We plough the fields, and scatter the good seed on the land.
Or do we? Do we even know where our food comes from? Apart from Sainsbury’s, or Aldi? As for scattering, we have been using seed drills for over 300 years. That’s before that song was even written.
Even in rural areas harvest has changed. It used to take the whole community to bring in the harvest, harvesting an acre of wheat was labour intensive, the whole village would be involved in bringing the harvest in, now two combine harvesters and three tractors can do the work in a fraction of that time. That is progress.
Yet in our churches the language of our hymns, churches are still in a 19th century frame of mind — or even earlier.
Our church had its harvest festival over the weekend. Being near the centre of a large town we have little contact with the ploughing and scattering we sing about. So we concentrated instead on celebrating the goodness of God. We sang of ploughing and scattering but we did not show much of the traditional nostalgia for a time before the agricultural and industrial revolutions that have changed the way we live. Crop yealds per acre are far higher than they were. Even our harvest gifts were in line with the supermarket age: We were asked to bring tinned food to be donated to a charity.
We can always give thanks to God for his provision for us, whether we get our food from tilling the land or from Tesco.