Spiritual Life: Famine still a reality for too many


- Credit: Archant

As we sang a familiar Harvest hymn in church last week, it suddenly struck me that those old words reflected a time when life was much more precarious than it is for us today.

“All is safely gathered in; ere the winter storms begin”. Harvest was a time of relief!

The food had been gathered in time; the potential disaster of an early storm averted.

Winter hardship because of a ruined crop was a reality for our forebears, but is no longer the case for us. Industrialised farming, food preservation technologies, and relatively cheap international transport mean that, even if there was a bad summer here, we would not go hungry.

Bolstered by our advances, and near the top of the economic food chain, we rarely experience the sense of relief over our needs being met.

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Naturally, we can start to take such provision for granted. This has a number of serious consequences. Firstly, we don’t recognise the responsibility inherent in having so much. If we are so blessed, it is incumbent on us to care for the needs of others, because, sadly, famine and hardship remain daily realities for too many in our world.

Secondly, we miss the relationship to which harvest points. The joy of gifts given is ultimately meant to introduce us to the Giver himself.

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And lastly, because we do not know the Giver, ironically, we who have so much can remain just as worried and anxious about having enough as people who genuinely wonder where their next meal will come from.

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