As you read this message, we will have recently celebrated Harvest at All Saints’ and in Harlton Church. The combine harvesters have been out and about for some time already, and everywhere to be seen there are signs of God’s hand in the natural world, and his gifts to us in creation: freshly stacked hay bales jutting proudly above the stubbled harvested fields; apple trees bowing under the weight of their rosy red fruit; and my favourite – hedgerows gleaming with pitch-dark blackberries in the dew of the early morning. My son came home proudly from his childminder yesterday with homemade blackberry crumble!
Some of the hymns at church we sing remind us of God’s provision of sustenance to keep us going through the dark and sometimes harsh winter that can follow. Others help us to point our praise back to him who we can trust to give us all we need. And one such favourite Harvest hymn, We Plough the Fields and Scatter has a chorus reminding us that: ‘All good gifts around us are sent from heaven above, then thank the Lord, O thank the Lord, for all his love’.
Harvest also challenges us to take the responsibility that comes with being given those gifts wisely, to share those gifts with others who have little. Our village communities – whether it is Harlton or Haslingfield – are a wonderful gift, and I am very thankful to be part of both. They have enjoyed many opportunities of coming together this past summer, and I’m sure lots of fun has been had and friendships have been made.
As we embark together on our journey through winter, spring will come, and signs of new life will appear. In the meantime let us accompany each other through these next few months with the love and community we have shared in the summer months, so that those of us who find winter difficult for whatever reason may know they have company for the journey.