Church Link September 2015

Welcome to our September issue - Keith Thomasson, our Senior Chaplain shares a thought-provoking piece with us at this harvest time...

Harvest: Joel 2.12-13, 21-27

Joel, the prophet is radical in his message. It concerns a return to whom and to what is at the root of human flourishing, namely God and God’s creation.

First of all is the call to return to God, an action involving the heart.  The call is to work with what is there currently in a heart that is not facing God and to rend it. To acknowledge what is there, tear it away and make space for renewed relationship with God.

Second there is a call to creation: soil, animals, rain, and how God’s provision here brings abundance for all of creation, including humanity.

Renewed focus on God changes the perspective of humanity. The focus is no longer inward towards itself. A focus on God brings a perspective where God’s whole creation and the relationship between God and creation are central. Humanity is an integral participant in the web of relationships within the life of creation. Within Creation God chooses to bless and provide. We are not in charge, we have a co-dependency, along with all of creation, on God.

I am touched by the way in which the soil is addressed. There is an invitation to move from fear to rejoicing. The reason is simply an outworking of God’s blessing (Joel 2. 18).  Again it is God’s action that brings abundant blessing. We eat the (impact of the) sun and rain. In the grain, wine and oil we are satisfied (Joel 2. 19). 

The movement from despair to gladness resonates with words of the psalmist:

May those who sow in tears reap with songs of joy (Psalm 126. 5)   

Within Alabaré there is an invitation to clients and service users to re-orientate their lives, from fear to rejoicing. Resources within the context of relationship, involving staff, volunteers and expert co-workers from other agencies, are made available to enrich the soil in which a person may begin to move from fear to joy. All of this takes time and is partly a hidden, internal process of reorientation.

In this way it corresponds to the mysterious growth of the seed into a plant within the soil of the earth. The farmer has to wait. The soil, seed and rain work together (Joel2.23). We serve those who come to us and through whom we mysteriously encounter ‘The Other’, God.   For some this involves an awareness of the working of God and an acknowledgement of his abundant blessing.

Many of you reading this newsletter will have a heart for the mission of Alabaré and a desire to share in resourcing it. I thank you for your prayers and support which is exercised in many different ways. I also invite those who wish to deepen their involvement to be in touch. My desire is to deepen the links between Alabaré and the churches so that there is a mutual enrichment. Through our shared activity we become co-workers who are interdependent, within the provision of God. We work the soil together so that lives, including our own, may flourish through the loving provision of God.

A prayer for blessing
May we once again experience renewal through seeking God’s embrace.
May we see God at work within creation and recognise our place within it.
May we be called to furthering God’s kingdom through sharing the resources of creation.
May God bless us as we make available the soil of our lives, so that there may be a harvest in the living of life in all the fullness that comes from God’s abundance.


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