When I was beginning to think about this Harvest sermon I began a file on my computer and mistakenly called it Harvest 3018 not 2018 … and when I noticed it got me wondering what will Harvest 3018 look like I wonder?? We might think the whole idea of Harvest Festival has changed over the last 50 or 100 years but just allow yourself to imagine what the next 1000 years will bring with it??
I wonder what it is we will be Harvesting?? What will we be growing and in what sort of environment I wonder?? Where will we be growing things?? Under the sea .. on other moons or planets?? How we will we Harvest and transport things I wonder?? The possibilities it as to be said are endless. What is obvious is that none of us will be here to see it … but I wonder whether the human race will be here at all .. or will the next species in evolution have begun its time on this planet??
All this being said it makes me think about legacy .. what we leave behind as a gift to those who will inhabit the future. I recently read a great book called The World with Us which pondered the question of what the world would look like if the human race were wiped out …. it turns out nature would soon eradicate most signs that we as humans were ever here! You can guess perhaps what the most lasting sign of our presence would be from recent documentaries and environmental campaigns? Plastic!
But if we assume we will still be here as a human race in 100 years what we might want to reflect on as a Church is that the words and actions and message of people who lived over 2000 years ago still rings in our ears and is the reason we gather this morning as we do. Far from being eradicated the moral and social and religious message of the Israelites in the Psalms and the early Church immediately after the time of Jesus still resounds through the ages in our hymns and prayers and communities.
What an incredible truth to remember … that far from being unimportant to the Harvest of 3018 we might determine it. Perhaps we should appreciate much more than we do the longevity or our moral and ethical world in spite of the changes in our material and social world. It turns out in fact matters of honesty and integrity and justice and equality stand the test of time much more than any economic or political system.
So 3000 years ago in the Psalms that God does not rely on the strength or power of the horse of human .. both meaning political and military might at that time .. but rather on the ability of his people to be grateful and thankful and to praise God. If humanity continues to have such an attitude towards their Creator then this will ensure the Harvest of 3018 is one which lifts the spirits and brings joy and happiness.
And 2000 years ago , a millenium on from the Psalms , Jesus of Nazareth remidns us that our prayer for the future should be simple, may God’s name be praised , may God’s kingdom come .. your kingdom of justice and mercy and peace, may God’s will be done …the desire to see all people flourish through mutual respect and love, give us our daily bread, what we need for today Lord .. for this Harvest alone is the one we need … forgive us and help us to forgive others .. deliver us from all that is evil … this prayer reminds us again of what is important ..
What is important is not what the technology of 3018 will look like … not what kind of food we will Harvest or where we will grow things … but rather the way in which we share this Harvest .. will we still be people who seek the values of justice and mercy and peace .. for it is these things that prevail .. will we leave a legacy of praise and gratitude for what we have to coming generations??
This truth .. that what matters most are values and morals .. is impossible to deny. The world has changed inconceivably over the last 2000 years and yet through the passing on of hope and faith we still pray that prayer .. Our Father who art in heaven. Are we still seeking to pass that legacy on to the next generation never mind the people of 3018! Are we aware of the importance of passing on values of peace and gratitude and love .. do we want the next 1000 years to continue to reflect the importance of Harvest not because of the tools and methods and produce but because of the values of thankfulness and community and generosity. Let us pass on the tradition of these things so that in 3018 the Harvest, whatever else it looks like, will be one which celebrates the values of humankind at their very best.
Almighty and bountiful God,
You have given us this earth as an inheritance for ourselves and for the generations to come:
Accept, we pray, the fullness of our harvest,
and guard our thankful hearts and minds in Christ Jesus,
who is alive and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
One God, now and forever. Amen
We pray for those whose lives are caught up with your creation, and who work with you in tending and nurturing it; those who even now suffer as a result of the crisis in our countryside;
those afraid for their future, those struggling to survive; all whose livelihood and existence is under threat. May they know your presence and be conscious of the help that you bring.Through both may they find hope for their future.
We pray for the hungry and the homeless, the broken and bereaved. For all for whom this day
brings sadness and little joy. For the lonely and the helpless, for those whose hope has been shattered And their faith destroyed.
For the struggling and the oppressed. for those without power to negotiate or bargain; for all whose work goes unrewarded, whose produce is undervalued. For all who feel unwanted, believing their skills are no longer needed.
For all who struggle to change the system, striving for justice and fair trade, trying to overcome political blindness and public insensitivity. For all who influence our thinking, our buying and consuming; for all who formulate policy and manage the market; for fairness and compassion
in all walks of life.
For responsible stewardship in our using of your world; for sustainable consumption
as well as production; for care for creation and compassion for each other.
Lord, may your Kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven