For the second event in our Gilling lecture series in July, we heard the Dean of Chapel, Revd Dr Michael Banner, speak on the current crisis of humanitarianism, which, in short, comes down to our relationships with one another, and especially how we aid those in serious and particular need. Michael spoke of the responsibility of the Church to articulate a vision for society, the world, and the whole of humanity, which seems to be in desperate need of one today. What will inspire us to care for one another, for the people and communities we don’t see – for those on the other side on the world, for those in prisons, for the elderly, for refugees? We found ourselves again discerning a similar message as from the first in our series of talks, given by John Ashton. He spoke of the need to love one another, for love has far reaching consequences, and can lead to a whole step change of how we will relate to those we consider different or other. And this was in the context of climate change.
September begins with a focus on creation and the environment, and in the context of harvest festival celebrations, this makes a lot of sense. Michael spoke about having a vision, a vision that inspires the whole of humanity. Our harvest celebrations and appreciation of ‘God’s blessed earth’ in the environment can be a lens through which we see God’s vision for all his people and creation – blessing, abundance, and fruitfulness. In the harvest, we see God’s vision, in walking alongside a friend in bereavement, we see God’s vision, in witnessing the birth of a child, we see God’s vision. God’s vision can be seen all around us, in moments we all experience every day in ordinary things and events. September is also a time when lots of things begin again, which can also be a sign of the harvest – nourishment for the journey, food for new activity. At harvest time, we can also reflect on what is gathered in, and what this will nourish next; that is, what is the harvest of our own lives and where is this taking us, what kinds of lives are we leading? And here again, we should see God’s vision.
For all the harvest, Lord, we give you thanks, and we ask for your blessing on all local people who work on the land.