Harvest / Sukkot


mobile-phone photo, Anna Wright

Last Sunday we held an all-age harvest celebration for morning worship. Truth is, harvest festivals are not what they used to be and in urban environments they can be distinctly out of place. Still, with issues of food production and food security high on the agenda these days, harvest provides all kinds of possibilities for worship and reflection.

On Sunday, I combined Christian harvest themes with some of those of the Jewish (and biblical) festival of Sukkot. The date of our harvest celebrations does not always coincide with the Jewish holiday but this year it did. Our Jewish neighbours are celebrating Sukkot right now, so I drew on some of the themes that form the basis of both celebrations.

We built a (very non-kosher) sukkah inside the sanctuary. (I know, the whole point is to build sukkot outside but this was the only way I could introduce the theme to a Christian group meeting indoors.) Then we brought our harvest gifts and displayed them in the sukkah.  The gifts, of course, are then donated to local charities. We also took up our offering for the Seeds of Hope harvest appeal for the work of BMS World Mission.

Christians recount that it was during the Festival of Sukkot that Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life” (John 8.12).

If you would like to learn more about Sukkot there is plenty of information on the net. You might try Hebrew for Christians, Judaism 101 or, a favourite of mine, Rachel Barenblat’s blog — the Velveteen Rabbi.

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