Since pagan times harvest festivals have been annual celebrations for successful harvests. They featured ample food and freedom from the necessity to work in the fields. The common features were eating, merriment, contests, music and romance. Christians adopted these festivals to give thanks to God our creator for God’s goodness in the harvest. Today we give thanks for our harvest that we have grown in our gardens, if we have one, and the harvest we are able to buy each day in the shops. We join with all God’s people continuing to give thanks for God’s provision.
Harvest festivals also provide a time to take stock. It is an occasion for us to confess that we too often are not satisfied and many in the West in particular are driven to have more. This has resulted in a significant percentage of humanity not having enough, living in constant hunger, debilitating poverty, all so that our desires might be met. The collapse of the building in Bangladesh is a stark reminder of the cost of our life of relative ease. Our greed has done lasting damage to many communities, and to our planet. Today provides a chance to take stock and work for another way.
Harvest festivals also provide a chance to join with creations song of praise to God our creator. Some of the great saints, including Francis, saw God’s goodness and love being declared through all creation, and sought to join in that declaration,.
Today we welcome Gracie, Holly and Clara by baptism into God’s church. In so doing we invite them to join us as we seek to see creation not as a means of meeting our needs and desires, but through God’s eyes, as a declaration of God’s love. We invite them to unite with us as we join Christ living God’s goodness in all we do and to all we meet. We invite them to join us as we seek to live lives satisfied with all God gives and no more, being generous to all and cherishing this world God has given us to live on.