November 2018

In the stories of the Hebrew Bible, God gives Moses the teachings by which Israel and her people must live. After forty years wandering in the wilderness, they are about to cross the Jordan into the land that has been promised them. The teachings are clear – the land belongs to God, they are its stewards, and the abundance it provides must be shared.

When you reap your harvest in your field and forget a sheaf in the field, you shall not go back to 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.
When you beat your olive trees, do not strip what is left; it shall be for the alien, the orphan, and the widow.
When you gather the grapes of your vineyard, do not glean what is left; it shall be for the alien, the orphan, and the widow.
Remember that you were a slave in Egypt; therefore I am commanding you to do this.

Deuteronomy 24.19-22

All around this beautiful valley are fields whose crops have been gathered in. Our own Jessica Harwood leads local groups of youth and adults for gleaning in those fields. The fruits and vegetables they gather go to food pantries and other organizations providing free or reduced price food to people in need.

Our theme this month – the month of end of harvest and thanksgiving, and the month when the elec-tions take place – is abundance. The land of Israel belonged to God; the people were its stewards, and God commanded that the abundance it provided be shared. Remember that you were a slave in Egypt. Don’t overestimate what your own efforts contributed to the abundance you celebrate and enjoy today.

Throughout the USNF community we have people who share their abundance – their skills, abilities, experience, commitment, compassion, time, and money. In recent months members of our congregation have been planting trees, working for political campaigns, supporting Irida and her family, accompanying the Jumapili family as they adjust to their new country, contributing to keeping the congregation thriving, and more. What inspires or commands all this? And what might we need, in greater abundance, from one another?

I am grateful for who you are and all you are doing, and honored to be your minister.Janets signature