Mothers’ Union Devotion Sunday 4th October, Seventeenth Sunday after Trinity
This Sunday many of our churches are celebrating their Harvest Festivals, albeit in a rather different way than usual. It will seem odd not to be singing such favourites as We Plough the Fields and Scatter and Come, Ye Thankful People Come. Sad as this may seem, the theme of harvest in itself calls us to a different brighter outlook. Harvest is essentially a time to reflect on all that we are thankful for.
We may be missing the uplifting joy of communal singing but on the other hand many of us are now able to attend church services. We may all be restricted to our local council areas, but we are relatively free to move about these areas to shop and exercise. We may be missing family and friends, but we have a whole range of technologies, both ancient such as pen and paper and modern such as Zoom, to keep in touch. And although there seems to be a run on toilet rolls again, we are not being faced with potential food shortages like we were in March.
Some things that have happened to us or our loved ones are not so easy to find the thankful side of. It is hard to feel thankful when you are worried about money or job losses but luckily unlike many countries, we do have a certain base level of social and financial support. Even in our darkest moments of grief, we can rejoice in the lives that we have shared with loved ones.
Yes, Harvest is a time to be thankful but specifically it is a time to be thankful to God for the bountifulness of the earth. To be thankful for grain to make our daily bread. For fruit and vegetables which keep us healthy. For the seasonal sun and rain, which allow our plants to grow and ripen. For the beauty of creation which lifts our hearts. For the joy of our families both living and departed. Most importantly for the love and support that we receive from our relationship with Jesus.
Harvest also reminds us of the cycle of life, that there are good times of plenty, when the ripened grain is gathered in, followed by times of decay and inclement weather. God’s love for us ensures that spring always follows winter. The timing of our seasons is not always predictable and some years the harvest is poor. A time of plenty, however, comes again eventually and we can rejoice again. So, we can trust in the power of our loving Lord that eventually local lockdown will end, the stranglehold the virus has on our lives will end and that we will eventually be able to sing together our thankful songs of harvest praise.
All good gifts around us
are sent from heaven above;
then thank the Lord, O thank the Lord,
for all his love.
All my love and prayers at this Harvest,