Thursday, October 21, 2021

A Reflection by Rev Douglas Galbraith for Harvest Sunday 26th September 2021.

September 26, 2021 by  
Filed under Weekly Reflection


A Reflection for Harvest Sunday – 26th September 2021

Our house is in upheaval. Not just having new front windows put in looking on to Balbirnie Street, but my wife, Daphne, and I, are swopping offices / studies. She is taking the large one, I the smaller: How are the mighty fallen! But it means that books and furniture are piled up against walls, while the sitting room, which was the old doctor’s waiting room, is full of ironing boards and bedside tables. Don’t come visiting until 2022!

However, moving out of my study has forced me to go through all my papers, and I found a pile of old sermons and family services. One of the latter was for harvest in Strathkinness. It divided the harvest display into roots, shoots, and fruits.


Root crops are a food store for the real plant. The true purpose of a carrot is not to go with your boiled beef but to nourish the green plant above ground. We pull them up before they can finish their work.

What kind of crop are we? If we are like a root crop we will be a store of good things, of nourishment. There is goodness and strength in us to nourish our families, our town or village, and through that our country and our world.

But we can waste it, squander it, pull it up before any good can come from it. Each of us has a talent, a good point, a hope and a vision, but other things crowd in and stifle them, whether from outside us or from our own laziness.

Thankfully, our gifts and talents are strengthened and increased as we share them. Sharing what you have somehow makes it last longer, go further. It ought to be the other way round but it’s not. Love is the channel by which we nourish and are nourished by others.


Here are the leeks, the cabbages. Shoots are above ground. They take energy not just from their roots but from the light of the sun, and turn it into food.

What kind of crop are we? Like shoots we receive light, live by what we see, by following what other people do. But it’s terribly easy just to copy, to do the same things, to think the same thoughts, like wearing a borrowed garment. It’s much less trouble but it means we do not allow ourselves to grow for the better, to become more useful, to develop beauty of character, to learn how to love.

For us, it is not just the sunlight but the one who said, I am the Light of the World. He is the vine, we are the branches, the shoots.


A fruit is protection for the seed. Rather than to look attractive and appetising, its true purpose is to preserve the seeds of the next crop, to convey them to the best place to grow.

What kind of crop are we? Everyone wants to look good, to sound good, to be accepted and even admired. The easiest way to do this is by pretending, but what if we end up just being a big display? All the colour in the world doesn’t make a fruit crop. We have to be open to the light. Paul said: Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect (Romans 12:2).

Roots, shoots, and fruits. What kind of crop are we?

Prayer at harvest

from the worship book of the Church of Scotland

God of faithfulness,

your generous love supplies us

with the fruits of the earth in their seasons.

Give us grace to be thankful for your gifts,

to use them wisely,

and to share our plenty with others,

through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Common Order p.453

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