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United Reform Baptist Church . Lichfield
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He is risen

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One of the good things about the restrictions of the past few months has been the reduced amount of traffic on the roads. In recent weeks, things have started to return to the kinds of level they were before the pandemic, but for most of the time the lanes around Lichfield have been much quieter and it has been a joy to exercise regularly on my bike.

Recently, though, a new issue suddenly arose. Sauntering along the winding lanes of Staffordshire, Derbyshire and Warwickshire, the unsuspecting cyclist would regularly be confronted by tractors (aren't they huge these days?) and other agricultural machinery moving between the fields and farmyards. It's harvest time again.

As I've commented elsewhere, the pandemic has put paid to all kinds of regular activities by which we calibrate our calendars - festivals, concerts, sporting events, holidays and so on - and it's easy to forget what time of year it is. Without those usual markers of the year's turning we find ourselves cut loose from the routines which normally give structure to our year. Occasional unseasonable weather has meant that not only do we not know which day of the week it is, but we have to stop and think about what season we're in. And with supermarkets drawing their supplies from all over the world, we no longer find the contents of the shelves determined by the availability of seasonal produce, which also used to give us a clue as to the time of year we were in.

The harvesting of crops reminds us, though, of the rhythm of nature and also of the reliability of God's provision for us. Whatever else may be whirling around us as a result of this year's global crisis, we can be sure that God will continue to provide us with food - at least in this part of the world - and we can thank him for it, as does the Psalmist in Psalm 65:9-13.

But as we rightly offer our thanks and praise to God for what we enjoy here, let us not forget those who - for all kinds of reasons - struggle to find food even when there is no world-wide virus to contend with. In our prayers at this time of year, let's acknowledge God's bounty, but also ask his forgiveness that our desire for more necessarily means that others will have less - and pray for a more equitable sharing of the earth's resources.

But don't just pray - resolve to do something about it. Consume less. Give more. Lobby those in power in both government and business. Visit the websites of such organisations as Tear Fund, Christian Aid and World Vision to find out exactly how you can be involved. And try to remember that the rest of the year, too - justice is for life, not just for harvest time.

Rev Ian Hayter

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Last updated: August 9th, 2020
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