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The Harvest of our Labours (Part 2)

OK, so I didn't get as far as posting this yesterday - too busy going for a long walk and then falling asleep reading a book!!

Our reflections at church were based on Deuteronomy 16: 10 - 20 and Nehemiah 3, the former being the instructions for the three obligatory festivals of the early Israelites (Passover, Pentecost and Succoth) and the second the rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem.

It was a slightly clumsy sermon - I had the ideas but they never quite coalesced into a coherent whole - but hopefully people got what I was trying to share.

Key to the festivals were themes of worship, community, inclusion and justice.  In my mind's eye this is a round table where people of all races, classes, backgrounds, sexualities etc. meet as equals, share conversation, are given a voice and give a voice to others.  over food the conversation flows, ideas are shared and developed and community is built.  Everyone of equal worth, everyone contributing, everyone sharing and serving each other.

The Nehemiah story paints a fabulous picture - everyone (except a few who refused) working side by side - priests, levites, scholars, civic leaders, goldsmiths, perfumiers, men and women.  Some made gates, some patched up small stretches of wall, some did longer parts.  Side by side, united in a common goal, rebuilding the city of peace, the city of God.

Somewhere in all of this is what we are about as followers of Jesus - imagining a different world order, taking risks in relationships, valuing each other, learning with and from each other and building a living temple, gathering in all who will come around a table to share in a foretaste of the heavenly banquet.

Not quite what I had in mind when I came up with the title, but perhpas it's the long term image that inspires us to use our gifts and skills more intentionally in the service of God.


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