As many of the congregation know, I am a strong supporter of the gleaning efforts of the local unit of the Society of St Andrew led by Betty Heishman. But the concept of gleaning is not my idea, nor is even an invention of the Society of St Andrew. The concept comes from the commandments of God to the people of God through the Ritual and Moral Codes in Leviticus 19.
God calls the people to be holy as God is holy – which means to be separated from others. That is to be obedient to God, not to the world. Part of holiness code is the following instruction:”When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap to the very edges of your field, or gather the gleanings of your harvest. You shall not strip your vineyard bare, or gather the fallen grapes of your vineyard; you shall leave them for the poor and the alien: I am the LORD your God. ”
While the ritual laws of holiness from Leviticus do not apply to the Christian in the 21st century, I would argue that we continue to be under the moral code as first given by God to the people of God, the Israelite nation in the Sinai wilderness. I argue this because Jesus, who we claim as our divine Lord, spoke to of feeding the hungry, quenching the thirst of the thirsty, clothing the naked, and more. (Matthew 25) It is through gleaning, or if you would like the modern term of food salvation that we can be obedient in our faith.
For it is a faith issue isn’t it. Faith is a verb that requires a human action by the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit will and can only obey God. Thus, we are lead by an active faith to be obedient to moral standards set by God, even if it requires the sacrifice of time and energy to go to the fields of our Lord.