WELCOME TO THE PARISH OF SKETTY
Harvest – a time to say thank you! How many I wonder are feeling thankful during 2020.
Story of elderly pensioner
One vicar always said thank-
he went to church that Sunday and challenged the vicar to find something amongst all of this for which to thank God. The service proceeded to the prayers and the vicar looking at the pensioner began,
'Thank you, Lord that it isn't always like this!”
Faith should tell us that it is not always going to be like it is today. We will get through it all.
Great inspirational stories come from times when there after disasters of any kind.
In a Presbyterian church in Los Angeles in 1636, amidst the darkness of the Thirty Years’ War, a German Pastor, Martin Rinkart, is said to have in one year buried 5,000 of his parishioners. That was an average of 15 a day.
His parish was ravaged by war, death and economic disaster.
In the heart of that darkness, with cries of fear outside his window, he sat down and wrote this table Grace for his children. It is one most of us know only too well:
Now thank we all our God
With hearts and hands and voices;
Who wondrous things hath done,
In Whom His world rejoices.
Who from our mother’s arms,
Hath led us on our way
With countless gifts of love
And still is ours today.
The comment about him was: Here is a man who knew thanksgiving comes from love of God, not from outward circumstances
Let’s think of examples from all over the world of good things that have come out of Covid:
In Eastbourne, hundreds of people have signed up for a telephone befriending service to keep their community together
Councillor Helen Burton said: "People want to do something to help others, which is fantastic.
Each club nominates one of its players to go up against another star from a different side -
It is hoped £50,000 will be raised for research into COVID-
Another big firm has instructed the perfumes and cosmetics side of the business to get ready to switch to hand sanitiser. What's more, it is free.
All these are a great example of sharing with those less fortunate than us and to do with less for ourselves.
We also have to remember the thousands of volunteers who collect and distribute the gifts while risking their own health at the same time.
Amongst them are our Hospital Chaplains, one we all know very well.
It is phenomenal. It is also an example of the selfless love of Christ in the world today where these people risk their own health and well-
The goodness and love of millions of humans have come shining through.
8 – Then there is a lovely story is about a recovered coronavirus patient who saved 2 lives after donating her blood plasma. She says she is still ‘coming to terms’ with that ability.
Preda Fair Trade Dried Mango fruit with loads of vitamin C and no chemicals are selling fast in the United Kingdom and Ireland. People are changing to a healthy diet to strengthen their immune system to fight and prevent flu and, hopefully, the coronavirus.
A final example of a good effect of the virus is great good of the dedication of caregivers and medical workers.
She treats any sores, takes blood pressure and temperature, and sees that everyone is comfortable, fed and is taking medicines on time. Elizabeth and others are being monitored for the coronavirus after one member of the community tested positive. Thousands of caregivers like Margi are slowing the spread of the contagion. She was a migrant from the Philippines to Britain.
There are many good people like Margi on the frontline. Many are former migrants or refugees, who fled poverty, oppression, fear and suffering for a new, better life. Now the rich, developed nations benefit from their skills and service. That is a positive result of a sad history of human rights violations and injustice.
Whatever else we have to offer to God this Harvest, there is in our churches the Harvest of the people and what we have to offer.
We can compare our-
Am I full of goodness and attract others to find out more about me and my faith?
Or am I a bit battered and bruised and bitter and the sort of person who puts others off the faith of the church.
What harvest am I offering this year?
I used to have a fridge magnet which said, “My Family Tree is full of nuts!”
Well what kind of fruit people you and I?
We are all called to be disciples and to make other disciples but have we the best to offer to God.
Let’s take a light-
First, are there any apple Christians. These attract others to come and find out from them what the faith is like. Will the tasters enjoy what they find and be nourished by the goodness they discover there, or will they be disappointed because the apple Christians turn out to be bitter and in need of something to sweeten them up?
Within the apple Christians are the seeds of faith to pass on. Will the tasters come back for more, or will the seeds be wasted?
Then what about the peach Christians. Again, they attract people to them to find out more. Will they offer a softly, loving caring faith to nourish the tasters? Will the centre of their faith be strong or is the outward signs only show because within them is a heart of stone!
Maybe we have some orange Christians. These Christians are made up of many parts. They often are very busy involved with a variety of things and available to many. They offer something for everyone. Do they give the same quality of witness to each person?
What about banana Christians? They offer a lot of nourishment to others especially when there is a crisis and energy in witness is needed. Some outside the church don’t like the way they present their faith and would like to, ‘straighten them out’! However, that would be judging by outward appearances and God doesn’t do that! He knows what is in their hearts and accepts them just as they are!
Finally, do we have any grape Christians. These when used properly can offer the sweet wine of the Christian faith reminding others of the wine of the Sacrament which represents Christ’s blood shed for us. They are at the heart of the church.
What kinds of fruits are we!I’ll end today with a poem I found in a book of stories and poems by J.John and Mark Stibbe
Although things are not perfect
Because of trial or pain,
Continue in thanksgiving
Do not begin to blame
Even when the times are hard
Fierce winds are bound to blow
God is forever able
Hold on to what you know
Imagine life without His love,
Joy would cease to be
Keep thanking Him for all the things
Love imparts to thee
Move out of “Camp Complaining”
No weapon that is known
On earth can yield the power
Praise can do alone
Quit looking at the future
Redeem the time at hand
Start every day with worship
To “thank” is a command
Until we see Him coming
Victorious in the sky
We’ll run the race with gratitude exalting God most high
Yes there’ll be good times and yes, some will be bad,
Zion waits in glory …where none are ever sad!
This Harvest season let us sincerely Thank God with heart and hands and voices, for His mercies still endure, ever faithful, ever sure.
I thought this morning I would share some of those stories to show that God is in charge and that ‘goodness and blessings can come for bad things in our lives if we offer them and our selves in service to our Lord.