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  • Writer's pictureDavid Bent

Harvest Blessings (25-09-23)

Psalm of Praise: Psalms 67:5-7

May the peoples praise you, God; may all the peoples praise you.

The land yields its harvest; God, our God, blesses us.

May God bless us still, so that all the ends of the earth will worship him.


Bible Reading: Leviticus 19:9-10

When you reap the harvest of your land,

do not reap to the very edges of your field

or gather the gleanings of your harvest.

Do not go over your vineyard a second time

or pick up the grapes that have fallen.

Leave them for the poor and the foreigner.

I am the Lord your God.


A Reflection

When most of our supermarket purchases are ordered online and delivered to our door as required, it is very easy to take our food for granted. At least with a vegetable plot in the garden we are reminded that food production is seasonal, that it is affected by rainfall, frost and sunshine and that the land needs cultivating and the weeds and pests need keeping under control.


When we take the availability of our food for granted, it is good to be reminded through the familiar words of a favourite harvest hymn, that ‘All good gifts around us are sent from heaven above’ and to ‘Thank the Lord, O thank the Lord for all his love.’


The people of the Old Testament were clearly much more acutely aware of their need for good harvests and of their dependence on God. Let us join with them as they sing their praises to God in the psalm, above ‘May the peoples praise you, God; may all the peoples praise you. The land yields its harvest; God, our God, blesses us.’


In their times of abundance, the Israelite nation was also aware of the needs of the poor, leaving the gleanings of the grain and fruit harvests for the poor and the foreigner to collect.


As I reflect on Israel’s ancient welfare system, I wonder how God wants us to interpret it for today. It is not possible for us to leave the gleanings of our harvests for the poor when we are many steps removed from the process of harvesting our food, and are often distanced in location from the poor and the foreigner.


Generosity is at the heart of the Christian faith. We have the poor and the foreigner amongst us, both in our local communities and further afield around the world. Food banks are one option, regularly supporting aid workers is another. I wonder what other avenues we might find if we looked.


A Prayer

The land yields its harvest; God, our God, blesses us.

May God bless us still, so that all the ends of the earth; the poor and the foreigner, will worship him.

Amen


We plough the fields and scatter the good seed on the land.

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