Christian comment with Gareth Zimmerman, lay preacher, St Alban's Methodist Church

THIS is the time in the church calendar known as Harvest Festival.

Although it is celebrated as a Christian festival, Wikipaedia says that.

In Britain, thanks have been given for successful harvests since pagan times. Harvest festival is traditionally held on the Sunday near or of the Harvest Moon.

This is the full Moon that occurs closest to the autumn equinox (about Sept. 23).

In two years out of three, the Harvest Moon comes in September, but in some years it occurs in October.

The celebrations on this day usually include singing hymns, praying, and decorating churches with baskets of fruit and food in the festival known as Harvest Festival, Harvest Home or Harvest Thanksgiving.

Like many Stroud residents, I enjoy harvesting my allotment and bringing produce to church on the appropriate Sunday to share with the less fortunate.

This year we haven't had a good harvest, but the charity our church is supporting this year, the Stroud Food Bank, is being used by many local people who have fallen on hard times, so our offerings have been supplemented by items from the supermarkets.

The poor harvest highlights how much we rely on the climate, despite our modern technology and scientific progress.

Perhaps we need to remember who we are in the realm of God's creation.

A modern translation of Proverbs 3: 5-6 says, Trust in the Lord with all your heart.

Never rely on what you think you know.

Jesus told us that our Father in heaven knows what we need and is prepared to give it to those that ask.

In earlier, rural times, people relied on the harvest to see them through the winter. Nowadays we can get what we want throughout the year by going to a supermarket. Here lies a moral dilemma: do we support developing countries by buying their fruit and vegetables when their neighbours may be suffering from famine?

And are we happy for the producers to be paid little so that our supermarkets can make enormous profits - not to mention the effect on our environment of air transport?

Let us all think about how we receive and share God's good gifts.