Autumn is in words the words of John Keats a season of "mists and mellow fruitfulness”. It is a beautiful time of year. Leaves on the trees turn from luscious green to shades of golden brown. Farmers gather in the wheat harvest. Apples ripen to the core. The last of the carrots, potatoes and onions are ready for picking. Every year the earth produces a rich variety of tasty and nutritious foods for us to eat.
Wouldn't it be boring if we had to exist on some kind of vitamin-laden porridge that always tasted the same? The fact that food is pleasurable to eat as well as beneficial to our bodies is testimony to the goodness of our Creator. He did not make us simply to exist, but to enjoy life in the world he made.
Yet people seldom reflect on the fact that “all good gifts around us are sent from heaven above”. I wonder how many readers of this magazine pause to give thanks to God for their food before eating? One of the reasons why churches hold special Harvest Services is to remind us that all the good things that we have and enjoy are God’s gifts to us. They aren't ours by right. He gives simply because he is kind.
The fact that some people have more than enough and others struggle to keep body and soul together isn't due to a global lack of food. There is always plenty to go round. The problem is often man’s greed and corruption. That is why aid supplies are sometimes prevented from getting through to those who need them most. Christian aid agencies such as Tear Fund work with local partners to help ensure that the needy don’t have to go without life’s essentials.
We live in a world of extraordinary beauty that is also marked by injustice and cruelty. But God has not abandoned us. He continues to provide for our bodily needs. He has also acted to deal with the problem of sin that separates us from him. That is why he sent his Son, the Lord Jesus Christ into the world. He came to die for our sins so that we might be forgiven and reconciled to God. Jesus is God’s best gift to us. He is the bread of God who came down from heaven to give life to the world. Those who feed on him by faith will have everlasting life.
See our church website for the times of our Harvest Thanksgiving Services.
* For October's News & Views, West Lavington parish magazine