Rooted in Christ - Week 3 - Harvest Thanksgiving
Reading: Deuteronomy 6 v. 1-15 and Luke 12 v. 13-21
Study: Jane Hiley
Sermon Date: September 23rd
Notes for the group leader: These are just some ideas and thoughts which we hope you will be helpful. Please don’t feel you have to do everything or ask every question, it depends how the group reacts and what aspects they want to discuss.The aim of the session is for us all to be reminded of how we can express our thanks to God, for the earth and all that it provides, and also to be generous to other people. God asks us to care for the widows, orphans and strangers at our doors and Christian Aid is one way of caring for others, perhaps you can find even more ways.
Look at the poster (below). Do any of these Poverty statistics shock you? If so, is there anything we can do about it?
During Old Testament times the people of God were taught to express their appreciation to God through formal rituals. They were mostly subsistence farmers and the fruit of the land was their key to survival. They were very conscious of the effects of weather and the need for hard labour in order to grow the food which everyone has to eat to survive.
Their land was divided into tribal areas and each tribe was expected to provide for their own people and in addition to provide an extra portion for the Levites. This was because the Levites were the tribe of priests and worked in the temple and doing the work of God and so did not have the same amount of time to tend crops. The Levites in their turn were expected to supervise the care of the widows, orphans and strangers and to ensure fairness for all.
Please read together Deuteronomy 26: 1- 15
Notice the reference to the time of Joseph which we were studying during the summer.
The people were always to be reminded that they owed everything to God. How do we get reminded?
Q.1 How does this passage make you feel about the instructions to give food to others?
Q.2 What does it mean by the first fruits?
Q.3 What does the year of the Tithe mean?
Q. 4 Can you remember anything that struck you from last Sunday's sermon?
In verse 11 it says:
‘‘Then you and the Levites and the foreigners residing amongst you shall rejoice in all the good things the Lord your God has given you and your household’’
Q.5 What good things has God given to us and our household?
Q.6 How do you express your appreciation to God?
Q.7 Is tithing relevant in today’s world?
Q.8 How do you choose to follow the command to support others?
Q.9 Are we proud of our use of global resources?
Please read together Luke 12: 13 – 21
Q. 10 In what way do we store up treasures on earth?
Q.11 Is there another way of honouring God with our treasures?
As a church we have chosen to support and encourage the work of Christian Aid. You can look at their website on www.christianaid.org.uk they have lots of resources on Harvest.
Their key focus is on empowering women to set up ‘self-help groups’ and to encourage us to support this work. Look at the story of Aster and see what she is doing.
Q.12 How could you as a group encourage a woman from another culture?
Q.13 Solar power is available all over the world. Do we waste the energy we have?
Q.14 Would there be some way of saving costs in our own households and then giving the proceeds away to others?
Father, we want to thank you for all your many gifts to us. Especially for the food we eat and the earth where we live. We give special thanks for women past and present, far and near, who turn the soil, sow the seeds and reap a harvest of community.
May there example inspire us for change. Amen
Jane Hiley, 10/09/2018