Loss and Restoration
Let’s be real!
As we celebrate the Harvest and its fruitfulness, we are perhaps aware of those who aren’t reaping much….those suffering in Indonesia after the earthquakes, landslides and tsunami, the homeless on our own streets… and that’s before you come to your own life….some of you may be feeling much loss, much may have been taken away from you, or you may be angry or lonely at some level….
The prophet Joel wrote centuries ago about the swarming locusts  (and I’ve been to Africa where that image is more than metaphorical!). Such losses may be the reality for many, perhaps for you. But the Good News of the Bible, found in our Lord Jesus Christ, is that there is One who is The Great Restorer – a Heavenly Father who, as Jesus said, “knows all our needs before we even ask.”  Nothing is lost on Him, not even what is real for you. You may want to read the whole of Joel’s prophecy (it’s only 3 chapters) – it speaks of great loss, of what it is to turn to the Lord again with all our hearts, then of Restoration indeed (including the pouring out of His Holy Spirit), ending with how judgement is God Almighty’s and His alone (i.e. not ours!). But the centre of today’s Harvest thoughts and prayers is the God who brings fruitfulness, restoration, new joy, food in abundance (another metaphor!). Will we together not only give thanks for the Harvest, and offer material gifts for those who need help at this time, but also reach out and turn with our hearts to the Lord of all who has, contrary to popular belief, time and time again shown himself the Great Restorer.
 Joel 2.25  Matthew 6.32