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Sermon preached by The Reverend Charles Royden

Harvest 2003

See also some Harvest worship resources



The following address was preached for Harvest by The Reverend Charles Royden. It is an 'all age' suitable address which can be incorporated into Powerpoint or used on OHP. The pictures are readily available on the internet and may be downloaded from a variety of sources. We apologise for any copyright inadvertently breached.

 

Simpsons cartoon logo

Who like the Simpsons?

I once might have head to speak in hushed tones about this cartoon series, that was until our new Archbishop Dr Rowan Williams spoke favourably about the spiritual lessons which can be learned from the series. He commented that there are important moral issues which we can learn, so let's have a look at Harvest and the Simpsons.

 

Simpsons Characters on couch

 

Who is you favourite character? And why? (Ask the children to select their favourite

Bart Simpson, eat my shorts

 

Here is my favourite little chap. A bit cheeky, but we can't show that in a family service.

Monty Burns

So who don't you like then?  And why?  I don't like Mr Burns, because he is very greedy. He wants everything for himself and he doesn't ever think of anybody but himself. He is selfish.

Springfield Nuclear Power Station

 

He owns Springfield Nuclear Power Station, where Homer works. Now nuclear power has its supporters, but nobody would support this one, because it produces pollution which mucks up the water.

Springfield Nuclear Power Station

 

Pollution is a terrible thing, it messes up this beautiful world which God gave us to live in.

A water tap

 

It is very important to look after our world, things like the water supply which we often take for granted. I wonder if you knew that every day, diarrhoeal diseases cause some 6,000 deaths, mostly among children under five. With simple hygiene measures such as washing hands after using the toilet or before preparing food, most of these deaths are preventable. (Source-Unesco)

Homer Simpson with lots of food

 

Who is the most greedy? In some countries obesity is a serious problem, being very overweight, like Homer. But I wonder if you knew that half of the world’s population live in poverty.  Unlike Homer, many people just do not have enough food to eat. 

Homer Simpson eating lots of food

 

Any yet the truth is that the world produces enough food to feed everyone. Let's imagine for a few minutes that the population of the world is shrunk to just 100 people... 80 would live in poor homes - or worse... 70 would be unable to read... 50 would be malnourished... Only 1 would be educated beyond school level... Only 1 would have a computer.

6 people would possess 59% of the entire world's wealth (and they would all be from the United States)… There is enough for everybody, but we don't share it around.

 

Homer looking somewhat embarrassed

 

There are consequences. Each day 34,000 children die from preventable diseases. That is equal to 24 children each minute. (UNICEF, World Health Organization).

Harvest Festival are times when we remember how lucky we are. We think of others who do not have the most basic human needs, ………. like food.

Bart Simpson

 

So what is the lesson that we learn form all this? Well one of the most important is that we have to learn to share… and think of others.

A Picture of God's earth

Psalm 24 The earth is the Lord's and all that is in it.

But there is another lesson as well. This world in which we live is not ours. It is God's. And God allows us to share it and look after it.  That is what we must do. We must pollute it and damage it like Mr Burns.  We must not be greedy and use up all of the things it produces for ourselves. Harvest is a time when we are reminded of these things and we share gifts with those less fortunate than ourselves.  Amen.

 

Some Harvest Worship Resources

Prayer of Adoration

Almighty God, our loving Heavenly Father,
in the beginning you gave life and movement
colour and harmony to the universe.
Everything moves by your power
and is one through you.
You move in the minds of all your people,
giving vision and insight, inspiration and hope.
You stir the sleeping conscience,
you rouse the dormant mind
to seek justice, express beauty and declare truth.
And most of all you come to us in Jesus Christ,
bringing love and joy and peace.
So move us now in mind and conscience,
stir and quicken us with beauty and truth.
May we appreciate and enjoy your Creation
as we praise and worship you today.

Confession

Lord Jesus Christ, through whom and for whom
the whole universe was created,
we mourn with you the death of forests,
fruitful lands that have become deserts,
wild animals left without grass,
plants, insects, birds and animals threatened with extinction,
lands ravaged by war, people left homeless.
As the earth cries out for liberation,
we confess our part in bringing it to the point of disaster.
Through ignorance, often wilfully,
we have thought that we could serve both God and ourselves.
We were unable to resist the temptation
to spend and buy more and more,
with little thought to future generations.
Saviour of the World, you call us to repentance,
so as we confess these sins,
may we be transformed by your love
and play our part in transforming your world.

 

A Harvest Hymn to the tune : English Country Garden

We eat the plants that grow from the seed,
but it's God who gives the harvest.
Cures can be made from herbs and from weeds,
but it's God who gives the harvest.
Ev'rything beneath the sun,
all the things we claim we've done,
all are part of God's creation:
we can meet people's needs
with things we grow from seed,
but it's God who gives the harvest.
 

We find the iron and turn it to steel,
but it's God who gives the harvest.
We pull the levers, we turn the wheels,
but it's God who gives the harvest.
Ev'rything we say we've made,
plastic bags to metal spades,
all are part of God's creation:
we can make lots of things
from microchips to springs,
but it's God who gives the harvest.