On the first Sunday in October we, in this kirk, generally give thanks to God for the gift of creation. We come as a community to thank God for the provision of our home - the planet and for its abundant riches. We call it Harvest Sunday. It may seem a quaint kind of Service, and it is not particularly old in terms of tradition, but it is something that, as the years go on I am more and more convinced the church should celebrate. We do give thanks to Almighty God in a variety of ways – worship being the most obvious, but in the giving of gifts that others might share in God’s provision for us we are doing something profoundly theological. All too often people forget this planet did not come about by mere chance but is the gift of a gracious God who deigned that creation should be a thing of joy to be celebrated and treasured. Humanity, on the other hand, has done a pretty good job of exploiting and debasing it.
At our Service we give gifts (most often in monetary form) for the LHM and for the Preschal Trust. The food (given for the display at the Service) goes to the LHM to be used that the people there, who are in desperate need, might be given a wholesome meal. Like many other congregations within the city this provision is not just mere giving but a commitment to ensuring that the goodness of God is shared with those who are undoubtedly less fortunate than ourselves.
Around our world today, as you read this, there are countless millions who are hungry or thirsty. They didn’t invite this condition upon themselves: it often comes about because of war or natural disaster (see Oxfam Report on the causes of hunger in the world) and yet they suffer through no fault of their own. Our celebration of Harvest is a joyful occasion and it should be but it is also a recognition of our responsibility to others in the world to care for God’s creation and to use it wisely for the benefit of the many who are in need at this time.
May God bless you in this autumn season.