We read this morning from Deuteronomy, chapter 24: “When you reap your harvest in your field, and forget a sheaf in the field, you shall not go back and get it; it shall be left for the alien, the orphan, and the widow, so that the Lord your God may bless you in all your undertakings. And when you beat your olive trees, do not strip what is left; it shall be for the alien, the orphan, and the widow.”
In that ancient culture, of course, there was no social safety net anything like what exists for us today. There was no tax-funded medical system with hospitals; there was no framework of employment insurance for when you got laid off; there weren’t non-governmental organizations providing skills training; there were no pension benefits for the elderly. In that ancient culture if there was any kind of social safety net, it was simply your family. It was through your immediate and your extended family that you had a home and property and protection and food and work. And so if you didn’t have a family, you were profoundly vulnerable – you were at risk. If you didn’t have a family you were without protection and without support and almost invariably without a livelihood.
Final sermon in the Gospel and the Gazette series…
This morning we are thinking about the act of remembrance – about an intentional looking back into the past. More specifically this morning, we are thinking about an intentional looking into the past by which we are shaped as the children of God here and now. This morning we are reminded that while the past is over and done with, the past is not done with us. The past is and can become a source of renewal and transformation by which we are shaped as the children of God here and now.
So we begin this morning by looking at words that we read together in our responsive Psalm – Psalm 105. Psalm 105 is a Psalm of praise and thankfulness to God. It begins with these words: “O give thanks to the Lord, call on his name, make known his deeds among the peoples…” And then it continues in verse 5 with these important words: “…remember the wonderful works he has done, his miracles and the judgments he uttered.”
Psalm 105 is a Psalm in which the people of God remember, in which they bring to mind, in which they rehearse, what God has done for them in the past. Psalm 105 is rather a long Psalm – we only read a small part of it. It speaks of God’s history with his people. Continue reading