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Urban Harvest

By Charlie Osewalt | 20 September 2013

Harvest - Kurt Mirjah, a London taxi driver

 

‘Harvesting is made satisfying by the company we keep...anything we say is heard by everyone, there is openness and jollity.’

So says Jim Croce in his Man Booker 2013 Shortlisted novel ‘Harvest.’ The word that repeats in this defining description is ‘we.’ Harvest is about community coming together to rejoice and share openly.

Before mechanisation, men began to harvest standing together in a common village field. As their scythes mowed, they sang a unified song in one raised voice. Women and children followed, a group gathering, another gleaning.  Relationships were cultivated with this work. Peoples were in rhythm, harmony as they moved through the soil and fields. Effort and persistence were important. Care of the soil was dear. Yet, community was the true harvest of that rustic rural time. It was about the ‘we,’ not the ‘I.’

Relationships among people are still the harvest of our modern 21st century time. Why? Because God sees people as His Harvest. 1 Corinthians 3:9 states that ‘… we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field.’  Where is this field, these people, this harvest today?


By 2014 the United Nations projects that for the first time in history more people will be living in cities than in rural areas. By 2040 three out of every five people will be living in an urban setting. What will Harvest look like to these people? Here is how it looks today: three of the five top rural countries in the world, Ethiopia, Malawi and Uganda have large urban population centres where over 90 % of the population live in extreme poverty (on less than 75p a day).  Their harvest is barren. What can be done?


Meet Kurt Mirjah, a London taxi driver.  One day a year he gives away a day’s income to families in despair around the world, partnering with a project called Raising Families in association with Samaritan's Purse. He gives from a precious resource, the produce of his own work time, to a needful community, to the ‘we’ of harvest. He gives in order to cultivate.
The Revised English Bible translates the fruit of the Spirit as ‘…the harvest of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, fidelity, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.’ As Kurt Mirjah gives, he receives the Spirit’s harvest. Caring for others, he himself is cultivated. Can you hear the harvest song? Give, and you will hear it.

Practical suggestions/questions:
Consider where your communities are – how can you give to help cultivate the harvest?
What are your precious resources?  How could you join with others to multiply them?

 

 

Posted by Charlie Osewalt

Charles Osewalt is a husband, father of four children and former elder at Redeemer Church NYC. He has worked in schools for the last twenty years as principal in the Morrisanna section of the Bronx. He formerly worked as a content and curriculum specialist for Stewardship. He tweets at @charlesosewalt

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