The sun is shining, the air is warm and still. It still looks like summer but the nights are drawing in and, despite the sun, there is a nip in the air. Autumn is here.
The fields around us are bare; the harvest is home for winter. In hedgerows still laden with fruits, on woodland floors and in late-summer flower patches, nature, too, is storing up for winter. In the Rectory garden the crab apples hang dark red, while insects still hunt for nectar and sugars on late flowers and autumn fruits. Autumn is part of the eternal cycle of life; seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night (Gen 8:22).
It has been a challenging year in many ways. The weather has alternately drowned or parched the land; a natural cycle compounded by global warming issues. The Covid pandemic has caused havoc; with loss of life, livelihood and fellowship. We are fed a daily diet of woe. Yet for all the gloom, and there can be no denying there is much that is wrong around us, all of us have something to be thankful for. Our medical services continue to work wonders. Neighbour has helped neighbour. For all the problems with this year’s harvest, God, whose son taught us to pray ‘give us this day our daily bread’ has done that and more. Not just this day, there will be enough food to last everyone until the next harvest; provided we share it. And so, we should count our blessings, and with those blessings in mind, be grateful.
There is much more to harvest than the fruits of the earth; art and commerce as much as industry and agriculture. Whatever the fruit, harvest is a gift of God; a gift that requires hard work by many people. Harvest is a time for being grateful. Gratitude is more than just saying thank you. Gratitude is recognising the hard work of others and, in so far as we are able, ensuring their just reward. Gratitude is sharing with those in need. Gratitude is caring for creation and using God’s gifts wisely. Let us give thanks to God in prayer, praise and practical ways.
Rev. Philip Payne
The Pew Sheet for 27th september is available on the Download section.