Reflection for Harvest Festival
”Do not worry about your life….. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?” Jesus in today’s Gospel Mark 6:25-33.
‘Come, ye thankful people, come, raise the song of harvest home!
All is safely gathered in ‘ere the winter storms begin.’ Henry Alford’s harvest hymn.
There’s an irony in singing some of the traditional hymns this year as Harvest Festival is celebrated today. Although the weather has often been helpful and the yields are mainly good, all is not safely gathered in due to a lack of labour, supply or drivers. As has been evident this week, there are empty shelves in the supermarkets and many garages still haven’t had deliveries of fuel although there is plenty of it. Brexit, Covid-19 and changes in work practices have had a marked effect worldwide as well as in the UK, causing Chancellor Rishi Sunak to suggest that the food shortages could be in place for many months yet. It’s still only autumn and already the storm clouds are gathering as suggestions of a winter of discontent begin to circulate, regardless of the winter storms of which Alford writes.
That’s why it’s important to hear again Jesus’ words in today’s Gospel. He reminds his followers that life is about much more than food and clothing and that worry will not help matters. What’s been clear this week is that anxieties about food and fuel supplies have been ratcheted up by suggestions of panic buying, thus bringing about the very thing that is feared. Jesus’ words are in stark contrast to this – seek first the kingdom of God, he says, and all these things will be given to you.
Today, the harvest gifts at St Melangell’s will go to the local food bank to be shared with the growing numbers who need this support so that, in conjunction with other agencies, food and resources can be shared with those in need rather than stockpiled by those who have much. In that is hope for the future as well as practical support now, in contrast to the challenges of recent times when it’s understandable that some people have become worried and fearful. Whatever the situation, each of us can respond to the need around us now and the final verse of Alford’s hymn reminds us that the future hope is that, in the end, “all (WILL) be safely gathered in, free from sorrow, free from sin’.
Meanwhile, in the words of Lance Corporal Jones of Dad’s Army, “Don’t panic!”
With my prayers; pob bendith,