These past few weeks have seen the news headlines dominated by stories of people’s lives being completely devastated and overwhelmed by the different natural disasters which have occurred throughout our world: The flooding in India, Bangladesh, Nepal and Texas; Hurricanes Irma and Maria which have swept across the Caribbean; and the earthquakes in Mexico. At least 1,200 people have lost their lives in Asia alone and millions have been left homeless.
When we see the pictures of these natural disasters on our T.V. screens, or read about them in the newspapers, our hearts go out to all those ordinary women, men and children, people like you and me, who have been caught up in events which are completely out of their control; who have lost so much and who are struggling to see any hope for their future. We are also reminded once more, of our common human frailty and vulnerability in the face of such huge forces of nature; and of the difficult and shameful fact that when faced with such forces, it is often the weakest, the poorest, the most marginalised in our world, who suffer the most.
Such an awareness provides us perhaps with a perspective from which to approach our Harvest celebrations for this year. In common with many churches and schools throughout the country, this time of year, as we enter into Autumn, marks the season for Harvest; and at Furzebank we will be holding our Harvest Festival Service on Sunday 8th October at 11.00 am.
Harvest is a festival in which we celebrate the beauty and wonder of creation; in which we give thanks to God for all the blessings and gifts we receive from our world; and in which we commit ourselves, once more, to being good stewards of our planet Earth – treasuring our environment and working for a just and fair distribution of all the world’s resources amongst all its peoples. It is also a festival in which we acknowledge that even in our 21st century technologically advanced society, we are not as in control as we like to think we are; that we are creatures who inhabit our planet alongside all the other wondrous and diverse creatures and species which God has made; that we owe our existence to each other and to our Creator; and that our lives are completely inter-dependent and reliant upon our relationships with the rest of the natural world.
That is why in our Harvest Festival at Furzebank, we will worship God and celebrate alongside one another; and we will also come bringing our own gifts of food to share with those people in our community who need it at this time – all donations given at our service will go to the Black Country Foodbank based at the Bridging the Gap Shop in Willenhall. Our ‘Black Country’ Harvest Supper Evening on Saturday 14th October will likewise be an evening of fun – singing and a fish and chip supper – but will also be an occasion for raising funds for the Bridging the Gap Shop itself – a reflection that Harvest is always about celebration AND sharing; about receiving AND giving.
For further details about our Harvest Service and Harvest Supper, please go onto our Facebook page – everyone is welcome as we give thanks to God for all God’s blessings and goodness; and as we seek to share those blessings with others. In the words of one of the Church of England’s prayers of blessing for Harvest:
May God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
who is the source of all goodness and growth,
pour his blessing upon all things created,
and upon you his children,
that you may use his gifts to the glory and the welfare of all peoples…

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