Saturday, 29 October 2016


I’ve worshipped God in inner city and country churches, cathedrals, abbeys and, as part of the Baptist Caravan Fellowship when I was growing up, during services held on a field!  The latter were lovely if the weather was right.  We moved indoors if not.  This was usually inside whoever owned the biggest caravan awning!  

One of my favourite memories from that time is of an Airedare cocking its head and howling  when the trumpet was played.  Music critics get everywhere…

Harvest Overview
Harvest Pulpit

Of course true worship isn’t dependent on the building but I was taken with my church’s recent Harvest Festival service.  

I suppose it’s because there is farmland around the village where my church is located so I literally see the connections between farming and food.   It’s too easy not to see how blessed we are. 

The fact there is a greater distance between seeing food produced and it ending up on plates isn’t good.  There is less appreciation for farmers, distributors and so on.  Nothing can take away from the miracle of plant growth (which is out of our hands given we can’t control the weather.  This is as well.  Would we ever agree what it should be?).

Harvest Flowers, Fruits and Veg
Harvest is Timeless

The church was decorated beautifully for Harvest. The food is taken to a local homeless charity (and we collect tinned food during the rest of the year as most churches do).  

But it does strike me as a shame we only remember “officially” to thank God for the basics of life at Harvest Festival.  

The rest of the year we are getting on with other events.  My church always puts out a glass of water and often a lump of coal (to represent the joys of heating and being able to cook).  The bread is freshly made and I like seeing the sheaves, another good reminder of its origins.

But my church is moving on as well as continuing traditions.  The church celebrated its 198th anniversary earlier this year and we are about to hold the induction of our new Minister in November.  

Our ministry is shared with our mother church (which dates to 1660 and must have been amongst the first churches built in the area after the Restoration of Charles II). 

 So yes, we have looked back at Harvest and been grateful for God’s blessings. At the same time we are looking forward with hope to the beginning of a new ministry and chapter in the lives of the joint pastorate.  

God is infinitely colourful and creative

To be able to look back, be grateful for all that Harvest means and look forward as well seems like a contortist’s trick!  

But as writers we should do this too.  To look back and learn from mistakes.  To look forward and with God’s help be open to the paths where He wants us to go.  

Are we ready for that?  Am I?  Definitely not at times but the real thing to appreciate is none of us make this journey alone.  Jesus sees to that.

At the back of the church

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