How many people grow their own food? (What do you grow? How much of what you eat is grown on your own land?)
By and large the way I get food is to buy it. I go to the supermarket, I pay a certain amount of money and I get what I pay for. My sustenance comes from commercial relationships. Tit for tat.
It is interesting that atheism is overwhelmingly found in urbanized, industrialized, technologized settings. We might think it’s the norm but of course atheism is shrinking globally. And the only places it clings on really are urbanized, industrialized, technologized cultures – places that are far removed from the harvest.
But as soon as you start thinking of harvest you are taken away from those kinds of thoughts. Because harvest is something near magical isn’t it? Scattering seed into soil – what on earth?! How is that going to do anything? And yet, a few months later, up it sprouts – this bountiful harvest – so much more than you ever invested just bursts out of the ground to feed us. Atheism might be for city dwellers but those who live around harvests are much less atheistic.
Christians say that Harvest tells us about the nature of God. He’s an overflowing God of generosity. He's not a mercantile force of "tit-for-tat." He's a Niagara Falls of blessing.
1 John 4:8 God is love.
He doesn’t dole out blessings with a teaspoon but has always been overflowing.
Christians say “Grace” because they recognise that everything is undeserved mercy. Life is about gratitude.
We recognise this when it comes to children – for urbanised people the maternity wing of the hospital is about our only contact with the bounty of creation. And it completely takes us off guard. But this is what reality is like according to the Bible. A near magical reality of new life bursting forth - seemingly from nowhere. And the whole thing speaks to us of God's nature. Think about it...
Kids come into the world needy and we shower them with blessings. And when they get to age 18, do we open up the books and demand repayment for two decades of food, shelter, clothing and taxi service? No. But hopefully they then stand on their own two feet and pass it on to the next generation. Grace flows downhill.
Here's how it works spiritually...
9 This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.
Jesus gives us His life and takes from us our death. This is what love does – it pays the cost to draw near. This is how God's love flows to us. And now...
Verse 11:Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.
We pass it on. Grace runs downhill. No wonder at harvest we seek to share our bounty with those less fortunate. The whole thing reflects the very character of God.
Harvest puts us in touch with a deep reality. God is a God of bounty, a God of love. He has overflowed to us in Jesus and life is about gratefully receiving Jesus and flowing out to the world, to bless those who are without.
This church is a great place to explore these truths more. Please join us...