Have a look under your seats. Is there anything there?
Some people have a small packet of sweets, some have a bigger packet, and some have no sweets.
What could the people who have sweets do with them? [Ask for suggestions, which are certain to include “share them”.]
One of the things you could do with your sweets, if you have some, is share them. We all know that sharing is a good thing to do. But why? What’s so good about sharing? Why should we share? [Ask for suggestions.]
We don’t share just because it shows what good, nice people we are. We don’t share just because we hope other people will share with us. There are other, bigger reasons for sharing.
In today’s first reading we heard “you glorify God… by the generosity of your sharing.”
We share because it is part of what God’s kingdom is like. Sharing is part of not only the generosity but also the justice of God’s kingdom.
But maybe you’re thinking “hang on, these are my sweets, I don’t want to share them”! Perhaps it’s easier to see like this: suppose instead of lots of little bags of sweets, we have one big bag, which doesn’t belong to anyone in particular, but is all of ours? What should we do with the sweets then?
It’s obvious that we should share them between us.
That’s much closer to how it is with the gifts God gives us. Our food, our water, our planet, our very life is a gift from God which is given to everyone, for everyone, for the common good. Like with the big bag of sweets, there is no “mine” and “yours” – only “ours”. And it is up to us to act in a way that shows that.
The way God gives to us is not like everyone having a little packet of sweets, which we can choose to share, or not share. It’s like everyone having one big bag of sweets to share. And if the sharing has gone wrong, and some people have loads of sweets while others have none, then it’s up to us to sort that out.
The nature of belonging in God’s kingdom is to be equally concerned for our neighbour as ourselves – in which case it makes no sense to say “yours” or “mine” but only “ours”
So when we give at Harvest, and other times, we are not just being generous with what is ours, but doing our bit to restore justice in what is God’s. There are all sorts of reasons why some people in the world have more and some have less, but that inequality is not the way God’s kingdom should be.
God doesn’t make distinctions – rich or poor, deserving or undeserving, or anything else. All are equal heirs to the kingdom of God, and should have an equal share in God’s gifts.
This justice and equality is part of what we celebrate in Communion – all are equal sharers at Christ’s table.
At Harvest, we thank God for all the gifts of creation, and commit to playing our part in sharing those gifts more equally. Our sharing reflects both the generosity and the justice of God’s kingdom, and so brings glory to God.