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What harvest tells us about justice

The Bible teaches that harvest – a time of thanksgiving – is also an opportunity to create a fairer world.

Written by Tearfund | 01 Oct 2021

What comes to mind when you think of harvest? Perhaps it is traditional harvest festivals, where food is brought before the altar and we sing of ‘all things bright and beautiful’. Perhaps it is gratitude for all the things that God has given us. Or maybe it makes you think of the disconnection in the modern world between people and the land.

But does it ever make you think of justice and equality?

Divine provision

In the Bible, we find that harvest and justice are closely linked. Specific provision is made in God’s law to ensure that harvest time is used to create a fairer, more equal society:

‘When you are harvesting in your field and you overlook a sheaf, do not go back to get it. Leave it for the foreigner, the fatherless and the widow...

‘When you beat the olives from your trees, do not go over the branches a second time. Leave what remains for the foreigner, the fatherless and the widow.

‘When you harvest the grapes in your vineyard, do not go over the vines again. Leave what remains for the foreigner, the fatherless and the widow.’ (Deuteronomy 24:19-22)

Sharing blessings

In Leviticus, similar instructions are given to leave a portion of the harvest for people living in poverty (Leviticus 19:9-10 and Leviticus 23:22).

The message is clear. We are blessed for a reason – to share that blessing with others. Abundance is an opportunity to create a fairer society, one in which the marginalised and oppressed are provided for.

God’s kingdom is one where no one has to go without – where all are provided for equally. Our job as the church is to help build this kingdom here and now.

Pray with us

Spend some time thinking about how you can use the gifts that you have been given to bless others, and join us in offering this harvest prayer to God:

Creator God,
We thank you for the gift that is creation –
For the beauty of the earth and how
you have created us to care for it.
We are sorry for the ways we have neglected this,
Help us to work together to repair the world.
Lord of the Harvest, hear our prayers.

Generous God,
We thank you for the gift of food –
For how it brings us together and nourishes us.
We pray for those without, whose harvests and
store cupboards are empty,
Help us work together to share the world’s resources
so that everyone can be fed.
Lord of the Harvest, hear our prayers.

Sustaining God,
We thank you for the gift of those who farm
and prepare our food –
For their labour, their innovation and their care.
We pray that everyone will be able to work with dignity,
that there will be no more poverty,
Help us work together to call for just and fair systems
of pay and working conditions.
Lord of the Harvest, hear our prayers.

All-powerful God,
We thank you for the gift that is creation –
For the beauty of the Earth and how
you have created us to care for it.
We are sorry for the ways we have neglected this,
Help us to work together to repair the world.
Lord of the Harvest, hear our prayers.
Amen.

Written by

Written by Tearfund

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