In September, Hurricane Irma left a trail of destruction as it moved north over beautiful holiday islands in the North East Caribbean and into Florida. The power of the winds and the surges of water paid no respect to poverty or wealth, to lowly paid workers or people enjoying expensive holidays. Fear and helplessness travelled the same route as Irma.
In the aftermath, as individuals, families and authorities surveyed the destruction of property, crops and livelihood wondering how they were going to find help and survive, the government and world focus moved to the cost of recovery.
Meanwhile in Gloucestershire, the weather was mild and calm. Days with barely a hint of a breeze. Blackberries, plums and apples were ripe in abundance. Surplus yield of tomatoes and courgettes (or were they marrow) from local gardens were shared and contributed to the gifts of our harvest celebrations. As those affected by Hurricane Irma wept and worried, we gave thanks for the harvest.
Yet we did not limit our celebrations to a focus on our own bounty and contentment. We reflected on the importance of not hoarding our harvest riches for our own benefit. We collected food and toiletries for the Foodbank, a place of hope for those who struggle.
Through the sale of goods from our Traidcraft stall, we raised funds to support farmers and artisans in developing countries. The money we raised at our Harvest Supper was donated to the Vine project which funds the education of some young people in South Africa enabling them to realise the harvest of their personal giftings.
The Harvest Season in Church lasts from early September through to the end of October. Yet our commitment to sharing the fruitfulness of our own harvest, as individuals, community and nation must continue beyond that.
Let us commit to share not hoard our bountiful harvest beyond this season of mist and mellow fruitfulness.
‘I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full’ John 10.10