A lot of local churches celebrate harvest at this time of year, many over this weekend. Sheaves of wheat, apples galore, flowers in innumerable posies. And beside the local produce sit grapes, oranges, flowers that have been transported in from other parts of the world. The odd tin of fruit is stacked up in wicker baskets. The more adventurous might even include non-food stuffs in their harvest displays.
Harvest reminds us that we reap what we sow. If we plant well, and the weather comes, we can expect a good harvest. If we plant badly, we can expect to dig up the ground and take out the weeds before starting again.
Harvest reminds us that many are hungry and thirsty, many are poor, many are sick, many have no roof over their heads, and many are asking how to change their circumstances. If we have food or water, money, medicine, can provide shelter, or if we can share our expertise, then we should. That is our harvest gift. (And as well as looking internationally, we shouldn’t be surprised if we can find ways of sharing our harvest in our own neighbourhoods.)
If the world was a village of 100 people, what would it look like?
There are various versions circulating the web and blogosphere – probably all inaccurate, but probably all still providing sharp reminders of the diversity of the world, and our own relative comfort.
One version that seems to have put a little more care into the statistics is published by the folks at Miniature Earth, and comes in the form of a Flash presentation. If you have a couple of minutes, have a look. (I don’t have a working sound card at the moment, so I can’t vouch for the music that goes with the words and imagery!)
- The 100 person world village will have 12 Europeans mixing with 61 Asians, 13 Africans, 8 North Americans, 5 South Americans (including Caribbean) and 1 person from Oceania. Downtown Belfast it ain’t.
- 50 women, and 50 men.
- 33 Christians, 18 Muslims, 14 Hindus, 6 Buddhists and 13 worshipping other religions. 16 will be non-religious.
- 43 will live without basic sanitation. 13 will be hungry or malnourished. one 15-49 year old will have HIV/AIDS
- 6 people in the village will own 59% of the entire wealth of the community.
- 14 won’t be able to read, and only 7 will have been educated to secondary level.
- 12 have a computer, and 3 have an internet connection.