Thursday, 11 October 2012

Harvest Festival - Relevant?

 The two pictures above and the two below left are of St Mary's Harvest Festival display last Sunday.

All of these are beautiful and traditional, the first one being the most typical in most peoples' minds.

As a very small child my idea of harvest festival was of an abundance of fruit and vegetables artfully arranged to their very best advantage.  This signified that God had been good to the diligent farmers (we lived in Birmingham !), and that this was their reward for all their hard work.

 In wartime, which this was, such a display was too unusual for even the child with no imagination at all to take for granted, and it was somehow impressed on us that if we worked hard we too might enjoy such wonderful blessings.

In later childhood without the primary school basic Christian teaching and with no further evidence of  a power greater than my own I lost sight of this annual

Last Sunday, looking at the lovely flower displays all round the church, and the traditional fruit and vegetable display (first picture), it suddenly seemed a very stark contrast with the 'other' offerings we had made, picture on right.

I found myself thinking really hard about those in our own area who would vastly prefer to receive some of the 'dry' goods we had
collected than the visually pleasing
ones in the first pictures.

The collection was huge, the response to the appeal by the rector  had been immense and a very mixed van-load of goods been donated.

These  will go to a local charity who feed and clothe those in real need.

2012 and we are seeing scenes reminiscent of the 1930's, at an ever-increasing level.

From my first appreciation of the visual effects of the traditional Harvest Festival I have realised that this annual event has a greater relevance than ever.  More and more people are in need but also, more and more people are responding to that need.  A hopeful sign surely?

Please click on the poorish pictures for a better view.


  1. I think Harvest Thanksgiving will always be relevant, Ray, if for no other reason than to remind us how dependent we are on the work of others for our daily food. The sad thing is how many are in a position where they cannot even afford to feed themselves and their children properly. Well done to St Mary's for trying to do somehting to help.

  2. It was a good effort, but, I fear, a drop in the ocean in real terms.
    The wonderful organisation who received the harvest goods is a very hard-working charity which collects and re-distributes absolutely everything, from clothes to furniture,household goods to food.
    It's just a great pity they are needed.

  3. Ray, I must share with what our new church did at this year at Thanksgiving.

    Thanksgiving here in Canada is the same time as harvest festival and is essential the same thing.

    The Sunday school children made up 'bags of love' Each bag contained 5 food items, non that needed cooking or preparing, some plastic cutlery & a napkin. We were given the opportunity to give a donation and take a bag and give it to a homeless person we saw that day. Here on the West coast odd BC we have a higher proportion of homeless people than elsewhere in Canada sue to the weather being less harsh. On our way home we gave our bag to a lady who was begging at the traffic lights on one of the major roads ) common practice here at the busy junctions). I was so humbled to see her after her grateful thanks go straight to the side of the road& sit down to eat what we had given her. We have decided as a family to prepare these kinds of bags weekly so that Pete can give them out on his way to and from work.

    You are right there are more people than ever in need. Well done St Mary's for helping and doing it so well.

  4. That sounds such a good idea Shona, but of course it is shocking that it should be necessary.
    The most I ever do on a personal level is buy the Big Issue and in bad weather, buy the seller a coffee or tea from nearby.
    I suppose no 'good deed' is worthless, but what we can do seems such a tiny drop in the ocean.