In this part of the country we’re probably more aware than some of the turning of the seasons of the year: especially spring and autumn, seedtime and harvest.
Lately we’ve been reconnecting with some of the old traditions: Rogation-tide, praying for the land, Lammas-tide, giving thanks for the first cut of wheat, the first loaf of bread. Last week there was an item on the farming programme about gleaning – an ancient system that allowed people to gather the crops left over after the reapers went through the fields.
And harvest thanksgiving. Bringing in the harvest has probably always been a time for celebration. Maybe especially in the days when you had to be more self-reliant, with not so many options for storing food for a long time or bringing produce from far away to make up any shortfall. If it had been a good harvest there’d be enough to see you through the winter. All that hard work had paid off. There might even be enough to spare and to share.
So harvest is also a time for sharing as well as celebrating. This year we’re planning to do that sharing by donating food to the Lincoln Community Larder.
The Larder was one of the first food banks to open in Lincoln. Its purpose is simple: to provide basic food for people in crisis.
People can’t just turn up at the door. Everyone needs a voucher, provided by a variety of local agencies (such as Age UK, the YMCA, Benefits Advice, Children’s Services or Health Visitors) who refer them to the Larder. They provide 3 days’ worth of food for each person included on the voucher.
The food they provide needs to be quick and easy to prepare – ordinary things like tinned fruit, rice pudding, tinned meats, UHT milk, breakfast cereals.
So you’re invited to this year’s Harvest Festival Songs of Praise at All Saints on Sunday 24 September at 4 pm. And you’re invited to bring a donation of food for the Lincoln Larder. Or if you can’t make it to the service, you could always leave your donation in church.
You can find more information about the Lincoln Larder on their web-site – some typical case studies of the people they help, other ways you could get involved.