Harvest of Ourselves
To celebrate harvest festival through food/sense similes
by Gill O'Neill
Suitable for Key Stage 2
To celebrate Harvest Festival through food/sense similes.
Preparation and materials
- You will need a collection of harvest produce: potatoes (including ones with eyes that have sprouted), a bunch of corn, some imitation tulips, a bunch of bananas, a tin of artichoke hearts, a head of celery, some runner beans, a bowl of fruit, including some grapes. You will also need some volunteers to help hold up the produce.
- Note: As there is quite a range of produce to collect, you might choose instead to list them or draw them on a flip-chart/OHP.
- Introduce the theme of Harvest, and tell the children that today they are going to think not only about the harvest of the earth, but also about the harvest of ourselves. Show them your collection of harvest produce. These things come from the harvest of the earth, but if we think carefully we shall see that they also represent our own gifts, which we can put to good use too.
- Pick out one of the potatoes and ask a volunteer to hold it up. Ask if anyone knows what the shoots have grown from. Explain that the potato is not only a food, but that it can grow roots, and then new plants and more potatoes too. The shoots grow from the eyes. In the same way we too have eyes to look outward. We can only appreciate the glory of the world if we use our eyes.
- Hold up the corn. Explain that it is a traditional symbol of harvest, as it represents all the things that come from the earth. Ask if anyone knows the traditional name for a part of the corn (the ear). Tell the children that we too have ears, and we can share God's word if we use them well.
- Hold up the tulips and tell the children that you have cheated a little bit here. See if they can guess what the tulips are representing for you. You may need to prompt them to realize that 'tulips' sounds a little like 'two lips'! We use our lips to speak and sing, and to share the glory of God's world.
- Give the bunch of bananas to a child to hold up, and see if anyone knows what this might represent. Explain that a bunch of bananas is often called a 'hand' of bananas. We all use our hands to do many things. And often when people need some help with a task they may ask, 'Can you give me a hand?' God asks us to use our hands to do his work, and to share his love.
- Hold up the tin of artichoke hearts and ask a volunteer to read the label out loud. The children will quickly respond that this is representing the heart. Explain that the heart is not only a vital organ, without which we can't live, but it is also one of the most easily recognizable symbols of love. We can share our love with everyone we meet.
- Tell the children that next you have a head of celery. It is vital that we 'use our heads' in order to make sure that all our other gifts and talents are used thoughtfully. If we don't think about what we are doing, we can sometimes do the wrong thing.
- Show the runner beans and explain that you have included these to represent the advice that St Paul gave to some Christians long ago. He told them to 'run the race that's set before you'. He believed that if God is with us we would have the strength to keep going.
- Finally show the children the fruit bowl and explain that these represent the 'fruits of our labours'. This is an old-fashioned saying that really means the results of our work. Show that if we take the 'fruits of our labours' - hold up the grapes - we can turn them into something else. Ask the children if they know what the grapes can be made into. They may say raisins, grape juice or wine.
Time for reflection
Let us spend a moment of silence reflecting on all the good gifts of food that God has given us.
May we give thanks for our food, and share it when we can.
Let us now think about all the other gifts that God has given us, our talents and abilities.
May we use our gifts wisely, and share them when we can.
'Pears and apples' (Come and Praise, 135)