From the Rectory
October 2006

We are now in the season when many Churches celebrate their Harvest Festival. We have just done so here in Freemantle. Living in the middle of a large city means that we are not always as aware of the seasons as our rural neighbours.

When I lived in Andover, the Rectory overlooked a Nature Reserve, and I could see the local farm. Our Parish Church was next to the farm yard. There were sheep, pheasants and horses all around. I watched the hay and grain being harvested. I walked to the Parish Church for Morning and Evening Prayer twice a day through the Nature Reserve. When I first arrived all of this was new to me, as was my understanding of rural life and its complexities. Although I've moved away I do now have a much better understanding of the farm year and the issues that face rural communities.

Celebrating harvest in the context of city life puts a different slant on things. We are all aware of what happens in the countryside at harvest in one way or another. We may not understand the fine details but no one who drives a car could fail to know what is going on when stuck behind a tractor or a giant lorry loaded with hay. We live just a five minute car ride from the surroundings and the beauty of the New Forest.

We now live in a world where the food on our table is supplied from around the globe. Everything is available all of the time, and, now, twenty-four hours a day. It follows that harvest is a perpetual occupation. Like the prayer of the Church it's unceasing. Someone, somewhere will be harvesting their produce, whether it be from the land, or the sea.

As well as celebrating God's abundant provision at Harvest-time we are kept aware of the needs of those who so often go hungry despite the many surpluses of food that go to waste. A time for us all not only to give thanks for what we have but to try to help those who have insufficient to lead a healthy life. To keep them always before us in prayer.

There is more than one way to celebrate harvest, what about celebrating our own gifts and talents. All God given. We did just that in Freemantle when we held our Harvest Concert. So much talent was on display, all put in place by a God who makes us all so marvellously, with such care and such potential.

Let us give thanks for all that we have, remember those in need and thank God for making us in his image.

Yours for Christ's sake.