Dearly beloved, it is our European heritage and noble Caribbean custom to gather together, as on this day, to give thanks to the Lord for his great goodness by offering before his altar the first fruits of the autumn harvest. Most truthfully did King David declare of old, “All things come from thee, O Lord, and of thine own have we given thee,” and by these tokens presented here today we acknowledge the Almighty God to be our sovereign Lord, and in gratitude we bind ourselves again in fealty to our Maker.

For our heavenly Father, the Giver of every good and perfect gift, established this principle at the creation of the world: “Whatsoever a man sows, that shall he also reap.” In great expectation and boundless love, God has sent forth his eternal Word and by the Breath of his mouth has sown his Light and Life into this terrestrial sphere, bringing forth earth and sky, winds and seas, mountains, valleys, deserts, rivers, plants and animals, and most finally, in his own image, men and women to give glory everywhere to his great Name. Freely has he given to us, and to him therefore we owe our free and heartfelt obedience, carrying humble thanks within our hearts and joyful praise upon our lips.

Moreover, just as the time of the Lord’s sowing will soon be finished, so also the hour of his final Harvest draws daily nearer. On that Day he shall send out his holy angels to sound the last trumpet and bring in his elect from the four corners of the earth. At that hour the dead shall be raised and sifted like grain, (as the Scripture says) the wicked to eternal condemnation but the righteous to eternal life. And God shall make all things new.

These things we steadfastly believe and boldly proclaim because from the Father has come one who is himself the First Fruits of that final Harvest: his only Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. The Apostle bears witness that “when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.” And after thus surrendering his mortal body to the hard soil of the burying ground, on the third day he rose victorious from death to reap his immortal reward. He sowed in weakness and frailty, but he harvested power and dominion. He sowed in dishonour and shame, but he harvested glory and splendour. And as a single grain of wheat will, if it dies, bear much fruit, so if we follow him, we too will be where he himself is, and become like him in his life-giving glory.

Therefore, in sure and certain hope of the resurrection of the dead through our Lord Jesus Christ, let us celebrate with joy this our Harvest Festival and take hold of every opportunity to ready ourselves for the day of his appearing. Let us implore the Lord of the Harvest to send forth labourers into his fields, for the harvest is plentiful but the labourers are few. Let us be bold in forging and maintaining a peace which the world cannot give, that in peace we too may sow a harvest of righteousness. And above all let us never forget to do good to the poor and the destitute, the powerless and the homeless, the orphans and the elderly, the hungry, the sick, and the lonely, for God’s glorious kingdom, which shall never pass away, belongs to such as these.

And now, in view of all these mercies so liberally showered upon us, and in heightened anticipation of the glory which is to be revealed, let us praise and magnify the Almighty Lord: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, both now and unto ages of ages. Amen.