A reflection for Harvest 2020

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Offered for Sunday 4th October 2020


Stephen

Reflections Script

Harvest 2020

October 4th 2020


When we think of the history
of the celebration of harvest
with all God's gifts safely gathered in
we may think the Christian Church
has done what it has done over
the centuries taken established,
often pagan festivals
and making them Christian!

However the same way
as we celebrate Christmas
it has more to do with the Victorians'
than anything earlier.

Harvest Celebrations as we know
have their origins in a
Cornish Church in 1843
which then spread across the
Christian Church eventually
setting a date similar to how
the Church came up with a formula
to celebrate Easter!

Harvest was to be celebrated
on the closest Sunday to a full moon
appearing at the end of September
and start of October.

This then developed into what
we experience now Churches
simply select a convenient day!

However, right from being a child
of the 50's in an urban area
the distinction between
the production of food
and the plate has grown into a chasm
with all types of food
being available 365 days a year
with no distinction between the seasons,
for example as a child
the closest I would ever come
to strawberries and cream
on Christmas Day
both were to be found in tins!

This disconnection between provision
and production is now part of the rural ideal,
according to a 2007 report
only one person in a village of 500
is employed directly on the land
due to mechanisation and profit margins.

Just to throw into the mix
after a farmer has mechanically harvested
an average sized field of onions
the four tons of perfectly good onions
left in the field are 'uneconomical'
to manually retrieve,
and are ploughed back into the land!

Our challenge as stewards of God's creation,
and I'm talking to myself as well,
is to reconnect with the rhythm of Creation,
not only will we become better stewards
of what is entrusted to us
but we will perhaps be spared
the effects of bird flu, swine flu
and co-vid as research and indications
point towards not listening
to the rhythm of creation
with things entering into
the human food chain
that were never designed
or intended to do so.

A simple point to ponder!
We now accept the cheapness
and abundance of Chicken
in our food chain
but at what cost!

It is now estimated as you sit
and listen or read this,
our production methods'
mean if you count all birds
in the world together
from the majestic eagle
to the humble sparrow
Chickens will outnumber
the total five to one.

Our opening prayer is actually
a creedal statement put together
by the Pacific Woman's
Consultation of Justice,
Peace and the Integrity of Creation,
but picks up I feel beautifully
the rhythm we need to reconnect with.


Let us Pray


We believe that creation
is a gift of God,
an expression of our creator's goodness.
We believe that as human beings
we are part of this creation,
and that we share in a special way
in the creative power of God.
We believe that the resources
of our land and waters
and air are precious gifts
from our creator,
to be used and looked after
with loving care.
We believe that there is
a rhythm to God's creation,
like a drum beat;
when we lose the beat,
or the drum is damaged,
the music is out of tune.
We believe In God the Father,
God the Son
and God the Holy Spirit
Amen.


Address

All of my experience
as a preacher is to take Scripture
first second and third
and for the reading
to set the agenda!

Nevertheless there is always
an exception to rule
and this is one of them,
although Scripture underpins
my thoughts and reflections.

The Collect for Harvest years for A, B and C
gives thanks first
for God provision
then is good preaching style
makes three important statements
After God has crowned the year
with his goodness
and given us the fruits
of the earth in their season
we are to use that provision for his Glory.
We should not be pillaging
our words resources as this does not
bring Glory to God,
in fact if we take this
to its logical conclusion
we are dishonouring God
and not bringing him Glory.

Secondly, God's provision
should be used
'for the relief of those in need'
so why therefore are we still seeing
Food Poverty
no longer solely in what was known as
'The Third World'
but also on our own doorstep
witnessed dramatically
with the rise of food banks
over recent years,
let alone the response
to food poverty during
the present pandemic.

It's interesting to note
the world spends on the machinery of war
every two weeks what it would need
to feed and provide everybody
in the world with a sustainable diet,
basic housing and
a basic education for a year!

Finally the prayer
states god's fruits and provision
are for 'our own well-being'
we take our needs after the above two!


The Prayer in full, Let us Pray


Eternal God,
you crown the year with your goodness
and you give us the fruits
of the earth in their season:
grant that we may use them to your glory,
for the relief of those in need
and for our own well-being;
through Jesus Christ
your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and forever.
Amen.


Finally Our Blessing


Lord of all creation,
we gratefully acknowledge
our dependence on you for all
the good things we enjoy.
For the fruits of the earth,
For the harvest of the sea,
For the wealth of the mine,
For the beauty of the world
in which we live,
O Lord we thank you.

And the blessing .....


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