How quickly things change. This time last week I began my reflection with the words The sun is shining, the air is warm and still.
Looking out of the study window this afternoon the air is, once again still, but no longer warm. Over the last few days the temperature has dropped rapidly and we have experienced gales and heavy rain. Too much hot and dry, too much cold and wet; are we ever satisfied?
Last Sunday many of us were able to enjoy a harvest celebration with a difference: Harvest in a Field. Worshippers in cars rather than pews, the band on the back of a truck, all conducted from a farm trailer; all sharing enthusiastically in prayer and praise. Our time together was a team effort relying on the ingenuity, generosity and hard work of many people. Instead of bemoaning what we couldn’t do, we made the best of what we had. Even the wind and rain stayed away.
The experience was a living harvest parable. Like last Sunday’s service, a successful harvest requires much ingenuity and hard work. That human input is applied to the raw materials that God gives; sun and rain, seed and soil, the four seasons. Sunday afternoon also relied on two more ingredients for a successful harvest. The first was sharing. Those of us on truck and trailer enjoyed ourselves, but it was so many cars with so many happy people that really made for such a joyful occasion. Worship is so much more encouraging when we worship together. [Thank you to all who contributed gifts for the food for the Stowmarket Foodbank and over £600 for FCN].
I began with the English obsession, our ever-changing weather. It should, in its very unpredictability, teach us to make the most of what we have – but does it? “The Lord gives, the Lord takes away: blessed be the name of the Lord” [Job 1:21]. We used what God gave us, when he gave it (not what we wanted, when we wanted it). Ours was a celebration of God’s gifts; gifts gratefully received; gifts willingly shared. What joy that brought on Sunday. As harvest passes and we look to the challenges ahead; may we take that spirit of receiving gratefully and sharing willingly, that we may continue in the joy God’s service brings.
Rev. Philip Payne
The Pew Sheet for 4 October can be found in the Download section.