The Harvest Festival
The Lord said:
15 Seven weeks after you offer this bundle of grain, each family must bring another offering of new grain. 16Do this exactly 50 days later, which is the day following the seventh Sabbath. 17Bring two loaves of bread to be lifted up in dedication to me. Each loaf is to be made with yeast and with two kilograms of the finest flour from the first part of your harvest.
18At this same time, the entire community of Israel must bring seven lambs that are a year old, a young bull, and two rams. These animals must have nothing wrong with them, and they must be offered as a sacrifice to please me. You must also offer the proper grain and wine sacrifices with each animal. 19Offer a goat as a sacrifice for sin, and two rams a year old as a sacrifice to ask my blessing. 20The priest will lift up the rams together with the bread in dedication to me. These offerings are holy and are my gift to the priest. 21This is a day of celebration and worship, a time of rest from your work. You and your descendants must obey this law.
22 When you harvest your grain, always leave some of it standing around the edges of your fields and don't pick up what falls on the ground. Leave it for the poor and for those foreigners who live among you. I am the Lord your God!
The Festival of Trumpets
23The Lord told Moses 24-25to say to the people of Israel:
The first day of the seventh month must be a day of complete rest. Then at the sound of the trumpets, you will come together to worship and to offer sacrifices on the altar.
Christ has come and fulfilled the law – the festivals no longer need to be followed or obeyed. Yet they still speak of the importance of remembering and giving honour and saying thank you. Not only remembering and honouring God and thanking him for all he has done. But remembering the most lowly in addition to remembering the Most High – the poor – and bearing in mind the ones often most estranged and alienated, the immigrants to our country and our neighborhood.
In the midst of celebrating God and his goodness to us we are not to forget the poor and the newcomer, in this passage by making sure they have enough of what is left from the harvest for them to live on; in the present day, making sure they have enough of what is extra from the harvest of our wages to help them survive. By doing this we not only remember who God is, we remember who they are, persons made in his image, just like us. By honouring them in this way we also honour God, who loves them and has given his life for them, just as he has for us. When we thank God in this way, the poor and the stranger thank him too, in addition to thanking us, and we in turn thank them for being alive and being our brothers and sisters in the eyes of God. They are part of our celebration of the God life and loving them brings us closer to the God who loves us all.
Lord, in my celebration of you, may I never forget to celebrate all the people you have created, especially the poor and the stranger in my town and city and country. Help me to understand that to honour you is to honour them and that to remember them is to remember you. In Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.