"We are a non-agricultural community." I've heard it said a couple of times this weekend. It means we get our food from the supermarket rather than the village market. Supermarkets source from everywhere - so we lose track of the seasonal link to our food. We lose track of the other links too - such as the need for bees to pollinate so many crops. We are fortunate enough to only rarely suffer shortages. What can we do for a 'Harvest' celebration - what does it even mean? The traditional offering of fresh produce has been largely eliminated by quality concerns - in the name of health and safety. Making an offering of supermarket produce always seemed a bit strange, although we have done that too. In recent years we have encouraged people to sponsor goats in third world countries and other similar schemes.
This year though it was different. This year we held a scarecrow making contest. We invited anyone to make and submit a scarecrow. There was a time to make them on Saturday, and at the barn dance on Saturday evening they were in church for people to look at them. Each scarecrow comes with a description of what it's about. Scarecrows, in the wild, are rare now. Instead we occasionally hear the loud booms of the 'bird scarers', even they don't seem to have a great effect on removing the birds. Scarecrows are still a common image though, so it it a clever idea.
The scarecrows and the barn dance help us and some of our friends to celebrate God's goodness to us, something we don't do as much as we should. Perhaps it also helps us to realise that although the harvest is plentiful, the workers are few.