Harvest, Justice and Climate

The Bible teaches that harvest - a time of thanksgiving - is also an opportunity to create a fairer world.  What comes to mind when we think of harvest?

Traditional harvest festivals, where food is brought to churches and to schools and distributed to those in need?    

Gratitude for God’s fruitful and colourful creation?

Or maybe it makes us more aware of the disconnection in much of the modern world between people and the land?

But does it ever make us 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, 19:9-10 and 23:22, similar instructions are given to leave a portion of the harvest for people living in poverty.

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!

How does COP26 fit in?

COP26 will be held in Glasgow from October 31st to November 12th. COP stands for Conference of the Parties and this, the 26th gathering, will draw together leaders from the 154 nations who signed the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change in 1994.

The key aims of this conference are:

1) To reduce carbon emissions significantly, in order to enable the goal of net zero to be reached by the middle of this century.
2) To make adaptations to protect communities and natural habitats.
3) To mobilise the finance needed to reach these goals.
4) To agree to collaborative action between governments, businesses and society.

So how do we pray?

We give thanks for the immense richness and beauty of God’s creation, the fruitfulness of His design and the mandate for care and He has given to humankind.

We lament, because our world and our neighbours are impacted unequally by climate change. In countries such as Ethiopia reduction in rainfall and rising temperatures mean severe shortages of food and water.

We join with others and pray together asking that we catch God’s heart for creation and that the local and global church will engage more fully with the climate crisis.  

How can we find out more?

Evangelical Alliance, Christian Aid and Tearfund are among the charities seeking to publicise the climate crisis by prayer and action:




Based on material from https://www.tearfund.org

- Catherine Horton

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