HARVEST celebrated at Crediton Methodist Church on Sunday, September 17 was planned by the worship team and led by  Rev Barbara Greenwood. 

There was a table covered in rainbow coloured drapes and a flower arrangement also  in rainbow colours.

People brought their donations forward and were encouraged to place them on the appropriate coloured drapes. All these and monetary donations will be given to Crediton Food Bank.

Pam reminded us of the Rainbow – the promise that God made at the time of Noah and fulfilled in Jesus. The promise to love and forgive. 

There was a short quiz in which Pam asked us to name various fruits and vegetables in each colour of the rainbow.

Barbara said that we celebrate the power of nature, diversity, creation and the abundance of what God supplies.  

In the past most people would have been very close to the land, but not so much any more. Barbara admitted that she was a townie.

People need to be reminded where our food comes from. It comes from the earth, sea and skies and in Psalm 50 God says that He does not need us to bring things as gifts to Him but we should bring gifts for other people. We bring them in recognition of the fact that everything that we eat grows because God puts life into the seed.

Humans were hunter-gatherers,  then increased agriculture supported massive increase in human population. We still need God to give life to the seed; rain and sunshine all come from God’s creative power. Today we acknowledge the beauty and wonder and variety of creation and the different colours of food and the variety of climates.

We all, different as we are, are made in God’s image.  The people who use the Food Bank are all equally made in God’s image and are all deserving of dignity and having their needs met.  I, and you, and the people affected by the Moroccan earthquake and the floods in Libya are all equally deserving of dignity and having our needs met.

With the cost of living crisis, inflation has soared, interest rates are shooting up, the price of gas and electric is sky high and the cost of food in the supermarkets has gone up.  For Barbara it has meant fewer meals out, cheaper treats but she has still had a holiday and even though her income has not risen, she still considers herself lucky  as she is able to cope.  If you are struggling – there is the Food Bank – but that is not the answer. 

In our harvest celebration we acknowledge God’s creativity, generosity and abundance of what the earth offers but there has to be practical out-workings.

In Leviticus we are told when you gather the harvest bring the first fruits as an offering to the priest – symbolically an offering to God. We are told to give the first fruits – the best – not the dregs or leftovers. 

We are also told to leave the gleanings for the poor and to share with those in need. Always as part of harvest celebrations we give something of the bounty to those in need.  I would suggest that once a year is not good enough to give to someone in need. Why do people need Food Banks? I just want to encourage you to think about these things. Each of us can, and I venture should, think about ways in which we live our own lives and the impact that has on the wider world. 

Barbara said she only buys Fairtrade tea and coffee so that the growers receive a living wage and are given extra help. She also recycles everything she can. These are just two small adjustments she has made in her life-style. Barbara asked what we could do?  Whatever we do, it is part of our Christian discipleship to try and make the world a better place for all humanity because we are all equally made in God’s image and entitled to dignity and to have our needs met.

So, as we celebrate our harvest, we thank God for all that we have not only the variety and quantity of food that we have. We remember so many people who are literally starving to death.

By giving generously to those who have less, we celebrate harvest by praying and working for a world that is fairer. For Barbara it is not enough to say that people will be in paradise afterwards, she wants life more joyful for them now.

"In our worldwide task of caring for the hungry and despairing, in the harvests we are sharing – God’s will is done."

Bronwyn Nott