Food! Glorious Food!
Last Sunday (30th September) was Harvest Thanksgiving in both places of worship. Some people might think that odd – that city centre congregations could even relate to gathering in the harvest in the 21st century. Between the two churches there are two branches of Tesco, Farmfoods and Marks & Spencer, all of which are open long hours and characterised by well stocked shelves and cabinets. Does anyone push their trolley round and think about the Scottish farmer worrying how he’ll pay for animal feed (the dry summer hasn’t been good to the grass growing), the young Bulgarian woman picking our fruit, or the potato grower who didn’t get enough water on his crops? I don’t know.
What I do know is that because of this very question, the celebration of the harvest is even more important than it used to be, for we need a reminder of where our food comes from and who is responsible for producing it. And that’s without taking Brexit and its implications into the equation!
I wasn’t preaching at either service but arrived at the end. What I encountered was a flurry of purposeful activity, as members of all ages gathered up produce and flowers and tinned foods with a view to distributing them to people and places outside the walls of the sanctuary.
Imagine the expression of someone who opened their front door during Sunday lunchtime, to find a fellow Church member standing there, with a smile on their face and a basket of fruit or posy of flowers in their outstretched hands. ‘For you, from the Harvest Thanksgiving service.’ Imagine now the mirror image: the smile and outstretched hands of the recipient, in response to this unexpected gift.
Who doesn’t like to be remembered in this way? Who doesn’t like to be the bearer of good things?
And it goes further, for both congregations also embarked on the Kilombero Rice Challenge. See more at https://www.jts.co.uk/90kg-rice-challenge
But if you don’t want to investigate further, here it is in a nutshell: 90 people buy a kilogram bag of rice (from Malawi) and the proceeds enable the farmer to send one of his children to school for a year.
So, in one service, the congregations did something to help their own members who are unable to attend Church at present and something else to help a family in Africa.
On top of that, the Seekers (young people’s group) at St Andrew’s had asked everyone to ‘bring a tin’. Here is a carload ready for delivery at the Foodbank.