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One of the possible Harvest Festival readings is buried deep in the apparently obscure laws in the Old Testament (in Leviticus 19): "When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap your field to its very borders, neither shall you gather the gleanings after your harvest. And you shall not strip your vineyard bare, neither shall you gather the fallen grapes of your vineyard; you shall leave them for the poor and the alien." An accurate modern translation giving the meaning word for word might be: “those on benefits and those seeking asylum must not be forgotten as we maximise our productivity and our profits.” Put like that, we realise how deeply political much of the moral teaching which has been around for Jewish and then Christian people for thousands of years appears to be. Whenever we celebrate Harvest we need to keep a sense that the stewardship of that harvest has always been a vital part of committed Christian living. In 2008, we gave a lot of publicity to the Lincolnshire churches’ new Environmental Framework for Action. We also highlighted our practical support for Doorstep and for the Grimsby Community Larder. These may be the sorts of things which Harvest Festivals are really meant to be about.
Canon Peter Mullins

Harvest Politics