Reverend: 'Gratitude is surprisingly powerful as we celebrate Harvest Festival'

Food bank use has tripled in Brent over the summer. Picture: Andy Buchanan/PA

Harvest Festival celebrations normally involves donating tins to a food bank - Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

This week is the traditional Harvest Festival, where villages would come together to thank God for the food they had harvested before the winter came.

Living in a big city, we barely notice the old rhythms of the year.

Today, if we engage with it at all, it’s normally buying a couple of extra cans of vegetables from the grocery aisle and donating them to the food bank.

But the message of the Harvest Festival is just as important for us now and then: choosing gratitude for the gifts we have received.

Rev Thom Jee asks what lockdown has taught us.

Rev Thom Jee says the message of Harvest festival is just as important today - Credit: Rev Thom Jee

Christians call this "common grace" – for the sun's warmth, the air we breathe, the food we eat, the beauty of nature, the relationships around us.

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Even the gift of life itself: these are gifts given to all, whatever our story or background.

Most of all, Jesus taught that we can be grateful for the undeserved love of God.

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He doesn’t play favourites; he has created us all equal and offers us all free forgiveness and the possibility of receiving his peace and presence in our lives.

And he went beyond words: Jesus laid down his life in our place that we might all know God’s love.

Every morning, I’m reminded of all I have to be grateful for, the little things and the big. And seeing the love and kindness God has shown us in Jesus inspires us to go and do the same.

At harvest, we express that gratitude by giving gifts of food to those who may not have enough. And we discover again by experience the truth of something else that Jesus says – that it is more blessed to give than to receive.

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