Introductions to the readings for Thanksgiving Sunday
Our readings this morning are linked together by vividly painted and hope-filled images of God’s good Creation and the promise of restoration of right relationship between God and God’s people.
We begin with a passage with words from the mouth of the ancient prophet, Joel, as he speaks to the gathered community; a community longing for a reversal of fortune after an agricultural crisis. It’s also a community in need of a word of hope for new and abundant living.
From the book of Joel, Chapter 2, verses 21-27 “Do not fear, O Soil, for God will provide”
Do not fear, O soil; be glad and rejoice, for the Lord has done great things! Do not fear, you animals of the field, for the pastures of the wilderness are green; the tree bears its fruit, the fig tree and vine give their full yield.
O Children of Zion, be glad and rejoice in the Lord, your God; for he has given the early rain for your vindication, he has poured down for you abundant rain, the early and the later rain, as before.
The threshing floors shall be full of grain, the vats shall overflow with wine and oil.
I will repay for the years that the swarming locust has eaten, the hopper, the destroyer, and the cutter, my great army, which sent against you.
You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied, and praise the name of the Lord your God, who has dealt wondrously with you.
And my people shall never again be put to shame.
You shall know that I am in the midst of Israel, and that, I, the Lord, am your God and there is no other. And my people shall never again be put to shame.
May these words from the ancient prophet Joel be a lamp to our feet and a light to our path in our own experiences of disruption and re-orientation to God’s call for our life as a church in this time and in this place. Amen.
Our reading from the gospel according to Matthew for today also offers us an understanding of an abundantly gracious and unconditionally loving God. The reading portrays Jesus’ understanding of God as the One who invites us to live our lives out of a place of abundance, courage, and trust.
A reading from Chapter 6, verses 25-33 where Jesus reminds his listeners to not worry themselves about what they will eat or drink.
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.
Are you not of more value than they?
And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life?
Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these.
But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you-you of little faith? Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear?’
For it is the Gentiles who strive for all these things; and indeed your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
‘So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today’s trouble is enough for today.
May this reading from Matthew’s gospel offer us food for thought as we journey towards a new day here at Knox.
The word of God for the people of God. Thanks be to God.