Harvest Festival was once one of the key celebrations in the Church’s year, a time to give thanks to God for a successful harvest and a time of bounty and celebration.
We live in a time when we are less aware of our dependence on nature and the earth. A quick trip to the supermarket and all our needs are taken care of. For many, when asked where eggs, milk, flour, bread and our other basic needs come from they are unable to answer. A tractor with farm machinery ahead of us is simply a source of annoyance, a delay in our very important journey. We will willingly pay hundreds of pounds for the latest mobile phone but grumble if asked to pay an extra penny for a pint of milk. We are in danger of losing our connection to creation, losing the reality of the interdependence of all living things and the damage that can be caused to the earth with the loss of that knowledge.
Living in a rural area, we are perhaps more aware of our links to the earth. We see the changes in the fields and are aware of the importance of harvest. We see the growing and the ripening, we see the farmers working late in the night to bring in the crops and we see the effect that the weather can have on the yield.
Perhaps we, more than many, appreciate the fishermen, the farmers, those who produce our food all over the world. Whether it be the basics we produce here, or the tea, coffee, fruit etc that comes from other parts of the world, harvest reminds us that for all our needs we are dependent on the earth, on God’s creation, of which he made us stewards.
As we celebrate harvest and give thanks for God’s gifts, we are also reminded of the need to care for his creation, not only for ourselves but also for those who will follow us. We pray, as we give thanks for the harvest, that we may always be faithful in our care of our world seeking peace and harmony for all creation.
By your word, Creator God
we and all creatures are formed, sustained and fed.
Teach us to live in peace with the world your hands have made,
that as faithful stewards of your good earth,
we may reverence you in the works of creation.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.