Harvest Thanksgiving

With the harvest table laden and I imagine our cupboards and pantries full of goodies, we are very much blessed. The Earth produces its harvest. I remember walking in an old abandoned mining town in western Queensland and being surprised how quickly and how much the living world had taken back the streets and even the concrete slabs (all that was left of the houses). Seedtime and harvest, seasons and cycles are part of the natural order of things. We know the best time for strawberries or cherries, when the flocks give birth, and when to store and pre-serve. Food security has gone from our own garden and animals to reliance on retail, transport, and food production. And we also know that there has been a rise in the proliferation and use of food banks. There have always been haves and have-nots, those well fed and those hungry and yet the world pro-duces enough for every mouth and tummy. We haven’t seemed to make it possible in this world for everyone to be fed; to not go hungry. Of course, it becomes a matter of perception –how we see ourselves, the food around us, and others.

Martin Luther, in his Large Catechism, on the 1stArticle of the Apostles’ Creed (I believe in God the Father, maker of heaven and earth) said … “Since God gives, supports, and protects everything we have, as well as everything in heaven and on earth, and does so every day, it must follow that we truly owe it to him never to stop loving, praising, and thanking him. In short, we are to use all we have entire-ly in his service, as he told us to do in the Ten Commandments. At this point, a lot could be said if we go into detail about the few people who believe this article. We all ignore it; we hear it and say it, but we don’t see or think about what the words tell us to do. If we believed it with all our heart, we would act accordingly. We wouldn’t strut around with our noses in the air and brag so much, as though our life, riches, abilities, good name, and so on, came from our-selves, and as though people had to respect us or do us a service. This is what the corrupt, misguided world does. Buried in its blindness, it misuses all the good things God gives, merely for its own pride and greed, fun and pleasure. Not for a moment does it look to God to thank him or acknowledge him as Lord and Creator. So, if we believe this article, it ought to make us humble and afraid. For every day we sin with our eyes, ears, hands, body and soul, money and property, and with all we have. This is particularly true of those who even fight against God’s word. Still, Christians have the advantage of knowing that they owe it to God to serve and obey him for all these things.” (LC I: 19-21; Hebart translation)

Of course serving the God we don’t see is done when we serve those around us whom we do see. God doesn’t need our service but our neighbour does! And perhaps this is most acute when there is hunger around.

God is a gracious giver. We see this in creation. We see this most clearly in the gift of his Son and Jesus’ death on the cross. God and life are intrinsically linked and he can be trusted. That’s easier to write –and possibly easier to read –than it is to do. But the cross of Jesus tells us that creation isn’t a random fluke –and neither are we –and that there is meaning and purpose to be lived each day, each seedtime and harvest, and each meal. GS