A View From The Vicarage, October 2017
As I write this we look forward to our celebrations of harvest festival. For details of our harvest services this year, please see elsewhere in this magazine. I’m sure that those harvest celebrations this year will be overshadowed by the events which we’ve been witnessing over the past few months from devastated communities in Asia, the Caribbean, Sierra Leone and the USA following a catalogue of natural calamities which have caused such suffering to so many to that appalling litany of horror and devastation caused by war and violence in countries both near and far.
In the face of such tragedy it can perhaps seem that a celebration of harvest is perhaps rather provincial or shallow.
Yet it seems to me that rather than being merely a celebration of local produce from rosy apples through beautiful carrots and perfect potatoes to the gargantuan marrows which appear to have so little purpose apart from to catch the eye with their proportions, harvest festival is actually a powerful reminder of our place as human beings within the panoply of creation; as that wonderful harvest hymn so powerfully reminds us: “all good gifts around us are sent from heaven above, then thank the Lord, O thank the Lord, For all his love.”
Those beautiful words, an integral component of so many harvest services remind us, as do the natural disasters which continue to ravage the planet, that, as human beings we are not and never will be the masters of the universe; we are tenants and stewards. As Margaret Thatcher once memorably remarked at the United Nations, “We have a repairing lease” and as such, we cannot and must not permit ourselves to treat the environment around us with complacency or disdain.
Each and every human person has both a duty and responsibility to God and the rest of creation to do our part to live in harmony with creation.
As you gaze upon the rich resources of the earth with which our churches are adorned for harvest festival, we give thanks for God’s generous provision for us, we hold before him and in our hearts those who do not share those blessings so abundantly and we commit ourselves anew to being good and wise stewards of the rich resources with which we have been endowed; as the closing words of the harvest festival service express it so well: “Tend the earth, care for God’s good creation and bring forth the fruits of righteousness. Go in peace to love and serve the Lord”.
With my love and prayers this harvest time, as always.