Come ye thankful people come
Raise the song of harvest home
All is safely gathered in ere the winter storms begin
Preparing the church for Harvest Festival this weekend, someone remarked: " Well...at least when we sing our harvest hymn this year, it will be true. All is safely gathered in this year."
The fields around here are now empty, the great hay bales have been taken away for storage. Some of the fields have even been ploughed for winter planting.
But that comment made me think about how often we "manipulate" times and seasons to fit in with our worship - or how, when we can't manipulate timings (Christmas and Easter, for example) we feel inconvenienced.
Harvest Festival, in particular, is an acknowledgement that God has it covered:
As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat,
summer and winter, day and night, shall not cease.’
As we give thanks for the gift of Harvest today, we give thanks, too, for a God who will not be manipulated, who will not conform to our expectations or fit into our tidy, ordered lives, even our liturgical lives! We give thanks for a God who calls us out on our organisational skills and reminds us:
"If you had faith the size of a mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you." Luke 17:6
Giving thanks for the Harvest today, God calls us far beyond our sanctuaries, physical and metaphorical, to engage with messier lives until all God's children know the blessing of God's Harvest that does not fit in to our planning schedules but brings abundance for all God's people.
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