It was recently reported that Ipswich, in the centre of the nation’s bread basket, is the top port in the country for farming exports, including grain.
This year the harvest has been challenging due the poor and uncertain weather, which lead to delays. It is a rewarding but tough season, with farmers putting in long hours of intensive work. However, the quality of the corn remains good.
Harvest is a special time in the farming calendar, the culmination of the year’s work. Traditionally communities have celebrated “harvest home” with feasts, jollity and church services. Sadly, attendance at the latter has seriously declined but we will be celebrating and giving thanks to God on the last weekend of the month.
When Jesus was on earth reaping was done by hand and was a communal act as described in the book of Ruth in the Bible.
On one occasion Jesus drew the attention of His followers to the ripe fields which were waiting to be cut. “Look at the fields”, He said, “they are ready for harvesting.” (John 4:35). He was sending them out to the towns and villages with the message that He was coming. (Luke 10:1-3)
If we read on in that chapter in John’s gospel we see that as they were commissioned, so are we. We are sent out to bring others safely in to the Christian “barns.” It is demanding and hard work and often we are lazy and ignore the call. We prefer not to see the harvest which is all around us in the lives of people living in our vicinity. We do not have to try to do this on our own. An old hymn reminds “the few reapers in the whitened harvest, that even if they feel feeble and faint if they wait on the Lord they can renew their strength and not become weary because God gives strength” (Isaiah 40:28-31)
Let’s get harvesting!