Faithlife
Faithlife

The Harvest is You

Notes & Transcripts

I speak to you in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen

Consider the Lilies of the Field…

            Look at the birds of the air…

Today we celebrate Harvest Sunday

            And today in our Gospel passage from Matthew - a segment taken from the            sermon on the mount - we are called to Consider… and Look at God’s creation

And what better time in the year - then fall - harvest time - to consider and look at the beauty in the natural world - all around us

            We here, at St. Luke’s are blessed not only with a beautiful worship space                          but also with a beautiful location with plenty of trees and view out to the lake

Fall happens to be my favorite time of the year

            And on days like today, when I was growing up - on Sunday afternoons

                        After a family lunch of cold cuts and fresh bread and pickles,                                              olives and a variety of cheeses

                                    We would go for a hike out on the escarpment - on the Bruce Trail

                                                And spend most of the afternoon considering and looking                                                   … and being part of God’s creation

                                                            It is something that I hope to do today with Kelly                                                                and the kids

To smell the fresh air and the special unique odor of leaves drying and changing colour

            and to see the handiwork of God’s paintbrush

                        - with the many shades of green, brown, yellow, orange, and red

We live in a truly magnificent part of the world - place that provides richness in all four of the seasons

            But it is fall and harvest time that I like the best

                        And not just because my birthday lands in it

                                    It is because, in part, the physical beauty - but it is also because of                                       what Harvest is

Now I know that today in our grocery stores we can get products grown in greenhouses from all over the globe which keeps us from the natural cycle of the seasons

            But somehow the locally harvested vegetables in season still have their effect

                        The produce section, this time of the year, is telling a different tale the usual

o       The potatoes varieties are not limited to the browned-over tougher skin, that can travel or store well, but includes the fresh ‘new potatoes’

o       Corn spills over

o       There are squashes of many shapes and colours

o       And in general is there is a message of abundance

                           I like to think of God’s creation in this time of abundance…

And imagine Jesus picking a single stem of a wild lily and saying, “Look carefully at this wild flower of the field.”

            He challenges us by saying effectively “Are you too busy to look carefully at the   wild lilies of the field?”

Are you too caught up in your hurried and harried life so that your heart is no longer captured by the beauty and intricacies of wild flowers?

That is the first lesson of today

            life is more then just us - stop and smell the roses - consider them

But if you are like me - like most of our Bible study group

            We meet Tuesday night at 7:30 and Friday morning at 9:45 - newcomers welcome

                        Your focus of the gospel passage was not on the lilies or the birds but on                            what Jesus is telling us about “worry”

                                    The word ‘worry’ comes up 6 times

                                                This is a very popular and important passage that so clearly                                      speaks of the subject

            Knowing that anything repeated in scripture is something that we should be very   careful to observe and understand

                        And here Jesus is telling us ‘not to worry’:

                                    About food - or drink - or clothes

Food and drink, are of course necessities of ‘life’

            And clothing is representative of many things - at its most basic level - security -    protection against the elements

                        Is Jesus saying that we are not supposed to be concerned with life and                                security?

Well, like so often when we struggle with something in scripture, we need to look deeper - to do some homework - we need to look at what He is really saying

            “worry” is a valid translation but it means more then we might tend to understand             it          as - we think of worry primarily as anxiety

                        The Greek word used means be preoccupied with or be absorbed by

                                    Now when we consider that we are not to be preoccupied or                                               absorbed with something - even vital basic necessities

                        We are given a new layer beyond mere anxiety

            Jesus, in this segment from the Sermon on the Mount, is telling us more then just                           something of the layers of the word ‘worry’

                       

Jesus was not telling his audience to become carefree and irresponsible. He was, instead, exhorting them to set priorities for themselves:

            Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?

If we were to stop there - we would have some sense of what God wants us to do

            we would - by ‘reading through the lines’ understand that:

  1. life is more important then to be preoccupied with materials things
    • the food we eat
    • or what we drink
    • or where we live
    • and what we drive
  2. that we should slow down and consider and look at God’s creation
  3. The passage does not mean, that food, drink, clothing, and other such necessities will come to the disciple automatically without work or foresight. It addresses only the problem of anxiety about these things.

o       For Christians of every age, anxiety is incompatible with a lifestyle focused on God’s kingdom. Indeed, anxiety and worry need not rule the disciple who “has known the grace of God”

Stopping there gives us lots to think about and to act on…

            But that is not where Jesus ends

And as a side note - anywhere in the bible where words like:

            But - therefore - however

                        Show up - get ready for the heart of the message

o       For the fiscally minded ‘The payout’

o       For those carnivores out there - the meat of the message

                                                Is that enough build up for you?

In our final verse Jesus concludes with:

 

But strive first for the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well”

All this talk about birds and lilies and worry, all of it - leads up - to ‘what we are simply called to do’

            strive first for the kingdom of God and His righteousness

 

                        We go to the greatest of all commandments - the first - and the                                           reoccurring message through-out the Old and New Testament

                                    Love God first - with all your heart, mind, soul and strength

We are told the two parables: of the birds of the air and the lilies of the field - to bring home the message of why God created us

            How we are not to be preoccupied with things before God

                        That worry is being absorbed with something else first

                                    It is an action of a lack of trust and faith in God

And it does end there - we are to strive also for His Righteousness

            This is the part of the reading that doesn't always get proclaimed.

                        But it is the second half of the key instruction

"Righteousness" in the Bible is not ethical, moral or legal behavior;

            Rather, righteousness is fulfilling the demands of a relationship with God and        with humanity

Righteousness is obedience to God’s will and ways - being a disciple - a student of Jesus

            Living life as a witness - freely choosing to follow and live out a life respectful and           honourable to God - saying in the relationship … I will learn your ways and ‘living it    out’

                        ‘God first’ means striving for His righteousness …. ….

                                    This fall - as you look out all of God’s abundance - consider this…                                                 God sees ‘you’ as the harvest…

                                                            Amen

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