Pew Sermon for Sunday 10th October

Hello again everyone

For the last two Sundays, we have celebrated harvest. I missed the first one – I was presiding at Cranleigh. But on Sunday 3rd October I was at Hascombe – and the church looked magnificent, with all the fruit, vegetable, and other foodstuff on display. Well done to everyone concerned.

But of course, thanksgiving is only a small part of it – however fundamentally important. Even whilst we give thanks, we give – give to those who need it; give to those who have so little – No 5 York Road in this case.

And even more than thanksgiving, even more than giving, our harvest seasonal wording reminded us of the essential need to take responsibility for the earth.  To confess to God when we act selfishly or thoughtlessly with our resources. And to redouble our efforts to lead good, responsible, caring and giving lives, to the benefit of all, including (of course) ourselves.

Fine words – I hear you say! Saying is one thing, doing another. How exactly are we to behave responsibly with our money, or time, or possessions, our work, our careers, our friendships? These matters are complex, and everyone’s situation is different.

Take the thorny issue of money and possessions, for example. Some of us are blessed with plenty, some with enough, some with little. And regardless of how much we have, we know in our hearts that’s it’s all temporary – that one day, all this will be left to someone else. We know also that health in older years can be elusive – however much or however little you have.

Does Jesus ask everything of us?

In one sense, yes, and in one sense no!

In the case of next week’s passage (Mark 10:17-31) – for the rich young ruler – everything is required to be given up. That seems to us harsh and unrealistic, certainly at first sight.

But in many other cases, Jesus does not demand this at all from those he meets.

But to take a third example, the disciples were also asked to give up family, possessions, land, and careers – everything – to follow Jesus – as they themselves are quick to point out in the passage! So ‘what’s that all about?’ as we say these days. Was it worth it then, and is it worth it now? What exactly does Jesus require from us today?

That’s a good question. And it’s going to take me all week to find out the answers! Please do the same – and let’s compare notes next Sunday at Dunsfold!

In terms of acting responsibility – well how about this final anecdote. A tanker driver in Northamptonshire last week was tailed by 20 drivers on the A43 for some miles. The lorry driver got suspicious when no one overtook him on the dual carriageway.

Finally, he turns off down a side road, and travels a further ¾ of a mile before he enters his destination. A construction site. The lorry is delivering mortar! Mr Anderson takes up the story:

“The man at the front wound down his window and asked me which petrol station I was going to,” he said.

“When I said I wasn’t, he asked me ‘Why not?’ and when I said I wasn’t carrying petrol, he actually said ‘You could have stopped and told us you weren’t a petrol tanker.’

“I couldn’t believe it… I just went full McEnroe and said, ‘You cannot be serious!’

“Then the bloke behind asked me where the nearest petrol station was. It just beggars’ belief.”

Well, it does – if we act irresponsibly!

Trusting in a God who provides for all our needs seems a better option!

See you next week!