… for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” (Galatians 6:9)
Some people might say that holding a Harvest Festival service is an outdated thing for us to do, particularly in this modern world when we don’t really think too much about where our food comes from and just go to the supermarket expecting it to all be there waiting for us to choose whatever we like to eat!
For many of us it will have been a long time since we ploughed a field or scattered the good seed on the land? So maybe Harvest Festival has just become a meaningless tradition?
I don’t agree. It is an opportunity for us to think about our social responsibility to those who do not have access to food like we do. It’s also an opportunity for us to think about it as a celebration of ‘creation’ and the amazing world in which we live.
If we consider this months’ value of simplicity the value of a Harvest Festival is clear. Let’s take a carrot as an example: just a simple, humble carrot…I think we all agree that it’s fairly straightforward! Yet a carrot is actually both complex and simple.
- Our scientists will tell us that the biological make-up of a carrot is incredibly complex. I won’t bore you with the detail – you can Google it like I did and read about the chemical makeup of a carrot including moisture, protein, fat, carbohydrate, fibre, zinc, carotenes, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, Vitamin C, cellulose, lignin and a whole lot more. But more than just the biological make-up, there is a complexity about a carrot because it contains within it the wind, the rain, the sun, the breath of 10,000 people, the air of all the continents that made it. So in fact Iyou could say that the whole universe is contained within a single carrot: it is so complex.
- And yet it is so simple too. There is no need for explanation with a carrot. You don’t even have to cook it to enjoy it! We look at a carrot and we love it in its simplicity.
- And I think the same is true of people too. We are so complex; not just in our biological make up – bones, skin, blood, organs…. but in terms of our minds too. Just like a carrot contains a universe within itself, so we contain within us the sum total of all our experiences, all those relationships that have made us what we are.
And yet we are so simple too. We are social animals and naturally we care about each other. We love each other for who we are – we don’t need to think about our complex make up to do that. Each one of is called to love who we see in front of us in all their simplicity and complexity.
So as we consider all the wonderful Harvest produce donated to the Maldon Food Pantry by Heathcote families today, we see a symbolic representation of who we are as a community: a whole world of complex individuals in a simple hall, celebrating one of the simple most basic things in life – food. And knowing we can help our community by caring enough to help others. We may not know their complexities but we understand their simple needs… and that is simple enough.