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Sermon for 17th Sunday after Trinity Harvest Festival | Barn Church Kew

Readings:   Psalm 80:9-17          2 Corinthians 9:6-15

                  Luke  12:16-30

He said to his disciples, ’Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat, or about your body, what you will wear. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing’.

I have to admit straightaway that one of the bonuses of moving to where we now live, here in Kew, is the fact that M&S is less than 10 minutes walk away, absolutely great for both food and clothes!

Well today we celebrate Harvest Festival and it is I feel a double celebration, for we are also celebrating the return of Junior church.

How wonderful it is to have more children joining us here in St. Luke’s.  So it is a double ‘thank you’ to God, firstly for our bountiful Harvest, all that the land and sea provide us with, and a ‘thank you’ for creation itself, and for our children.

As we know from the story in Genesis, after God had created the world and all that lives in it, “The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it”, Genesis 2.15.  Well, in all honesty human kind has made a pretty bad job of it ever since, and here we need to come together to say sorry.  Sorry firstly to God, but also a very big sorry as adults to our children, grandchildren and all future generations, because it is these young people who are and will suffer from our greedy and reckless handling of the beautiful and bountiful world God created for us.

Just one simple fact to demonstrate, we in this country waste up to £9.7 billion pounds in money, not in weight, in food each year with 65% of adults admitting to buying more food than they need, while 9 million people die from starvation each year, with a child dying every 10 seconds somewhere in the world.

“And God is able to provide you with every blessing in abundance, so that by always having enough of everything, you may share abundantly in every good work…..for God loves a cheerful giver.“  Words heard in our reading from 2 Corinthians.

As Jesus told in his Gospel parable, we can be very good at storing things up for ourselves, especially at the moment with the Pandemic, without stopping to think of others and actually being realistic and reasonable about our own needs.  Do we all really need 50 loo roles in our cupboards?

Yes, we are all human and we panic buy and we do worry about how we look and what to wear, and what our next meal will be and if we will be able to afford next year’s holiday, that is if we are even allowed to go.  Yet Jesus is saying to his disciples, and to all of us, where is your faith?  “But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will he clothe you- you of little faith!”

We are, perhaps at last, beginning to understand what Sir David Attenborough and Princes Charles, with many others, have been saying for years, and echoed now by Greta Thunberg and Prince William, we cannot keep taking more and more and leave behind only our waste.  We do not live in a disposable world, although there still remain some, even in places of authority and great influence, who believe so.

God provided us with a wonderful world full of great beauty and wonder, full of abundance both on the land, in the seas and in the skies. Who cannot be touched by the beauty and fragrance of a rose garden, the wonder of a rainbow or a sun set, and the grandeur of the mighty Himalayas, or an awe inspiring elephant?

How lucky we are in Kew to have the Gardens and the 2,360 acres of Richmond Park on our doorstep, no wonder Sir David Attenborough was happy to spend a lot of his time in ‘lock-down’, just listening to the birdsong near the Park.  No one, not me not you, are going to change the world overnight, or reverse the damage done to God’s world all at once, but as David Attenborough replied when asked what one thing would he advocate for us all to do, it was ‘don’t waste anything, squander nothing!’ Therefore each and everyone of us can make a difference in how we live and manage our lives, so that we may be truly thankful and joyful at God’s great Harvest and leave to our children and grandchildren a cleaner and healthier world than the world we now have, so that we can truly say, “Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!”

”.     Amen.