Letter from the Vicarage - October 2017
BLESSINGS FROM THE VICARAGE
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
At this time of year, when the hours of daylight are diminishing, it is wonderful to celebrate Harvest time in church - for many reasons which I will go into later. In days gone by (which I can remember from my childhood playing on the bales of straw and hay, probably much to the annoyance of the farmer!) collecting in the harvest from the fields would be hard work requiring all the family to put their hands to the plough, as it were, and often involved most of a villages’ population – such was the harvest’s importance for surviving over winter. Nowadays machinery plays a greater part than having many hands but, as I am sure our local Poulsom family and other farmers in the area will testify, it is no less hard work with reduced manpower!
Also about now, the final collections have occurred of all the fruits, berries and produce from gardens, allotments, hedgerows and ‘pick all you can’ farms. Tomatoes and other veg that won’t now ripen are turned into chutney or blanched and frozen down. Fruits also are frozen or made into jams and other preserves to enrich our diets over winter to give us that feeling of comfort and fullness.
But, I wonder how many modern families actually cook, freeze or preserve like this anymore? In this age of consumerism, if you have the money, it is so easy just to go to a local supermarket and fill your trolley without thinking about where the food has come from, how it has been processed, or how much work it actually takes to bring food to our supermarkets and shops and then on to our homes. Now also, the convenience of ordering on line, in the comfort of one’s computer room, and home delivery has distanced us even further from the process of production, collection, packaging and distribution.
Food just arrives… and much of the time it is in the form of
prepared meals for our convenience too, which, if we consume too much, is so
unhealthy for us as it is full of sugar, salt and e-numbers! All this
‘distancing’ has in turn reduced our connection with God as Creator and
provider, and reduced particularly our valuing of food itself, and all the work
required to get it to our tables (or all too often on laps in front of a TV
which is not good for digestion or family cohesion either).
So, this harvest let us reconnect with God as our
celebration will be very much about giving thanks for the incredible abundance
of God’s provision on our planet which sustains us through the darker periods
of the year. It will also be a good time to appreciate all that we have - be it
food or possessions (which are often far too many), as well as an important
time to help us be much more mindful of those who have enabled us to have food.
Harvest is also a time for everyone to be more active for those who have far
too little and are struggling to live.
So do come along to our Harvest services – at the Church of
the Good Shepherd in Dockenfield on 1st October at 10.30am and at St Mary’s
Church on the 8th October at 10.30am, when we have baptisms as well. What a
celebration that will be! Do bring fruit and veg, but also dried goods and tins
of food which we can pass on to those in need in our parish as well as
charities such as The Vine or Woodlarks.
With love and blessings