The Sukkah and a Harvest Festival in Newbury and in Leuven

Last week we praised God for creation, for the beauty and wonder of this fragile blue planet which he has entrusted to us.
The perfection of God’s creation, tragically followed by mankind’s fall through disobedience, is recounted in the book of Genesis.
Have you noticed how this is echoed in the account of the flood, which comes next?
Once again there is a creation story, or rather a re-creation of the world, after sin has been washed away in the flood. And then Noah, the new ‘Adam’, fell from grace too when he became drunk and humiliated (a difficult story, but let’s set that aside for now!). The Lord God made a covenant with Noah and his descendants after the flood, and said that the rainbow in the sky would be an everlasting sign of his promise never to destroy all life on earth again. Moreover, He said this:

While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, shall not cease.” – Genesis 8:22

So ever since, year after year throughout the centuries, we have seen the sun rise and set, the planets follow their courses so that season follows season, and seed times are followed by harvests.

Here, as in Israel, these are the months when we celebrate the harvest or in-gathering — although in the land of Israel the crops would have been harvested earlier in the year, then left out in the field for several months to dry out. October 13th 2019 sees the start of the week-long Jewish ‘Sukkot’, or Feast of Tabernacles, which celebrates the gathering of the harvest and also commemorates God’s miraculous protection for the children of Israel when they left Egypt for the promised land.

Some of us will remember a lovely Newbury Fellowship day at St Cassian’s, when Andy and Alison talked about this and showed us how to build a booth (‘sukkah’) covered with foliage! The Jews live and eat in their temporary dwellings during Sukkot, in memory of their wilderness journey.
In Newbury, our brethren and sisters celebrated their Harvest Festival on Sunday 20 October, just as Sukkot ended. For us in Leuven we used more than one weekend to think about what God has given the world and how we can enjoy all the food for our physical body. As our brethren and sisters in our connected ecclesia, so we too will be thanking God for providing for us, as he has done year after year; he is always faithful to his covenant promise.

On Sunday 27th the Bible Time theme in Newbury was ‘Jesus, the Way’, which reminded us of our own wilderness journey; how we travel with him and in him, along the way he has shown us, to the destination he has promised us.

We in Leuven, were with our thoughts and some in person, by our brethren and sisters in Newbury. The coming holiday of Halloween- All saints and all souls (October 31 – November 3), lots of people think about the death, but we, running behind a bit, shall use the time to think about life and the richness the earth produces to keep us alive.

God provides for us physically and spiritually, year in, year out, and in providing his son he has given us all that we need to leave Egypt/our sin behind, and to find our way to the promised land. Thanks be to God for his inexpressible gifts!

So, throughout October and November, let’s thank God for all his marvellous gifts, for seed time and harvest, for his covenant promises which we know we can depend on, and for the New Covenant through His son Jesus Christ, our Saviour, our Way through the wilderness.

Let’s make it our own Feast of Tabernacles!

Prayer theme for the end of October: give thanks to God for the harvest and for all his bountiful provision, for keeping his covenant promises, and for providing in Jesus a way to the promised land, his Kingdom.

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Preceding

After the Summer-holiday thinking even more about God’s creation

The flood, floods and mythic flood stories 12 Corrupted earth

The flood, floods and mythic flood stories 15 A ground never cursed in such way anymore

The flood, floods and mythic flood stories 16 Sign of the Covenant with Noah

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Additional reading

  1. Sukkoth, Gog, Magog, Armageddon, a covenant and Jerusalem
  2. Thinking about the happiness by the Torah reading

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Related reading

  1. An Inside Look at Jewish Sukkot in Israel
  2. Feast of Tabernacles Going Strong in Jerusalem
  3. Encouraging Words Regarding Sukkot
  4. Sukkot: A Prophetic Look at the Feast of Tabernacles
  5. Jewish Sukkot Nearing the End

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