On Sunday September 24th our minister Rev Christine Gillespie led our Harvest celebration at Wesley Chapel. We sang ‘Come ye thankful people come’ as the opening hymn. Christine then led the prayers of praise, confession and the Lord’s Prayer before we sang, ‘We plough the fields and scatter.’ The reading from the Old Testament was from Genesis 9.8-17 Noah and the rainbow covenant before we sang, ‘Yes God is good.’
The reading about the banquet to which the poor, crippled and lame were to be invited Luke 14.7-14; all who exalt themselves will be humbled.
Christine described two old ladies who gave generously and regularly to the Air ambulance for those in need of assistance, although they were unlikely ever to use it. True Christian giving is to those who need it without any thought of personal gain. We too have responsibilities for our families and other members of the community of the church as the body of Christ. We each have gifts to use to build up the body of the church and its mission. Giving to our local church and beyond where there is need. True Christian giving involves hospitality and helping those in need who cannot give anything back to us. Jesus spoke of the banquet with a lavish spread for those who could not invite them back. We must not just invite friends who can invite us in return, but those who cannot reciprocate. We are called to give in response to what God has given us; those who can afford it can give.
Harvest reminds us of all the plenty we have; not just material gifts; we are given so much we need to give to others in return. Noah made the first covenant with every living creature as to how he would care for the earth. God has made a promise using the rainbow in the sky to remind us; that is God’s gift out of his generosity. In 1 John 1 John reminded us that we loved God as he had first loved us. We are not to take the sign for granted. We need to give thanks for all his gifts freely given to us. We need to be reminded about all he has done for us, as in the hymn. ‘Tell me the story slowly and hymns like that help us to celebrate all God has done and give thanks. Our response to that provision is to invite the needy to celebrate with us and not those who can invite us back. John the Baptist told his followers, who had two tunics to give one to someone who had no tunic. The parable of the sheep and goats praised the sheep who helped those in need but criticised the goats who did not meet those needs. Whatever we do for the least of these my brothers we do it for Jesus. Harvest time reminds us to respond in the same way to support the homeless and marginalised. Even when harvest is over, God’s love and generosity will not end. We need to recognise God’s love and generosity and rejoice in it and respond.
We sang ‘Praise and Thanksgiving’ before Christine led the prayers of intercession. Worship concluded when we sang, ‘For the fruits of your creation.’