Too many photos of fruit and vegetables fill my phone. Two days a week, my neighborhood hosts a green market with fresh local produce. During July and August, corn, apples, squash, eggplant, beans, mushrooms, kale, garlic, leeks, and more are piled high on tables and made vivid by the summer sun. The products of bakeries, beekeepers, and fishmongers wait nearby. I want to touch and smell and eat everything. Instead I take photos.
I’m fortunate to live in a neighborhood that would not be considered a food desert. I enjoy convenient grocery stores, bodegas, and assorted street vendors, supplemented by this bounteous outdoor market. God’s glorious abundance is on display for our use, nourishment, and enjoyment.
I know a homeless man named Will who is a regular at the market. I always stop to greet him and we chat. I make sure I have some cash in my wallet to pass on to him. He reminds me, amid this ample harvest, that for many people hunger is the yoke of their burden. The bar across their shoulders is the lack of affordable housing. The rod of their oppressor is the scarcity of suitable employment (v. 4).
All around us are workers who raise our vegetables, bake our bread, catch and clean our fish, and harvest our honey, and who are only one bad harvest away from disaster. I shop at the green market because at this point in my life I can indulge in the work and fun of preparing fresh vegetables at home. But I also shop there as an act of gratitude and solidarity. We ease each other’s burdens by sharing in joy at the harvest (v. 3).
How often do we stop to think about the people who labor to bring God’s bounty to our tables?
God, we pray that we will never take for granted the abundance of your gifts in all of their forms. Help us to find ways to share those gifts with others. Amen.