Rev'd Karen - October 2022

The Vicar’s Light Reflections

Light Reflections… “Let your light shine…” (Matthew 5.16)

This month, we will be celebrating Harvest across the United Benefice, with Harvest Services in each of our churches and a Harvest Evensong followed by supper at St Leonard’s, Balderstone. I do hope that you are able to come along to one of the services as we give thanks to God for His provision and our thanks and gratitude to our local farming communities. It is a challenging time for our farmers and those involved in food production and the supply chain. Events during the last two years have had an impact; the pandemic, Brexit and now the Russian invasion and war in Ukraine; and of course, the ongoing Climate Change emergency has shown how fragile our food systems are globally.

The Arthur Rank Centre (ARC), an ecumenical national charity, serves both the spiritual and practical needs of rural communities by providing resources, training and advocacy for churches to enable them to be more effective in mission and ministry. They highlight that a national food strategy is needed to ensure the sustainability and long-term increase of food production to provide the food security our country and indeed the world needs. ARC says that “As Christians, we should be lobbying for this, for indeed it is important for the sake of the Kingdom.”

The Bible has a lot to say about harvest and the themes of creation, land, agriculture and farming run throughout the scriptures. All food is a gift from God, and we remember and give thanks to God for all that He has done for us, as the hymn We Plough the Fields and Scatter goes:

All good gifts around us

Are sent from heaven above; then thank the Lord,

O thank the Lord,

For all his love.

As Christians, we can celebrate harvest as a church community by sharing a harvest meal and home-grown produce. We can pray for our farmers and their families and workers, we can use the prayers of thanksgiving and grace (see below). And all of us can encourage and commit to buying local produce as much as possible and use Fairtrade goods.

Loving God, we give thanks for those who produce our food: for farmers and fishermen, factory and shop workers. We pray for those for whom this has been a difficult year: farmers who have battled the weather to grow food, delivery drivers and shop workers who kept working despite the challenges they have faced. Help us to value and support each other. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Creator God, thank you for this food. Bless those who have produced and prepared it. Help us to enjoy it and learn to share it. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Blessings, Rev’d Karen

Christ Centered...Kingdom Focused