Walsall Advertiser Living Faith Column: Thursday 4 October 2012
It is the time of year when churches across the country are holding special harvest festival services. When people grew all their own food, a good harvest meant that they were not going to starve during the winter, and this was something to celebrate. Nowadays most of us get our food from the supermarket, but it is still important to thank God for all the good things we enjoy. Harvest is also traditionally a time when we remember those who are less fortunate than ourselves.
Farmer walking through waterlogged field
2012 has been a particularly difficult year for farmers. The wet summer in the UK and drought in the USA has resulted in poor harvests and has pushed up the price of food. This is having a real impact on many people within our own community.
Black Country Food Bank
The Black Country Food Bank which provides free food to vulnerable people has seen a 45% increase in demand since last year, as more and more people struggle to make ends meet.
Compared to many people in the world, we are incredibly wealthy
But whilst things are tough for many people here in the UK, things are even harder for people living in the poorest countries of the world. Nearly half the world’s population live on less than $2.50 a day, and each day 16,000 children die from hunger related conditions.
In the Bible we are reminded about what matters most to God. In Psalm 82 we are called to: ‘Defend the cause of the weak and fatherless; maintain the rights of the poor and oppressed rescue the weak and needy." And the prophet Micah writes: ‘What does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.’ Jesus summed these commands up when he said we are to love our neighbour as ourselves.
Churches donate food & other goods to help support people who would otherwise struggle
It is for this reason that throughout the year, and not only at harvest churches donate food, clothes and other essential items to organisations helping to support people who are struggling financially. It is also why many churches give financial support to aid agencies working in some of the poorest countries of the world to eradicate hunger and poverty.
This harvest, let us take time to count our blessings and to thank God for them, and also commit ourselves to pray and support people at home and abroad who are not as fortunate as we are.