Harvest and Hope

Published by Giles Goddard on Wed, 23 Sep 2015 18:50
Vicar's Blog

Many people have a favourite psalm...  mine's Psalm 139.  It's been much in my head this week.  It feels extremely contemporary, with a deep understanding of the depth and breadth of the Self, and our relation to the love of God.  The opening reads: 

O Lord, you have searched me out and known me; •
   

you know my sitting down and my rising up;
      you discern my thoughts from afar. 

My favourite verse is:  

If I take the wings of the morning •
    and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
   
  Even there your hand shall lead me, •
   

your right hand hold me fast

It speaks to me of the fundamental connectivity of the whole world. Everything is equally important - everything is held in the hand of love, wherever it is, wherever we are. I love the image of flying on the wings of the morning, and dwelling in the uttermost parts of the sea. It makes me think of this extraordinary world of which we are part.  It connects me to the idea of harvest. 

We are keeping Harvest Sunday this Sunday – when we give thanks for the abundance of creation. Its richness, its fecundity.  There is, in fact, plenty, in the world. There is enough for everyone to be satisfied. Across the world about 1/3 of ALL food is thrown away each year - enough to feed everyone in need.  Poor farming practices in Africa, overused land elsewhere ... all that means that people go hungry. They don’t need to, and if we ordered the world better they wouldn’t. 

So harvest connects to poverty.  And poverty connects to displacement – war, in so many cases, is a function of poverty. I read an article recently which places part of the responsibility for the Syrian crisis on the way land has become less productive in recent years, and certainly the troubles in Southern Sudan and Darfur are related to inadequate land and insufficient water. People try to take other peoples' land so that they have enough to eat, That connects to migration, and refugees.  Which connects to Harvest, especially this year, because this year we are supporting the Harvest for Hope initiative of South Bank Churches, which will send food and clothing and money and volunteers to where they are needed to support refugees and migrants.   

And all of this connects to development, to poverty reduction, and of course to climate change.  The Pope is on his way to New York, for the conference on Sustainable Development Goals, which could transform the world by 2030. He has just spoken at the White House

“It seems clear to me also that climate change is a problem which can no longer be left to a future generation,” he said  “We know by faith that the Creator does not abandon us; he never forsakes his loving plan or repents of having created us. Humanity still has the ability to work together in building our common home.” 

Everything connects in the great web which is the universe, which we also call Creation. And we, here, at St John's and St Andrew's, are part of that creation. So let's play our part, knowing that 

If I take the wings of the morning •
    and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
   
Even there your hand shall lead me, •
    your right hand hold me fast
   
Image credits: