.......give generously to UK organisations like the Foodbank, or Homestart......



Church buildings can open for public worship now, but I will continue to send a short reflection, for those of you who must continue to ‘shield’. It will be based on the topic of the Sunday Sermon, but not a transcript of it.

Let me know if you want a full transcript and I’ll get one to you.


SUNDAY 11 October 2020

Luke 12 verses 16 to 30

16 And (Jesus) told them this parable: ‘The ground of a certain rich man yielded an abundant harvest. 17 He thought to himself, “What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.”

18 ‘Then he said, “This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store my surplus grain. 19 And I’ll say to myself, ‘You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.’”

20 ‘But God said to him, “You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?” 21 ‘This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich towards God.’

22 Then Jesus said to his disciples: ‘Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. 23 For life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. 24 Consider the ravens: they do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! 25 Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life[b]26 Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?

27 ‘Consider how the wild flowers grow. They do not labour or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendour was dressed like one of these. 28 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you – you of little faith! 29 And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it. 30 For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them.



A Bitter Harvest


Back in March, we had a frightening glimpse of what shortages might look like.


For the most part it was clear that the shortages we faced at that time were largely caused by panic buying, but nevertheless it was disconcerting not to be able to obtain toilet roll, hand-sanitiser, flour or eggs whenever we wanted them.



It was only a glimpse of true deprivation however, and significant though it felt to us at the time, it was nothing compared to the daily struggle for food and essential items that faces so many on our planet. For many of the world’s poorest people, the situation of scarcity is compounded by adverse weather conditions, which scientists tell us are the result of pollution and subsequent climate change, largely caused by increasing over-consumption.


The daily challenges that face our own UK farmers, of torrential rain and flooding or drought and difficulties in finding enough labour to work the fields and harvest the crops is reflected across the world. Survival for many is a precarious matter and even the good work of the many relief agencies does not come close to alleviating every area of need.


Each year, at Harvest time, I make a point of reading a passage from a book called The Magic Apple Tree by Susan Hill.  Ms Hill who lived (at the time she wrote the book) in a rural Oxfordshire village, describes their church’s Harvest Festival as ‘the day to crown all the year, golden and glorious, rich and ripe…’ But she also reflects on whether it is right to ‘give thanks for the harvest when so much of the world is empty-bellied…’ and wonders if the words of the traditional harvest hymns ‘ought to burn us through and the feasting turn to ashes in our mouths.’


It is a question that each of us would do well to contemplate each year, and never more so than this year of Pandemic. This season, it is even more starkly revealed that the rich have more than enough to eat, and mostly have clean water and sanitiser to keep infection at bay, and medical treatment if we do fall ill, while many live in conditions of hunger and squalor where it is all but impossible for people to stay healthy and protect themselves and their children from infection and disease.


It is good that we are inspired to give generously to UK organisations like the Foodbank, or Homestart to ensure families are feed in our own communities, and we are grateful for our connections with these groups. At Harvest time and beyond, we should also reflect on the structures of injustice and exploitation that contribute to food poverty in the UK and across the world.


As we give thanks – rightly – for God’s glorious creation and the joys of tasting and sharing good food, let us also consider what simple steps we as individuals might take to manage our comparative riches well, and so ease the injustices suffered by the poor of the earth.

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