Sermon notes Sermon notes These notes by wuyunqing


									Sermon notes
These notes offer some ideas that might be useful when planning a Harvest sermon, but
they may be adapted for use in many other situations as well. The Sunday School and All
Age Worship activities can be used in conjunction with these notes if planning a particu-
larly child-friendly event.

                          Lectionary and other appropriate readings
                                     Deuteronomy 8:7-18, 28:1-14
                                                Psalm 65
                                       2 Corinthians 8:7-15, 9:6-15
                                         Luke 7:11-19, 12:16-30
                                    (NIV used throughout these notes)

Almost 30% of the world suffer from malnutrition, yet In the UK
we throw away 6.7m tonnes of food a year: about a third of the
food we buy. Of the food we throw away, half is edible. These
staggering statistics demonstrate that we feel we do not have
to be thrifty, because our food supply is consistent. Our
situation is a world apart from the dry and dusty Israel in
which the author of Deuteronomy lived, where food was scarce
and crop production was uncertain. So if, for most of us, food
is secure, what do we have to celebrate at Harvest? Is the
festival still relevant? And should we, instead of celebrating, be
feeling guilty that we have too much food when so many
people in our world do not have enough?

Deuteronomy 8:10-11 warns us against forgetting God when we are satisfied. The writer realises that it
is easy to become blasé about abundance, and tells us to remember that the gift of food comes from
God and we should respond to His blessings accordingly by offering praise.

                                              If the quantity of food is less of problematic for us than it was
                                              for the Old Testament communities, we could take time to
                                              appreciate the variety of food from which we can choose.
                                              Most people do not have access to such variety. The women
                                              of the communities in Lobi, Malawi, for example, used to eat
                                              nothing but maize porridge (called Nsima in the local
                                              language). The advantage of this was that it was filling,
                                              thereby mitigating the effects of food shortages, but imagine
                                              if you ate only cheap bread and cornflakes? Like these
                                              women, and their children ,you would become under-
                                              nourished and less able to work. With support from Concern
                                              Universal team, the village has diversified their crops and
                                              now have sweet potatoes, soya and paw paw to eat as well
                                              as maize. The women have noticed a dramatic improvement
                                              in their own health and in that of their children in just three or
                                              four years.
Sermon notes (cont’d)

Maybe we could try and appreciate afresh the variety of food with which God has blessed us by making
the decision to actually taste our lunch today instead of rushing through it in order to move on to the
afternoon’s activities of walking the dog, or visiting relatives, or cleaning the house. Make a point of
seeing the marvellous range of colours and shapes of our food: black olives, purple aubergines, green
peppers; of smelling the fragrant rosemary, the bubbling casserole; of feeling the furry peaches and the
spiky pineapple; of listening to the crunch of an apple and the sizzle of a barbecue. As is written in
Deuteronomy 8:10, when you are satisfied and have appreciated the gift of food, we should offer this
appreciation to God as praise for his blessings.

Returning to the second objection to celebrating Harvest, how can we justify a celebration when millions
of people around the world will not have enough to eat today, or next week, or next year?

Feeling guilty about the food we have does not solve anything. Hiding
from God’s blessings will not make them go away, neither will it help
those who are hungry. 2 Corinthians 9:9-11 explains that God has given
us resources so that we may be generous and share his blessings. So
to whom does our food actually belong? The parable of the rich fool
(Luke 12:13-21), however, indicates that in God’s eyes there may be
more than human ownership. 2 Corinthians 8:11-13 suggests that the
food we have belongs to the whole of humanity, and that we who
receive the gifts are the stewards.

Let’s take a couple of moments to think about this amazing privilege.
We have been entrusted with sharing God’s blessings with our fellow
human beings. Surely this is something for which we can be thankful for, and maybe it could be an
alternative focus for our Harvest celebrations. We have been granted and abundance of food, so let us
praise God and work to enable all humanity to have their share in the wealth with which He blesses His

                                                 Produced by Rev David Vonberg and Ruth Vonberg.

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