|Published on Thu, 11 Oct 2018 00:00|
Welcome to this months newsletter. You can download the October edition by clicking here.
In this months edition you can find:
- The vicar's monthly column.
- This months Diary.
- Prayer suggestions
- Notices for this month
- New from the PCC- including details on the Parish Giving Scheme
Here is Steve's 'Vicar Column' for this month.
It certainly feels like the season has turned. Shorts and t-shirts have been replaced by jumpers and coats. One of the defining markers of Autumn in the life of the church is our Harvest celebration. Traditionally a time when the people thanked God for the harvest from the fields and celebrated with music and feasting. Harvest then and now is also an opportunity to allow gratitude and generosity to sit side by side as we bring gifts to be shared with others who are in need of them.
In Luke’s Gospel Jesus tells a Harvest like story, but it has a twist. You can find the story in Luke 12.13-21 and it’s know as The Parable of the Rich Fool. It’s a story about a harvest and barns and abundance. He tells the story in response to a dispute between two brothers about their inheritance. He launches into this story after saying:
“Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.”
And then Jesus tells a story about a successful business man who had done very well for himself and was now retiring at the top of his game.
- He was good at his job- he had an abundant harvest
- His business was thriving- he had more than enough.
- He secured a retirement plan- bigger storage barns.
- He was set for life- he could eat, drink & be merry.
Jesus’ warning here is about the lure of greed over generosity, “Life does not consist in the abundance of your possessions.” Today we’d probably say, “Money doesn’t buy you happiness.”
We all love a rags to riches story don’t we? Our culture would celebrate this man…and yet Jesus calls him a fool, literally ‘a stupid man’.
To leave it there would be to leave our hearts heavy and to leave it there would also be to misunderstand the story. It’s also not where Jesus leaves the story.
“This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich towards God.”
I love that, “[Be] rich towards God.” This, for me, is the heart behind Harvest. The antidote to storing up possessions is generosity towards God in thankfulness and generosity towards others in sharing. The rich guy in the story didn’t need to build bigger barns, he could have been thankful for all that he had and shared more freely.
Harvest is a practice of gratitude that reminds us that the abundant life is found in being rich (generous) towards God and others, but it’s a reminder of something deeper as well. In the encounter from Luke 12, Jesus refuses to judge the two brothers dispute, which is odd because that was one thing a Rabbi in Jesus’ day was meant to do. Jesus is showing them that he is a different kind of Rabbi, one that won’t judge the world, but will rather take the judgment upon himself. Jesus didn’t store up riches, he removed them, as he stepped down from the glory of heaven to make God and God’s way known to us through his own life and death. He was forsaken by the Father so we could know the Father. He died so we could live in rich relationship with God… and that’s worth celebrating. So this Harvest time and Autumn term let’s let thankfulness shape our life in generous living.
Rev. Steve Clarke