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Harvest Festival Family Service - 2010

Part One

How many of you know the story of Goldilocks and the three bears? Well near the beginning of the tale Goldilocks, rather naughtily it always seemed to me breaks into the bears’ home while they are out on an early morning  parish walk. On the breakfast table she finds three bowls of porridge (by the way its just like that in my house - breakfast perfectly laid up every morning) Now these three bears were not the same size: one was rather large, one was rather small and one was in between - we used to say Daddy, Mummy and baby bear but these days you can never be sure:  Anyway there was porridge, in bowls corresponding to the size of the bear:

Goldilocks was feeling peckish so she naturally tucked in - as everyone would she started on the biggest bowl and discovered that it was far too hot, moving quickly to the smallest bowl she discovered that that was far too cold, and then at last she thought to try the middle bowl and found that it was JUST RIGHT.

Part Two

For a very long time astronomers have been pointing telescopes into outer space - there are optical ones, radio ones, digital ones, in orbit ones and they are all looking for a planet that might support life. Thousands upon thousands have been looked at Not so long ago the scientists thought they had found one that was about the right size, on closer examination it was not one but two so the scientists began to be excited. Size is important you see because that determines how much gravity there is - too small and everything escapes and there is no atmosphere, too big and nothing can move at all!  It has to be JUST RIGHT.

Now this is not enough - the planet of course also has to have just the right elements in just the right amounts but even then if there is carbon, hydrogen oxygen and iron and even if the planet is the right size it has to be in the correct place - if it is too close to the sun it orbits then it is too hot and remains a desert and if it is too far from its sun than it is freezing beyond our imagination. In astronomical terms the difference between being too close or too far is really very small, so small indeed that these two planets so close to one another that we at first thought they were one, turned out to be one too close and one too far.  The technical term for the perfect size composition and lacing of our earth is “The Goldilocks Effect” but I would say that this God has created the earth to be JUST RIGHT.

Part Three

This JUST RIGHTNESS is as I have said rather delicate and can be upset : things can go wrong you see and as we saw in Pakistan last month sometimes there can be too much water too. It is important for us to be good stewards of our planet to live in a sustainable caring way if this special balance is to be preserved- this year the Bishop’s appeal is in aid of a Climate Justice Fund that is designed to support farmers in Uganda to grow crops that will better cope with the changing climate and that will give them a chance. The Bishops appeal and our own harvest gifts blend the ideas we have been exploring: the ideas of the beauty of the earth, of our thanks for the good things we have, our recognition that God created the earth and the fruits of the earth and that above all we are to be generous to others.

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