Harvest at a time such as this
This week’s reflection is by Andrea (Andy) Butler from St. Mary’s Conwy, and leads on from our weekend online worship video. Just how are we to reflect on harvest this year?
Yna dwedodd, “Gwyliwch eich hunain! Mae’r awydd i gael mwy a mwy o bethau yn beryglus. Dim faint o bethau sydd gynnoch chi sy’n rhoi bywyd go iawn i chi.” A dwedodd stori wrthyn nhw: “Roedd rhyw ddyn cyfoethog yn berchen tir, a chafodd gnwd arbennig o dda un cynhaeaf. ‘Does gen i ddim digon o le i storio’r cwbl,’ meddai. ‘Beth wna i?’ “‘Dw i’n gwybod! Tynnu’r hen ysguboriau i lawr, ac adeiladau rhai mwy yn eu lle! Bydd gen i ddigon o le i storio popeth wedyn. Yna bydda i’n gallu eistedd yn ôl a dweud wrtho i’n hun, “Mae gen i ddigon i bara am flynyddoedd lawer. Dw i’n mynd i ymlacio a mwynhau fy hun yn bwyta ac yn yfed.”’ “Ond dyma Duw yn dweud wrtho, ‘Y ffŵl dwl! Heno ydy’r noson rwyt ti’n mynd i farw. Pwy fydd yn cael y cwbl rwyt ti wedi’i gasglu i ti dy hun?’ “Ie, fel yna bydd hi ar bobl sy’n casglu cyfoeth iddyn nhw’u hunain ond sy’n dlawd mewn gwirionedd, am eu bod heb Dduw.”
Luc 12: 15-21
And he said to them, ‘Take care! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of possessions.’ Then he told them a parable: ‘The land of a rich man produced abundantly. And he thought to himself, “What should I do, for I have no place to store my crops?” Then he said, “I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.” But God said to him, “You fool! This very night your life is being demanded of you. And the things you have prepared, whose will they be?” So it is with those who store up treasures for themselves but are not rich towards God.’
Luke 12: 15-21
Andy Butler writes:
How long ago last year’s Harvest Festival seems to me! As usual the Church looked amazing, resplendent in floral displays, not so many home-grown fruit and vegetables as in days of old, but lots of produce for the Food Bank. A very worthwhile cause. This year is very different, as you may well have experienced, and perhaps seen in our weekend video! Some Christian Churches have been part of an ecumenical movement called ‘Seasons of Creation.’ This season starts on September 1st, the Day of Prayer for Creation, and ends on October 4th which is the Feast Day of St. Francis of Assisi, thought by many to be the patron Saint of Ecology. The theme this year was a Sabbath rest for creation. A contributor from South Africa, Dominique You, wrote, ‘We have recognised through this global pandemic that we need to to create a period of rest for the Earth and thus transform our way of living and being. We want to see a world that is beautiful for all its inhabitants.’
In the story of the rich fool, we see a man who was both selfish and complacent. He was doing well this man. In a world where many folk weren’t rich, he was. We get no hint that he wanted to share his bountiful crop. His vision was to tear down his old barns to build bigger ones and then rest and be merry! But God had other plans. Although we shouldn’t try and take away from the original meaning of this parable, this story of the complacent rich farmer makes me think of the complacent way we treat God’s world. Sir David Attenborough’s recent TV programme ‘Extinction the Facts’ was a real eye opener. Millions of species worldwide are heading towards extinction. Our treatment of the world in which we live is causing this disaster, which has consequences for us all.
At the start of this pandemic, after the initial hoarding of toilet rolls, we settled down into a different way of life. Daily walks gave us a new appreciation of nature, and gardens were tended with care. In fact many took to growing their own fruit and vegetables. Folk were friendly, even those we didn’t know. The importance of having nature in our lives had never been clearer. Many of us, living in our amazingly beautiful part of the world we call North Wales, were very blessed. The skies were blue, no vapours from aeroplanes, and the roads were quiet. The Orme goats went shopping in Llandudno, dolphins swam in the canals in Venice, an alligator visited a shopping centre in the USA. Bears, deer, lions and numerous other wild creatures ventured into built-up areas, while the world was in ‘lockdown’. I’m not trying to paint a Utopian view of lockdown. People were very ill, many died, many sacrifices were made, families couldn’t see loved ones in hospital, or go to their funerals. People were isolated, without even a hug to sustain them. Industries and businesses failed and many are facing an uncertain future as this destructive pandemic continues to rage. A grim situation. But throughout, the natural world sustained many and was a healing force for good. The fight is not over. Now we’re facing a second wave. How sad to hear that toilet rolls are again being hoarded. Litter is once more a blight. On the way home from Church I saw a discarded paper face mask in the verge. My first instinct was to clear it away so that the elastic ear loops couldn’t harm any creatures, but then I thought of the danger that it may have Covid-19 virus on it, so I left it.
I recently signed up to a RSPB campaign called ‘Revive our World’ and this extract is from the campaign: ‘In 2020, the importance of having nature in our lives has never been clearer, but the crisis facing nature is huge. So huge that our wellbeing, our economic future and our very survival depend on the choices we make now.’ God has indeed given us an amazing world. It’s a world with enough resources for everyone. We cannot be complacent or as greedy as the subject of our Bible passage. We all have a God-given duty to care for our beautiful world, especially at a time such as this.
Let us pray:
Show us how to change Lord,
show us how to do things well today,
so that others may not suffer.
Here and there,
now and in the future,
show us how to make our contribution.
As we change the way we live,
travel, make and consume,
distribute and sell,
use and reuse energy and products,
show us how to do simple things well in our home,
places of work and daily lives.
Show us how to protect the world you made,
in all its diversity and goodness,
from our carbon emissions,
global warming and climate change,
rising temperatures and sea levels,
the displacement of peoples,
harm and destruction.
Show us how and show us why,
so that alone and with others
our contribution will make a difference. Amen.
Robin Morrison (from “A Heart for Creation” Chris Polhill)
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