and justice in the world. May our work for this Christian Aid project in Burkina Faso express our trust in God and our sharing of his heart for the hungry.