Harvest Festival

Listen to this sermon here

Gate Pa – 28th June 2015, 13th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Psalm:                                     Psalm 130                  
First Reading:                         2 Samuel 1:1,17-27                
Second Reading:         2 Corinthians 8:7-15              
Gospel:                                     Mark 5:21-43                         

What I want to say:
Te explore what harvest festival is about, and to link that with Jesus offering of hope and life to both people in today’s reading.

What I want to happen:
People to reflect on what it is the are giving thanks for, and to be inspired to generously offer more of themselves

The Sermon

     1.     Introduction:

why have harvest festival?
            interesting thing to do in middle winter
            not much harvest around
            many thoughts being in garden seems little hard in this cold weather
many don’t garden
buy food supermarkets and shops
so why have one?

     2.     Some reasons

Tradition – a lot people grew up with harvest festivals
            important event life their communities
            continue to be important

opportunity to give thanks both joy gardening
            harvest that our labours have reaped
            simple joy in growing things in own land
            being able eat what we have grown
            today we give thanks for that
in doing so also acknowledge that all this is God’s gift to us
            all that is, belongs to God
            who shares with us.
all we have, is a gift – not ours by right
            not just fruit of our labour
            but gift of generous and compassionate God
so on this harvest festival we give thanks to God who is the giver of all this harvest
in light that – we can also give thanks that we live land where most people have more than enough to survive, more than survive, to live reasonably well
easy access to food, medical care – all things too often take granted
            so today we give thanks for all that
same time invited to be mindful of all those for whom access to food is precarious
            for whom life is precarious
            bring to mind and pray for all those for whom this is not the reality
invited to be as generous and as compassionate as God we encounter in our own experience of harvest
            part of today is offer this to Food bank
            provide us opportunity gather significant offering food for foodbank
            to be a sing fo this generoisty
Lastly – our harvest festival comes during Matariki – Maori new year
            number of traditional aspects Matariki that were important for Maori
one of these was that appearance of that vast cluster of stars in dawn sky
            sign that time prepare land for kumara planting
                        so that there might be a harvest
            good harvest doesn’t just happen
relies on good soil and well tended land
this land we live in, and this planet we live on, earth – are central to idea of harvest
Matariki and Harvest Festival give us opportunity to remember
            this land, this planet are God’s greatest gifts to us
            absolutely central to our ongoing ability to live here
            the need for us to care for land
                        not just Matariki
                        all year around
So Harvest festival offers a lot more than just our tradition of having a harvest festival

     3.     Two stories

in all this we are meet God compassionate and generous beyond measure
and we give thanks for this compassionate and generous God for our harvest
            that we have grown
and that we buy
same God meet stories about Jesus
today heard 2 stories shuffled into one
continue answer questions last few weeks
            who is this man?
            with what might we compare the kingdom of God?
normally both people at centre todays stories had very little to do with Jesus
both people means and of honour
            whereas Jesus comes lowly family and small hicktown
                        little or no honour
also seen by many as rabbi
            gives certain amount honour
è someone works very different way than all other itinerant healers and exorcists that wandered that country side
            he does not charge
all he does is free gift
no strings attached
therefore available for everyone
                        not just those who can pay
                        (like the woman)
challenge to economic system based on paying for such healers
            he keeps that up – he will put them out of business
so we have these two
è woman of means who spent all on those offered healing at price
                        is still not better
                        now without hope
                        because of illness ritually unclean
                                    separated her community and God
                        seen by all including herself as judged by God
è man who overwhelmed with grief
                        he watches his daughter die
                        maybe he too has spent money on these healers
                                    charged money
                                    preserved the status quo of ill health
                        only help offered are gathering mourners
                                    there ensure she is farewelled well
both desperate
in their desperation they come to this unusual rabbi
both risk much in doing so
            woman – punishment for being out in public unchaperoned
                                    defiling all those comes contact with
                                    daring to touch garment man to whom she has no family connection
            man risks loss honour and standing from family and community for coming to this man
both are met in their desperation by Jesus’ mercy, generosity, compassion.
            Unlike everyone else they have come to... he cares
            he doesn’t do this because he is being paid
he does it because that is who he is
In that moment of compassion and healing
            they meet God’s mercy, generosity, compassion.
all of which is offered for free
            no strings attached
we are reminded again of our questions
who is this man?
with what might we compare the kingdom of God?
we might even add a question
what then is our place in this kingdom?

     4.     Conclusion

Today we celebrate our harvest
            because harvest festivals are important traditions
offer opportunity to give thanks harvest
reminded God’s generosity in harvest
and reminded God’s provision of this land, this planet
hear again our responsibility to care planet, and this land
more than that
reminded to care for all who live in this land with the same
            compassion and generosity we experience in the harvest
            we meet in Jesus
            in stories like todays
the one who heals the desperate and those they love.

Bring forward the harvest.
offering of thanks Gods goodness
            and as yes to being part of God’s ongoing generous offering of mercy, compassion, healing and life.


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