We had Harvest yesterday at church. “We plough the fields and scatter”… except we don’t, we just buy the food and eat it, or wait until it is substantially past its sell-by date and then bin it.
So, what’s with the Harvest anyway? I’ll harvest my harvest, and see what kind of bread I can make.
The main stress point of harvest is remembering to get tins and stuff for the children to take forward at the relevant moment in church. And then stressing about the crinkly poly bag – wondering just how shallow it would be to switch the ASDA ones for Waitrose ones?… not that I have any Waitrose bags… (not after the time I have to put my trolley in reverse and put everything back before leaving hurriedly to find a Tesco by hook or by crook…)
So the collection at church this year is going to the Lodging House Mission.
I remember when I was wee, at school we studied the poem: “Diary of a Church Mouse” by John Betjeman which I really enjoyed. I especially enjoyed the word “frugal”. And the church mouse in the poem enjoyed harvest:
For me the only feast at all
Is Autumn’s Harvest Festival,
When I can satisfy my want
With ears of corn around the font.
And once I saw a church mouse on Harvest Sunday who was clearly impressed with a sheaf of corn, live and interactive, before your very eyes.
And when the words “reap” and “sow” are used, as they inevitably are, I half expect Heather Small appear out of a puff of dry ice, grab a mic and give us a hearty rendition of the end of “Perfect Day”.
I also keep having flashes to hospital shows, when they “harvest” organs. I try not to think about that too much, amongst the roots, fruits and flowers.
But what should I be thinking about?
Celebrating the Harvest.
This is where my brain wants to slip immediately into the metaphor: you reap what you sow. (Go Heather!)
But maybe the actual harvest of literal crops should be celebrated.
Way back in Genesis, Adam was instructed by God to “subdue” the earth – having seed-bearing plants for food. After the fall, working the land became harder, but in chapter 8 God promises that seasons and the harvest will endure as long as the world.
But sometimes crops fail and seasons get messed up, there is drought and famine, climate change – and povery and war – and a cycle of stunted growth and selfishness and war.
To bring in the harvest – to get the food from where it is to where it needs to be – should be celebrated. So often we hear of disasters where the aid just doesn’t get through, or is mis-directed, stolen or wasted.
Here, we are choking on plenty, trying to fend off obesity with deep-fried half-heartedness.
The global village has yet to fix the structural “sharing” problem. We should get on with that, amongst the many other things we should be solving.
I have failed to grow-my-own so far, despite that being a “to-do”. I was brought up in a “grow-your-own” family. The peas were and still are the best, and I have enjoyed some potatoes this year. Here’s a pic of my Dad’s vegetable patch from last year. Maybe one day I’ll get around to sowing. And then I’d get to reap. (Go Heather!)