Mothers’ Union Devotion Sunday 3rd October 2021 Harvest Sunday
Since a new bakery opened in Cardiff Bay, I have spent rather more on bread than is reasonable. It is so much better than supermarket bread, although it does come with a price tag to match. Making such artisan bread is a labour of love and watching the process of traditional bread making reminds us of the importance of the wheat harvest. Our Harvest thanksgiving services are timed to correspond with the end of the wheat harvest, when all is safely gathered in. But we also have a tradition of other agricultural days of prayers such as Plough or Rogation Sundays. The whole process of agriculture from seed to table is one of life and death, renewal and transformation.
Indeed, as Medieval writers reflected, the life cycle of the grain used to make bread reflects the life, death and resurrection of Jesus who is the ever-present Bread of Life:
– The seed is sown just as Jesus was conceived in Mary by the Holy Spirit.
– The seed sprouts just as Jesus was born that first Christmas Morn.
– The plants grow, flower and ripen just as Jesus grew in stature, preached, taught and healed during his earthly life.
– The seed heads are mown down when they are ripe just as Jesus was arrested when the time was right.
– The seed heads are bound up into sheaves just as Jesus was bound when he was arrested.
– The seed is driven to the thrashing floor just as Jesus was mocked as he made his journey from garden to trial to prison.
– The seed is threshed and swept up with a broom just as Jesus was scourged.
– The seed grain is ground, so its potential for new life is destroyed just as Jesus was killed when he was nailed to the cross.
– The ground lifeless seed is thrust into the oven as raw dough until it is cooked just as Jesus’ body was placed in a tomb for three days.
– Finally, the seed emerges as fresh warm life-giving bread just as Jesus rose from the dead bringing new life into the world.
At each Eucharist service we offer bread, the work of human hands to become transformed into the body of Christ. Drawing all of us who participate into one single Christian community throughout the world. So, at this Harvest time as we say “Thank You Lord for providing us with all we need for our daily bread”, we also stand with outrage and compassion for our sisters and brothers throughout the world who are being cheated of their daily bread each and every day.
With all my love and prayers at this Harvest time.