On Sunday, as October looked its loveliest, we held the Harvest Festival service at Christ Church. We sang the favourite Harvest hymns and the Fairwarp Few performed the old folk song ‘John Barleycorn’. This was an all-age service, and there was a cross-section of the community: the youngest person was two-and-a half; the oldest in her nineties. The Harvest Bible readings – read by a pupil now at the Bennett Memorial, where I was Head way back - were a powerful reminder of what we have to do if we want the world to survive sustainably beyond our own lifetime.
St Paul, in his first letter to Timothy, a friend and leader in the early Church, (1 Timothy 6:6-10) highlights the importance of being content, knowing that we have enough: ‘for we brought nothing into the world and we can take nothing out of it ….’ That down-to-earth, even brutal realisation surely has to make us stop and question the importance of all the stuff we surround ourselves with, and all the effort we put into getting it. ‘The love of money is the root of all kinds of evil’, says Paul. And whether it is greedy international corporations, or grasping individuals, the passion for getting more is fuelled at root by ‘the love of money’. Not that money is intrinsically evil, though: it’s a necessity unless we want to return to a society based on barter! It’s clear too from the Harvest Gospel (Matthew 6: 25-33) that Jesus taught us to beware of getting caught up in the anxious struggle for more and better things: ‘… do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?’ The Gospel priority is contentment, not covetousness. Wanting what we do not have – when we already have enough – will distort and disfigure our human lives. Only with a return to contentment can we hope to save the world from the disastrous consequences of greed and over-consumption.
Floral arrangements from Sunday 3 October 2021