Thought for the month – Provided by Roger Neal – Congregational Worship Leader
When we were young, a shopping trip to the greengrocers would display a limited assortment of locally grown produce. The fruit and vegetables tended to be those you could grow in the garden. Everything had its season, and one could look forward in anticipation to the first blush pink rhubarb and the strawberries of summer, or blackberrying with the children in the autumn to bake pies with the harvested apples. We are all aware that summer is drawing to its close and that summer is here as we hear the grape picker throughout the night, and the air is full of the scent of fermenting grapes.
I find this very refreshing for in the western world it is now possible to buy exotic produce from all four corners of the world at any time we like. This is not necessarily a bad thing. For one thing it has opened up new markets for smaller countries to export crops that they can grow that we can’t. But it does mean, for children growing up today, that the whole concept of a harvest festival really doesn’t mean so much as perhaps it used to.
This does not apply in many countries, where the success of local harvests when conditions are favourable ensures that families will not go hungry through the winter months. We have all seen television pictures of horrific problems caused by too much or too little rain. In these conditions, there is little chance of a shortfall being made up for by imported produce. We need to be mindful of this in our thoughts and prayers.
“God our creator, redeemer and sustainer, you set us in a world abundant with produce and give us skill to till the soil and harvest crops to support life; bless all who work the land and manage the countryside. May they protect the environment from damage, the earth and rivers from pollution and livestock from cruelty. Inspire our trading with your justice in fairness of price and wage. As we are thankful for your rich bounty, so may we ensure that none go hungry; through Jesus Christ our lord. Amen”