This is the well known ‘how do you spell harvest’ talk that I used this morning at the Oak Lodge School Harvest Festival this morning:
Introduction – Harvest
Could I please have 7 volunteers. [Give each volunteer one of the cards showing a letter from the word HARVEST.] Help them get into the correct order so that the letters spell the word “harvest”.
When they are in the correct order … Harvest time is about the EARTH. Arrange the volunteers so that the letters spell EARTH – get the 2 spare volunteers to stand at the side.
Harvest time is about celebrating all the good things the earth provides for us. Next time you go shopping to, maybe Sainsbury’s or Tesco with your mum or dad, have a look at all the different kinds of food you can buy and the different countries they come from. You’ll see that there is stuff from all over the world.
Some of it you will probably have seen lots of times before, but some of it might be quite unusual. Show the pieces of fruit, one at a time and ask if anybody can guess what each piece is called.
I think it is so amazing that there is such a massive variety of food in the world – there are so many different kinds. And in fact, there is enough to feed the whole world, twice over! That means, with all the food there is in the world, we could feed every single person, and then that same amount of people all over again.
Move the volunteers around again, to spell the word STARVE.
In spite of the fact that there is so much food in the world, there are people in the world who are starving. And this is not just a few people here and there, it is millions of people.
Arrange the volunteers so that the letters spell SHARE.
The reason there are so many starving people in the world is because what we have is not shared out fairly.
If I had a bag of sweets, how would you feel if I gave these sweets to just one class in the school? I think everybody else would think I had been very unfair – do you all agree?
I’d like you all to think about what you think will have to happen for all the unfairness to be put right.
Arrange the volunteers so that the letters spell the word HEART.
I think that for people to be willing to share so that everyone in the world has all they need there needs to be a big change of heart. But I also believe that that starts right here, with you and me.
I’m going to read a short story from the Bible. It is a story that Jesus told about a rich man, and a poor man called Lazarus:
19 Jesus said, “There was a rich man who always dressed in the finest clothes and lived in luxury every day.20 And a very poor man named Lazarus, whose body was covered with sores, was laid at the rich man’s gate.21 He wanted to eat only the small pieces of food that fell from the rich man’s table. And the dogs would come and lick his sores.
22 Later, Lazarus died, and the angels carried him to the arms of Abraham. The rich man died, too, and was buried.23 In the place of the dead, he was in much pain. The rich man saw Abraham far away with Lazarus at his side.24 He called, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me! Send Lazarus to dip his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am suffering in this fire!’25 But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember when you were alive you had the good things in life, but bad things happened to Lazarus. Now he is comforted here, and you are suffering.26 Besides, there is a big pit between you and us, so no one can cross over to you, and no one can leave there and come here.’
27 The rich man said, ‘Father, then please send Lazarus to my father’s house.28 I have five brothers, and Lazarus could warn them so that they will not come to this place of pain.’29 But Abraham said, ‘They have the law of Moses and the writings of the prophets; let them learn from them.’30 The rich man said, ‘No, father Abraham! If someone goes to them from the dead, they would believe and change their hearts and lives.’ 31 But Abraham said to him, ‘If they will not listen to Moses and the prophets, they will not listen to someone who comes back from the dead.’ ”
In the story, Lazarus sat each day at the gate of the rich man, begging.
In the story, they both died. The poor man went to heaven but the rich man didn’t. The point of the story wasn’t that the rich man was to blame for the poor man’s state, but he ignored him and did nothing to help.
It is so easy to think we can’t do anything. After all, the poor and the starving seem to be too far away for us to make a difference.
But, we can do something – we can help and support the organisations and people who work with the poor and needy and we can change our hearts.
As a Christian I believe that we can and should ask God to change our hearts and we can do that right now so that we are more willing to share and help those around us now.
I now want to finish with a prayer. If you agree with what I have said, say “Amen” with me.