Full service including the sermon – Swords into plough blades
Land and faith in the Old Testament are inseparable and people understood their dependence on a good harvest blessed by God. The Gospels are full of allusion to agriculture and harvest and although early Christianity was arguably a faith of city people. The Christian Church has played a key role in reinforcing the connection between people and the land, particularly through harvest festivals, which really came into their own during the Victorian era. It is interesting that many harvest celebrations are nostalgically redolent of a blissful era of harvest-home that owes much to the author Thomas Hardy’s “Far from the Madding Crowd”.
However, most people no longer have any familial links with farming and folk memory is fading of the communal importance of local harvests. While NGOs focus our attention on the injustices associated with famine in many parts of the world, there is a significant failure in our modern society to link our knowledge and faith to our dependence upon the earth and the way in which the food arrives on our plates. Today, let’s make up our minds to redress that lack as we focus our attention on the real needs of those who farm God’s earth for us.