As we enter the Harvest season I was reminded of the many childhood memories of this time of year. In Scotland, September is brambling time (collecting blackberries) and there were many weekends spent in Argyll raiding the redundant railway tracks for the fruits of Autumn. I also remember scrambling up banks to collect rosehips, in the hope of being the one to take the most into school on the Monday and thus earn the right to wear the ‘Delrosa’ badge for the week. Then there were the chestnuts collected and roasted in front of the fire, and a few weeks later turnip lanterns at Halloween, baked potatoes watching the fireworks, and then tackling a pomegranate with a pin as we watched the Festival of Remembrance. It is a time of year rich in memories, and Harvest Festival is at the heart of those memories.
Harvest is a special time as we celebrate and give thanks for the rich variety of the food available. These days, with modern freight methods, we can buy things out of season and in some ways that has lessened our appreciation of harvest. In the Old Testament Harvest is about offering the first fruits to God, and this is the root of our Harvest Festivals. For Jesus, any mention of Harvest was in relation to awakening people to their relationship and oneness with God the creator, and often linked to stories of planting, growing and reaping. As we celebrate Harvest we may still decorate with the fruits of our gardens but the offering we make is very often tied in to sharing our good fortune with others by donating food to a Foodbank or similar charity. I believe Jesus would have approved of this; sharing is at the heart of the message of Jesus and something the early church appears to have seen as very important. The challenge may be that the Old Testament notion of Harvest was about giving to God the first fruits of our harvest, the best we can offer, do we manage to do this in our current day Harvest? As we celebrate Harvest time why not spend time harvesting your memories and sharing ideas of how we can offer the best of what we have to God.
Love and prayers,