The Church by the Bridge - 100 Years of Good News
29th September 2023
Harvest and Harvest Thanksgiving always occupy a very special place in my heart. The colours, smells and light of Harvest are unique, and it is also here where, in the literal sense of the word, the fruit of a season’s labours come to fruition, to be harvested and enjoyed.
This can be in the metaphorical as well as the literal sense. Enjoying harvest together in the form of a Thanksgiving meal then becomes in this context truly special – after all we are a community people.
One of the highlights of my week just gone was the Village Harvest Thanksgiving meal that we celebrated as the gathered church in Kimble last Saturday. Coming together from different generations, backgrounds, with different histories and different church traditions, yet with one voice giving thanks to the Lord for all that he has poured out in the form of field produce and other blessings was a very special time.
Thank you All for contributing with presence, sustenance, elbow grease and prayer!
In this context I found myself thinking of the biblical book of Joshua that I have just read again. Essentially the first 22 chapters deal with the intricate details on how the promised land was to be divided between all the Israelite tribes and clans – no mean feat! Yet, before setting out on this task, and before all the tribes and clans separated out into the four directions of the promised land, Joshua gathered them all to remind them to whom the thanks was due, and on whose strength they should rely at all times: 'All the Israelites, with their elders, officials and judges, were standing on both sides of the ark of the covenant of the Lord, facing the Levitical priests who carried it. Both the foreigners living among them and the native-born were there' (Joshua 8:33). For the Israelites this was surely a glorious season of thanksgiving!
Eventually, once the long task of distribution was complete - 13 biblical chapters worth (!) – the reader of this book of scripture is reminded that: ‘Not one of all the Lord’s good promises to Israel failed; every one was fulfilled’ (Joshua 21:45).
We also have so much to give thanks for. Of course, there are also many challenges and much incomprehensible hurt and pain that we witness around us. Yet to this day NOT ONE of God’s promises has failed, including the great light, Jesus Christ, who came into the world, and through whom we all have the privilege to become a child of God (John 1:12).
Our response can again only be to give thanks at being invited – by pure grace - into His Kingdom.
David verbalises this beautifully in Psalm 145:13b-16:
'The Lord is trustworthy in all he promises, and faithful in all he does.
The Lord upholds all who fall and lifts up all who are bowed down.
The eyes of all look to you, and you give them their food at the proper time.You open your hand and satisfy the desires of every living thing.'
All thanks and praise to him!