St. Mary's Church

Harvest

Harvest

1 Oct 2020 • General news

Deuteronomy 8. 7-18

7The LORD your God is bringing you into a good land, a land with flowing streams, with springs and underground waters welling up in valleys and hills, 8a land of wheat and barley, of vines and fig trees and pomegranates, a land of olive trees and honey, 9a land where you may eat bread without scarcity, where you will lack nothing, a land whose stones are iron and from whose hills you may mine copper. 10You shall eat your fill and bless the LORD your God for the good land that he has given you.

11Take care that you do not forget the LORD your God, by failing to keep his commandments, his ordinances, and his statutes, which I am commanding you today. 12When you have eaten your fill and have built fine houses and live in them, 13and when your herds and flocks have multiplied, and your silver and gold is multiplied, and all that you have is multiplied, 14then do not exalt yourself, forgetting the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery, 15who led you through the great and terrible wilderness, an arid waste-land with poisonous snakes and scorpions. He made water flow for you from flint rock, 16and fed you in the wilderness with manna that your ancestors did not know, to humble you and to test you, and in the end to do you good. 17Do not say to yourself, ‘My power and the might of my own hand have gained me this wealth.’ 18But remember the LORD your God, for it is he who gives you power to get wealth, so that he may confirm his covenant that he swore to your ancestors, as he is doing today.

2 Corinthians 9. 6-15

6The one who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and the one who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. 7Each of you must give as you have made up your mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 8And God is able to provide you with every blessing in abundance, so that by always having enough of everything, you may share abundantly in every good work. 9As it is written,
‘He scatters abroad, he gives to the poor;
his righteousness endures for ever.’10He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness. 11You will be enriched in every way for your great generosity, which will produce thanksgiving to God through us; 12for the rendering of this ministry not only supplies the needs of the saints but also overflows with many thanksgivings to God. 13Through the testing of this ministry you glorify God by your obedience to the confession of the gospel of Christ and by the generosity of your sharing with them and with all others, 14while they long for you and pray for you because of the surpassing grace of God that he has given you. 15Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!

Luke 12. 16-30

16Jesus told the people a parable: ‘The land of a rich man produced abundantly. 17And he thought to himself, “What should I do, for I have no place to store my crops?” 18Then he said, “I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. 19And I will say to my soul, Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.” 20But God said to him, “You fool! This very night your life is being demanded of you. And the things you have prepared, whose will they be?” 21So it is with those who store up treasures for themselves but are not rich towards God.’

22He said to his disciples, ‘Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat, or about your body, what you will wear. 23For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. 24Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds! 25And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life? 26If then you are not able to do so small a thing as that, why do you worry about the rest? 27Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these. 28But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will he clothe you—you of little faith! 29And do not keep striving for what you are to eat and what you are to drink, and do not keep worrying. 30For it is the nations of the world that strive after all these things, and your Father knows that you need them.’

Reflection on Luke 12:16-21 by Rev Dmitry Lutsenko

The main issue of the parable is not wealth. Rather, it is one’s attitude to obtaining wealth. The man in the parable happens to have a fruitful harvest, and must decide what to do with overflow. He did not acquire his harvest immorally, he simply has a good year. His error comes in how he views what has become his. He decided not to share his abundance, but keep it for his own private use. His goal is to ease back and withdraw from life. He will ‘eat, drink and be merry.’ He feels no concern or responsibility for anyone else. The essence of greed is keeping what resources God brings your way for yourself.

Jesus notes that God will require the man’s life that very night. The man who thought he was set for the future, will not get the fortune! His approach to his stumbling on wealth is to become self-centred and therefore self-destructive. He uses his resources in a way that displeases God.

Jesus concludes that is how it will be for any who pile up treasures for themselves but are not rich toward God. Richness towards God means responding to life and blessing in a way that He desires, in a way that honours Him – through service and compassion. The conclusion condemns greed as the attitude that piles up stuff simply for one’s own use.

This parable calls us to self-examination. The implications of this text extend beyond simply what we do with what we have. A test of our heart is how we give. Are we generous or are we hoarders? This is a test that we have to engage privately before the Lord. No one can tell someone else exactly how to answer such questions, for there is no magic percentage that is to be reached. The issue of our potential generosity can and should be raised as a matter for spiritual reflection. That is the function this parable performs. 

Harvest Thanksgiving (Prayers)

Let us pray to God, the Lord of the harvest,

that he will bring to fruition all that he desires for his creation.

Lord of creation,

we see that the fields are ripe for harvesting:

we pray for your Church,

that it may be ready to gather fruit for eternal life.

Lord of the harvest,

in your mercy hear us.

You have created the universe by your eternal Word,

and have blessed humankind in giving us dominion over the earth:

we pray for the world,

that we may honour and share its resources,

and live in reverence for the creation

and in harmony with one another.

Lord of the harvest,

in your mercy hear us.

Your Son has promised that the Spirit will lead us into all truth:

we pray for the community in which you have set us,

for one another and for ourselves,

that we may bring forth the fruit of the Spirit

in love and joy and peace.

Lord of the harvest,

in your mercy hear us.

You have given your people a rich land,

yet by sin we have made a world of suffering and sorrow:

we pray for those who bear the weight of affliction,

that they may come to share the life of wholeness and plenty.

Lord of the harvest,

in your mercy hear us.

Your Son Jesus Christ is the first-fruits of the resurrection

and will reap the harvest of the dead at the end of time:

we pray that he will gather us all together

with those who have gone before

in the banquet of the age to come.

Lord of the harvest,

in your mercy hear us.

Source of all life

and giver of all that is good,

hear our prayers and grant us all that is in accordance with your will;

through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Amen