On my final day at Primary School our teacher put the word antidisestablishmentarianism on the board and challenged us to find as many whole words as we could using the letters. In a similar way – how many words can you make from the word HARVEST.
God’s gift of stewardship of creation is one of the very first Bible stories. We are lent this planet but only for our lifetime, and God expects us to care for it. Its bounty lies in the earth that we till and seed and nurture and harvest; it lies in deep seams of minerals and precious metals and stones; it lies in water in abundance. All this is ours to reap and to use.
I do not know who wrote this:
“If the earth were only a few feet in diameter floating a few feet above a field somewhere, people would come from everywhere to marvel at it. People would walk around it, marvelling at its big pools of water, it’s little pools and the water that flowed between the pools. People would marvel at the bumps on it and the holes in it and they would marvel at the very thin layer of gas that surrounded it, and the water suspended in the gas. The people would marvel at all the creatures walking around the surface of the ball and in the water.
The people would declare it precious because it was the only one, and they would protect it so it would not be hurt. The ball would be the greatest wonder ever known and people would come to behold it, to be healed, to gain knowledge to know beauty and wonder how it could be. People would love it and defend it with their lives because they would somehow know that their lives, their own roundness could be nothing without it. IF the earth were only a few feet in diameter…”
Humans have also been given a great capacity for knowledge – but not such a great capacity for anticipation. We have invented things that seem like a good idea and yet are damaging our planet. Plastic – do we need shrink wrapped broccoli? Does a toothbrush need a moulded plastic bed to lie in within a cardboard box that is also shrink wrapped? Plastic takes a thousand years to biodegrade. Global warming is real, and we need to address this now so that we can begin to heal the earth.
This world can produce enough so every man woman and child has sufficient for their needs. Yet an inbalance of power and wealth means that some have too much and others not enough. The reality of harvests in some places in the world is of crop failure, drought, flood and need. Then the people starve.
Sharing is caring, so the solution of failed harvests and hungry people lies in the knowledge and wisdom that are also God’s gifts to us. But sometimes it is easier to put money into emergency appeals than it is to change ourselves, to do things differently. What we have is the ability to save this planet. We share concerns and we pray for all those for whom harvest is not a time of thanksgiving but a time of worry and loss.
May God who put compassion into our being
Also give us hearts of love to share our harvest
And to bring about the Kingdom of God
On this good earth for all people, for all time.
Revd Barbara Bennett