Harvest Festival 2016 – A Reflection

Harvest festival - A reflectionThe Harvest Festival was duly celebrated on 9th October this year. In his Sermon, Fr Robert made the point that although it is natural that we want to give thanks for the beauty of creation, and the bounty of the earth, we do so in a context where the relatively few are comfortable, whilst many, even the majority, ‘go without’ even the basic necessities of life – bread, clean water, shelter.  If we are to avoid Harvest degenerating into a sentimental ‘fluffy cauliflowers’ creation-fest, divorced from reality, then we must reckon with the destructive effects of the sum total of human sin,  greed and wickedness, – expressed in the glaring and inexcusible inequalities in our world.  We must heed the message of the Old Testament Prophets concerning the Lord’s demand for integrity, mercy and justice for the poor, rather than simply formal and outward religious observance.  We have much to give thanks for – our creation, sustanance, and preservation, and most especially the gift of grace through Jesus Christ, both in this life and in the life to come. The language of Harvest Festival speaks not only of creation and thanksgiving, but also of Judgment and accountability – our lives, and our world, are not our own; we- and our world, belong to God.  One day we will be called to account for our stewardship.  Did we feed the hungry?  Did we Clothe the Naked?  Did we visit those ‘in prison’?

“All the world is God’s own field,  fruit unto His praise yield;
wheat and tares together sown are to joy or sorrow grown;
first the blade and then the ear, then the full corn shall appear;
Grant, O Harvest Lord, that we, wholesome grain and pure may be.”

Harvest donationsAs we pray to the Lord, the Judge of All,  that we may be wholesome and pure grain, we pray, in this Year of Mercy that we may be a people of mercy – and by the way, it is not for us to decide who are the deserving/undeserving poor –  and generosity, a people who give, and not count the cost, a people who labour and do not seek reward. Even though we are a small and relatively poor congregation, we need to put our time, our talents, and yes even our money at the Lord’s disposal – We need to be generous; and for all the generosity and mercy shown in our Harvest offerings, of food, and money, may His Holy Name be praised.

Harvest lunchAfter the well attended Celebration of Mass, there was a Harvest Lunch, provided by the congregation, enjoyed by Harvest lunchall – and donations were requested for those who could afford it, but it was made clear that the meal was free to those who could not.  Our Harvest Festival yielded much food, and £110 in donations for lunch, all of which will go to the vital work of feeding and providing for the poor in our borough done  Christian Care Association, Merton.  If you would like to contribute further to our Harvest Appeal, whether financially or with food, there is still time!

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