Thank the Lord for all his love

At this time of year many churches and schools hold Harvest Festival services. It is good to give thanks for another year when God has provided for our needs. Because of the dry weather in the UK crops have been less than normal but the weather has been good for harvesting so the combine harvesters started work early.

We can, therefore, again sing, “We plough the fields and scatter the good seed on the land, but it is fed and watered by God’s almighty hand; he sends the snow in winter, the warmth to swell the grain, the breezes, and the sunshine and soft refreshing rain. We thank you, then, O Father, for all things bright and good, the seedtime and the harvest, our life, our health, our food: accept the gifts we offer for all your love imparts; and that which you most desire, our humble, thankful hearts. All good gifts around us are sent from heaven above, then thank the Lord, O thank the Lord for all his love.”

But at the same time we are conscious that in other parts of the world many people don’t have enough food to eat. The World Food Programme estimates that 828 million people go to bed hungry every night and 345 million people are facing acute food insecurity. A combination of factors has caused this hunger crisis. 60% of the world’s hungry live in areas of war and violence, including Ukraine. Climate change is destroying people’s ability to feed themselves. The economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic are still being felt around the world. Yet there is enough food to feed everyone but the price of the food and the logistics to transport it means that many people are hungry while others have plenty.

How can we respond to the needs of those who are don’t have the food they need? God commands us “to love our neighbour as we love ourselves” and Jesus said, “In everything, do to others what you would have them do to you.” When we go shopping each week, we can contribute to the local Food Bank. We can send financial gifts to humanitarian charities. We can pray for hungry people around the world. Some years ago, Christians in South Korea sent food to starving people in North Korea and put on the sacks the simple words, “With love from Jesus.” Even though most people who received the food had never heard of Jesus they were comforted in knowing that someone loved them.

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