No matter the hardship, there is always something to be thankful for, says Sheffield minister

Last week at my church, we celebrated Harvest Festival. At a time of huge social upheaval it was rather comforting to return to a familiar festival which is part of British heritage each autumn.

S6 Food Bank, Gilpin Street, Sheffield

The words of the most famous harvest hymn, which many of us will have sung at school over the years, also brought welcome perspective: “We plough the fields and scatter the good seed on the ground, but it is fed and watered by God’s almighty hand.”

However hard we work to provide for ourselves, or to partner with nature for crops and resources, there remains a bigger picture that God is always almighty.

In the 21st Century, our Urban Harvest offerings aren’t for pretty display. They are non-perishable and practical. We collected piles of tinned food, toiletries and cash.

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The Reverend Nick Allan

We gave to our local food bank. This year, more than ever before, Sheffield’s food bank network is busy helping to feed individuals and families in dire need, drawn from all sorts of walks of life.

Alongside food parcels they receive a kind word, a smiling face, the signs many people care about their predicament and don’t judge them for it.

That famous harvest hymn written in 1782 concludes with a rousing chorus, which remains poignant in 2020 as many in our city experience food poverty or looming unemployment.

“All good gifts around us are sent from heaven above, so thank the Lord for all his love.”

In the midst of hardship and uncertainty comes the call to count our blessings because there is always something to be thankful for.

Above all we may be grateful when love shines through.

Love looks like something.

Beyond a warm fuzzy feeling, love is an emotion which stirs us into positive action.

Food banks are love in action.

They are our society saying ‘this is not okay and I’m willing to do something about it’.

Every £20 can help feed a family for a week, every donation helps towards serving tens of thousands of parcels to people each year.

In our own struggles, let’s not forget to be thankful and serve others around us.

The Reverend Nick Allan is a minister at The Well Church, Ecclesall Road, Sharrow. See