Thought for the week – Rev David Jones

Harvest thanksgiving services are often held at this time of year. There was a time when churches and chapels would be decorated with fruit, flowers and vegetables with a harvest loaf taking pride of place. That tradition is now well in decline and it is far more likely to see an abundance of tinned food and non-perishable foodstuffs for the local Foodbanks along with appeals to support overseas agencies who seek to alleviate world hunger. We are also reminded during this season of harvest that the Bible calls to be ‘good stewards’ of God’s creation and to be ever aware that concerns for the environment and global warming are met not with derision but with actions that will secure the future of the planet.

Last weekend the ‘Great British Beach Clean’ was held. Agricultural and urban run-off, storm waters, misconnected plumbing and discarded plastic often end up in the seas. Our passion for plastic is leaving litter on our beaches that is a real danger for wildlife. While the levy on plastic bags has helped they still remain a deadly threat to birds and other marine life when they are carelessly discarded. That’s why volunteers from all over the UK did a great job in clearing debris from beaches the length and breadth of the country and will be keeping an eye on their designated beaches all through the year – that is truly in the spirit of harvest when such care for the environment becomes so practical and effective.

From our childhood, we are taught to say ‘thank you’ and to express gratitude when we are shown kindness or given help. It seems right then that we thank God for his constant love and care. This world, the vastness of universe, the times and changing seasons, from the warmth of summer to the chilling cold of winter all affirm the process of nature that God has given for our good. Much more is his love of people – especially the poor and downtrodden. If this harvest we can extend the hand of love and friendship to those in need in our community together with those who live in abject poverty on the other side of the world the purpose of this time of thanksgiving will be truly meaningful. When like those beach cleaners we can do what we can and go that extra mile and modify our lifestyles for the sake of the planet then the message of harvest will have found a place in our hearts and the world will, indeed, be a better place.

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