Why we celebrate Harvest in the city

Today at 10:30am we will celebrate Harvest Festival. It will have, by our standards, a traditional feel. There will be the time honoured Harvest hymns including We plough the fields and Come ye thankful come. Then during the service, people will be able to bring gifts of food which will be gathered together.

A few years ago, there was some discussion about stopping the Harvest service. The question was,  ” What does this have to do with us in the city?” Some people suggested we changed it for a more urban focused event maybe celebrating the produce of factories. We decided to keep going with a traditional Harvest Festival and to really go for it. Why?

1. Whilst we live in an urban context and whilst there is a risk that urban life does not always get the missions focus it needs, we do not live in the city in isolation.  We are part of a wider community. The city needs the countryside.  It is important for those of us who live amongst the noise of cars and buses and who go to work in factories and offices give thanks for those who labour in the fields, just as in a month’s time those of us who have never held a weapon or flown a fighter jet will remember those who gave their lives in war so we could live in peace.

2. Each year, the food gathered is distributed to the most needy and vulnerable. When I was a child, we brought fresh fruit and vegetables and it was taken to homes during the week. Now we bring tins and packets that are used by food banks. Harvest reminds us of a call to compassion.

3. Harvest  causes us to stop and give thanks to God for all of his good gifts. His common grace means that he gives us our daily bread. All good gifts come from him. This is another reminds that our whole lives belong to him and are under his sovereign rule and care.

4. Harvest reminds us that ” man does not live by bread alone” so that God feeds us with spiritual food. Jesus said ” I am the bread of life.”

Looking forward to seeing some of you at our Harvest service this morning.