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Harvest season...

Reflections on harvest from Hope Nottingham's Bookkeeper, Andy Thomas

As we are in Harvest Season – with donations coming through the door, I was thinking about seasons and how this might relate to HOPE.

Harvest is a time of thanksgiving – the church has always held Harvest Services and given thanks to God for the harvest – given thanks for bringing his people through another year and blessing them.

As we read in Psalm 65, verses 8-13:

The whole earth is filled with awe at your wonders;     where morning dawns, where evening fades,     you call forth songs of joy.

You care for the land and water it;     you enrich it abundantly. The streams of God are filled with water     to provide the people with grain,     for so you have ordained it.[d] You drench its furrows and level its ridges;     you soften it with showers and bless its crops. You crown the year with your bounty,     and your carts overflow with abundance. The grasslands of the wilderness overflow;     the hills are clothed with gladness. The meadows are covered with flocks     and the valleys are mantled with grain;     they shout for joy and sing.

It is easy to thank God when you can see his provision – when things are going well – when the meadows are covered with flocks and the valleys mantled with grain – but this is just a season, we can’t have harvest every day – there is a time for everything. As it says in Ecclesiastes 3 (abridged):

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to tear down and a time to build a time to scatter and a time to gather a time to keep and a time to throw away.

And we are called to thank God at all times - from Philippians 4, verses 4-5:

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!  

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

After Harvest, the days become shorter – we have to get more creative on cooking community meals from the allotment and it can look like nothing is growing. However when nothing is being harvested and you can’t see anything growing, it does not mean that nothing is happening – in fact probably more is happening. God is still at work in the resting darkness – planting and watering, and unless you have that time there can’t be another Harvest. God is faithful and we must give praise and thanks in each and every situation.

Hope has gone through these times in the past – lots of food comes in at Harvest and Christmas but less so in other times. We have spent thousands on food with grants from the council but maybe not in the future – but in all this we thank and praise our God. We thank him for the past – for the past harvests, we thank him for the times of growing and maturing and we thank him for whatever he has planned for the future – because we know he is faithful and at work.

As we say in our annual report - we are now in our 13th year and entering ‘adolescence’. It requires much review, reflection and development to refine our activities, ensuring we are fit for the future. God will continue to bless us, will continue to provide all we need and bless the work we do – I’m absolutely sure of that. Things may look different sometimes, but God is always at work, planting, watering, growing and harvesting and He is always faithful.

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