In my school days we broke up for harvest holidays, not summer holidays, to help gather in the crops. A completion of a year's work from the ploughing, seed sowing and growth through to ripening. Whatever the weather there is a harvest to gather. An exciting time of the year.
The earth continues its cycle, with God's promise to Noah, "As long as the earth endures seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease."
In our churches we celebrate Harvest Festival during the months of September and October, although modern plant breeding is bringing actual harvest time earlier.
This celebration is steeped in the Old Testament history of bringing some of the first fruits – the best - to God. Coupled with this was the practice of leaving some of the crop in the fields for widows and others to glean – a lesson for us all to follow of sharing what we have with others.
Our Harvest Festival services feature favourite and traditional hymns like "We plough the fields and scatter".
This act of worship is important for Christians not associated with the harvest from the land, to connect with God's creation and offer gifts to him.
The process of reaching Harvest teaches us patience. It cannot be hurried. We plant the seed; conditions will affect its growth and end result. So much of this is outside our control. So we need Faith and Hope, giving thanks to God, for providing our earthly food and for the death and resurrection of His son Jesus who gives us new and lasting spiritual life.
We are each involved in a harvest. We read in Matthew's gospel the parable of the talents where one person buried his one talent while the other two invested theirs.
We need to use whatever "talent" God has given us. It might be money, knowledge or ability. One day we will give an account to God of the opportunities and the impact we have had. Let us use this talent now wisely; He will increase it so that our lives will glorify Him.
Column by Norfolk farmer and Methodist local preacher, Kevin Parfitt
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Rapeseed Field © Original Art Photography by Joe Lenton, 2013. This and many other images are available as prints. Please visit the Original Art Photography website for details: www.originalartphotography.co.uk