For many years, having lived in suburban or city contexts, celebrating the Harvest Festival at church always seemed out of place. For most of us, the Harvest and Creation’s provision was not an immediate aspect of everyday life. Now we are living in Redbourn, where I can actually see the harvested fields from my front garden, it feels a much more appropriate season to mark and celebrate.
The Book of Ecclesiastes says that ‘there is a time for everything and a season for every activity under heaven’ (Ecclesiastes 3:1). As we see the crops gathered in, I wonder what this season is for you? Perhaps it is a time of new beginnings after a busy summer holiday with children, or the start of a new job? Or maybe it might be a time when things are a bit more uncertain as the warm weather starts to turn to the short cold days of winter. Whatever it is, nothing we do is ever out of time with God our Father who is in heaven.
Traditionally, Harvest has been a time to give thanks for the wonderful world in which we live, which provides us with all our food. It is also a time to help those who are not as ‘food rich’ as ourselves. Not everyone in the world, even in Redbourn, can take for granted having 3 meals a day.
Here at St Mary’s we are responding in a number of ways, and you are warmly invited to join us. At our Harvest Festival we will be collecting money for the Bishop’s Harvest appeal. This year the appeal is supporting WaterAid to help bring clean, safe water to rural communities in Madagascar. It is also important to help those in need closer to home, and we are encouraging everyone to consider donating to DENS, our local foodbank in Hemel Hempstead, via the collecting point in church or the Co-op or to bring some items along to our Harvest Festival celebrations. Details of what to donate can be found on the DENS website: click here
With every blessing,
Assistant Curate, St Mary’s Redbourn