Giving thanks and giving out. The Bible is full of rich imagery of sowing and reaping, the land producing a harvest, plants being pruned and cut back the expected result being a lot of fruit. At every turn those living in biblical times could see, touch, taste and work with the land, its soil, seeds, weeds, fruit and plants, as well as understanding the weather. So it was a natural habit to turn and thank the one who created and provided everything for them. In an agricultural and subsistence culture, taking the gifts of the creator for granted was really quite impossible.
Today, though, most people in the western world live in a highly mechanised and ‘instant’ world. And most people no longer have much to do with the production of the food they eat without thinking. In fact so many people living in cities and towns may rarely, if indeed ever, see crops actually growing.
In spite of all this, harvest festivals remain popular throughout the world. It is a time to remember how precious our food is, and to celebrate the one who gives us all these wonderful gifts. It is a time to say thank you to God as the one who keeps on giving. It is also an opportunity to share what we have with those whose needs are greater than our own. Paul encourages us to be thankful at all times (1Thessalonians 5:18; Philippians 4: 11-13). When we stop to think about all that we have, we areoften moved in a new and fresh way to give to others. And God who provided will always honour those who give in ways that honour him.
In our parish we are beginning a new season and yes it leads into harvest celebrations but an attitude of gratitude and generosity should not be just confined to seasons of the year. It should be a lifestyle.
Pay it forward is one of my favourite films and this harvest I would encourage you to watch it as we focus particularly on Bishops’ Appeal. The Bishops’ Appeal is all about giving to those who just do not have enough and we all have plenty. This is one way to give this harvest but also through the ideas of this movie. Choose 2 people to do some good and nice thing for, it can be from mowing their lawn, cooking a meal or whatever but it is not about returning the generosity but rather paying it forward and it just gets bigger and bigger.
I would love to see this happening and see how it blesses. So watch out and see if people are wanting to bless you just say thank you and pass on the generosity. With love and prayers