7th October 2020

Church of Scotland Guild Weekly E-News

 

Thank God for the harvest

 

I am sure like many other people we should have been decorating our churches for our Harvest Service. Harvest is one of my favourite times in our church calendar. In my own church, which is a rural church, harvest is a big event.

 

On the first Friday in October we have a Harvest Supper, and I can tell you it is some supper. I am sure everyone who donates food for the supper definitely goes the extra mile to ensure our table is laden with food. Then, on the first Sunday in October, we have our Harvest Festival Service. There is nothing nicer than walking into the decorated church and seeing the fruits of our labour adorning the window sills, the altar table and all around the church. I don’t know if it’s the smell of the flowers and vegetables or the colours which I love best, but I always think the Harvest Service has a warm feel and glow to it.

 

Throughout the Bible, the harvest carries a spiritual significance. In the parable of the Weeds (Matthew 13 verses 24-43) we are told that when the wheat sprouted so did the weeds. The owner’s servants asked him if they wanted them to pull the weeds. No, because you might also pull the wheat up. Jesus goes on to explain the parable of the weeds; the one who sowed the good seed is the son of man. The field is the world and the good seed stands for the sons of the kingdom. The weeds are the sons of the evil one and the enemy who sows them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age and the harvesters are angels.

 

It is also used as a metaphor for spiritual growth and health; we read this in 2nd Corinthians 9 verse 10 and James 3 verse 18:

 

'Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness.'

 

The harvest has always been a beautiful and important part of life on earth, the time when the year’s work bears fruit and the people are fed. It is symbolic of bounty, health and abundance.

 

Jesus spoke of a spiritual harvest waiting to be reaped. As Jesus travelled he saw the crowds and had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.

 

Then Jesus said to his disciples: "The harvest is plentiful, but labourers are few; therefore pray to the Lord of the harvest to send out labourers into the harvest" (Matthew 9 verses 36-38). Here, Jesus referred to many souls needing brought to repentance and faith as harvest is waiting to be realised.

 

Jesus used the same metaphor of spiritual harvest in Samaria. He said to his disciples: "It is still four months until harvest; I tell you open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest." In the days following his statement, many Samaritans became believers in Christ. Jesus saw the spiritual harvest of souls waiting in that village.

 

So a Spiritual Harvest is the result of God’s work in the heart of his people.

 

Andrea Houston, National Vice Convener.

 

 

 

 

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Life and Work online speaker

 

Many of you will recognise Tom Baldwin, the Deputy Editor of Life and Work. If you are looking for online speakers over the coming months, Tom is happy to come along to your online Zoom meetings, etc.

 

You can contact him below.

 

Get in touch with Tom Baldwin <mailto:tbaldwin@lifeandwork.org?subject=Guild%20Online%20Speaker>

 

 

 

 

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Challenge Poverty Week

 

This week marks Challenge Poverty Week (5-11 October), and is an opportunity for you to raise your voice against poverty and show what is being done to tackle poverty across Scotland.

 

The main aims of the week are to:

 

* Highlight the reality of poverty and challenge the stereotypes.

* Showcase the solutions to poverty.

* Increase public support for action to solve poverty.

 

Their website has lots of resources to help you get involved - whether by arranging your own event, launching an initiative or writing to your local politician.

 

Find out more <https://churchofscotland.us20.list-manage.com/track/click?u=29d4cd56ce6871362e9339137&id=9e5fd5ffcb&e=43d4a1fa0e>

 

 

 

 

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Re-imagining church

 

Durham University’s Centre for Digital Theology is running a series of autumn seminars which will help us imagine how all of church life can adapt to these times. These may be of interest as we move forward.

 

Find out more <https://churchofscotland.us20.list-manage.com/track/click?u=29d4cd56ce6871362e9339137&id=ea0d6d2b43&e=43d4a1fa0e>

 

 

 

 

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Update from Pune

 

Our project partner, the Free to Live Trust, recently held a video call with Seema in Pune last week.

 

The main objective of Seema’s project is to rehabilitate the children of female sex workers who are at risk of entering prostitution by removing the children from the red light area of Pune in India to look after and rehabilitate them.

 

During the video call, they met the latest prostitute that has been rescued. This is a young woman of 17, a frightened girl. The youngster had been doused with diesel and set alight by her brothel keeper, not on one occasion but twice, all because she refused to do the terrible things that were being asked of her. She has recent burns on her arms and abdomen as well as older scars on her torso. As you can imagine, this was distressing to see.

 

Please pray for the young woman rescued by Seema earlier this month. Please thank God that she is now safe and pray for the healing of her wounds both physical and emotional.

 

Find out more about Seema's Project <https://churchofscotland.us20.list-manage.com/track/click?u=29d4cd56ce6871362e9339137&id=8c83b9f148&e=43d4a1fa0e>

 

 

 

 

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Monthly challenge

 

Thank you to everyone who sent us in inspirational hymns or verses. It has been great to read them all and they have been encouraging. We hope you have been encouraged as we have shared them in the weekly enews.

 

This month the challenge is: what is the one thing you have given up during lockdown that you will not start again when it is over and why?

 

We look forward to seeing what changes you have made and why.

 

Tell us what you have given up and why <mailto:kgillon@churchofscotland.org.uk?subject=What%20I%20have%20given%20up%20and%20why>

 

 

 

 

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Another opportunity for fellowship

 

St Andrew Blackadder Church, North Berwick, has recorded a Guild video meeting. It features speakers from St Andrew's First Aid as well as hymns, prayers and readings by local members. All Guilds are welcome to use it as part of their ministry. (In the "offering" section, people should send donations to their local Guild.)

 

Watch now <https://churchofscotland.us20.list-manage.com/track/click?u=29d4cd56ce6871362e9339137&id=fb23d737ad&e=43d4a1fa0e>

 

 

 

 

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Pray this week

 

Monday: giving thanks for the work of the General Assembly that took place at the weekend and for all that were involved.

Tuesday: for our Project Partner the Boys' Brigade, thinking especially of companies who are meeting again either virtually or in person.

Wednesday: for those in Malawi and Scotland who support the work of our partner Malawi Fruits. Thinking especially of those farmers who are using solar irrigation pumps to grow a second crop at this time of year.

Thursday: thinking particularly of seafarers who are at port here in Scotland, so far from family and friends. Asking that God will use the chaplains working with our partner the Sailors' Society to encourage and support them.

Friday: remembering the young women of Kanyama (which is a compound of Lusaka, the capital of Zambia) and their children as they continue to be supported to develop sustainable livelihoods to support them and their family. Pray for Mabel, Carol and Helen who support them.

Saturday: for those working for CrossReach all over Scotland in these changing and challenging times. Pray for protection for staff and service users, particularly those struggling with isolation and loneliness.

Sunday: for those ministers who have been inducted into their first charge in recent weeks. Asking that God will richly bless their ministry.

 

 

 

 

Contact us

 

Phone: 0131 225 5722 <tel:+013120225205722>

121 George Street, Edinburgh, EH2 4YN


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