At harvest time we are thankful for the gifts we have received — from the earth, from God, and from one another. We are going to link back to a past Sanctuary First theme Guard the Good and focus on a story Jesus told known as the ‘Parable of the sower’. It’s a punchy, memorable tale with lots to say about agriculture, gifts and grace.
As part of our reflections we will be remembering the people and places that produce the food we rely on.We will think about sowing, protecting the crop, and harvesting in both a literal and metaphorical sense. Many of us have become disconnected from the gifts of the land, having become reliant on complex supply chains that alienate us from the process.
There’s often a temptation in Christian communities to divide the ‘spiritual’ gifts of insight and discernment from the everyday ‘giftedness’ of reality. We might get a fuller appreciation of the spiritual gifts we have received from God if we see them as an integral part of the radical gift that is creation itself. Sometimes we put God in a box and say that the Creator is only responsible for the extraordinary or the ‘supernatural’ and that nature can keep going on its own, just ticking over — a system with no need of a caretaker: ‘God gets on with spiritual stuff and leaves the rest to us.’ But this is not the God of the prophets, or the Psalms, or the Gospels. God is intimately tied up with creation from what we consider ‘everyday' to what we call ‘extraordinary’. God is continually giving us gifts.
How do we get our heads around this generosity? How can we guard the good and take care of the gifts that have been given us? How can we nurture our gifts? But also, how do we explain the poisoned gifts — the crops that fail and the hardship and cruelty of our world?
This harvest, let’s ask one another — how do we respond to the gift that keeps on giving even in the face ignorance, rejection and carelessness? And how can we treasure it?