(October 21, 2021) Brian Bell reflects …
As Moses approached the end of his earthly life, he reminded God’s people about the festival of harvest (Deuteronomy 16:10) which was one of the three festivals they were to celebrate each year. These festivals were an opportunity for God’s people to reflect, remember and recognise the Lord’s blessing on them.
Here in Northern Ireland, ‘Harvest Sunday’ is for the most part, still a fairly traditional celebration, usually in the colder, wetter, and darker months of September and October and held especially for folk in our farming/agricultural communities.
Last Sunday, October 17, we celebrated harvest in my home church and while we would not be described as being folk who live in a designated farming/agricultural community, some of our folk do come from such backgrounds. The church sanctuary was therefore modestly yet tastefully decorated and as I looked at the various displays they reminded me not only of the harvest of creation – fruit, vegetables, and such, but also of the harvest of salvation.
For me, the harvest of creation can be seen in the words of David J Mansell’s song Jesus is Lord which say, ‘Jesus is Lord, creation’s voice proclaims it, for by his power, each tree and flower was planned and made.’
Creation is God’s handiwork – but he has given us a fairly significant role in managing it and we see this in the rewards as we reap what is sown.
The harvest of salvation is also God’s handiwork. As the good seed of God’s word is sown, the Holy Spirit can lead people into a saving experience and he reaps a harvest of those who respond in faith.
This theme of reflection is also found in Jeremiah chapter 8, from which I will share some brief thoughts…(more…)