Maradona and his illegal goal – and the reference to the “hand of God”. This will lead to the content of the Harvest Thanksgiving Service.
Hymn 130 (Caneuon Ffydd) or Hymn 145 (Caneuon Ffydd)
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The Main Text
The famous footballer Diego Maradona was born on 30th October 1960. Originally from Argentina, he was sold to the Barcelona team in 1982 for what was then the enormous sum of five million pounds.
In the 1986 World Cup, Maradona’s name became even more well known because he was the player who used his fist to score that fateful goal which led to Argentina beating the England team. There was much debate regarding that illegal goal, but Maradona’s only explanation was: “it was the hand of God!”
Whatever our opinion of Maradona’s explanation, his reference towards “the hand of God” is interesting.
There are many references to the hand of God in the Bible. The Autumn term is the time of harvest and the time of Thanksgiving services, and it’s the time when we tend to hear the phrase “the hand of God” being used.
It’s the time of year when we thank God for all his goodness to us during the past year and for blessing the earth with the crops that give us food.
It’s important that we thank God for everything, since it’s the “hand of God” That’s responsible for everything on Earth. There is a verse in the Bible which says: My hand made all these things.
There is an excellent story about two farmers at harvest time. Samuel Jones the Hendre was one and Mr Herbert Fron was the other. Samuel Jones’ land was very poor compared to Mr Herbert Fron’s fertile and copious land.
When it was decided to decorate the chapel for the Thanksgiving Service for the first time in the area, most of the fruit and vegetables came from Mr Herbert Fron’s fields and green houses.
Samuel Jones wasn’t happy about this at all, as he could only offer thorns and brambles. So, shortly before the service began, Samuel Jones slyly exchanged his thorns and brambles for Mr Herbert Fron’s abundant crops.
The outcome was that everyone refused to participate in the service. They said that it was an impossible task to thank God in the middle of thorns and brambles. Everyone refused, except for one, who was Samuel Jones the Hendre. He remembered the verse referring to the hand of God. “My hand made all these things."
It’s important that we show our thanks for everything.
Tommy was very thirsty and went to the tap for some water. The cold water was great.
“Thank you tap” said Tommy.
“Don’t thank me,” said the tap, “I’m glad to be able to help, but I only make the water run to you”
“Thank you water” said Tommy. “You were very kind”
“Don’t thank me,” said the water. “The spring from the mountain sends me on my way to quench the thirst of people like you.”
“Well, thank you spring” said Tommy.
“No, don’t thank me,” said the spring. “I couldn’t flow if it wasn’t for the dew and rain”
“Thank you dew and rain”, said Tommy.
“No” they said, “don’t thank us. It’s the sun pulling us up into the air to fall back on the earth again”
“Thank you Sun” said Tommy.
“There’s no need to thank me,” said the sun, “I draw the water from the sea.”
“Thank you sea,” said Tommy.
“No” said the sea, “don’t thank me. Thank the One who made me, the One who made the sun and dew and rain, the spring and the water, and the One who helped people make the tap”
So, eventually, Tommy understood - and he thanked God.
“My hand made all these things” said God
Our brief prayer is from the book of Psalms: We shall enter Your gates with thanks, and Your entrances with praise. We thank You, and we bless Your holy Name. Amen.