As I write it is the middle of August and it is hot and sticky. Mind you, as I awoke and looked out of my window this morning there was a slight mist, perhaps signs of autumn lying not too far away. As you read this, autumn will be in full swing and it will be winter that is lying not too far away. And one of the characteristics of this time of year is that it is associated with the season of harvest. Some might argue that harvest is very much done and dusted by now, and it is certainly very much up and running as I write with great swirls of dust billowing across the roads indicating that the combine harvester is not too far away.
This is, in fact, the second harvest I have experienced this year. Back in April I was in India and that is very much the season of their harvest. “All be safely gathered in, ere the winter storms begin” writes Henry Alford in the well-known hymn “Come, ye thankful people come”. In India it is not the winter storms that are about to begin but the monsoon season starting in June and running through to September. Every year, the date of the monsoon's arrival is the subject of much speculation. Despite numerous predictions by the meteorological department, it is rare that anyone gets it right! After the first initial downpour, which can last for days, the monsoon falls into a steady pattern of raining for at least a couple of hours on most days. It can be sunny one minute and pouring with rain the next. The rain is very unpredictable.
Does this ring any bells with us? It seems that our weather has been falling into a similar pattern with rain so heavy that local flooding has often occurred. But we need the rain, we need the sun, we need both. We in this country bear the brunt of jokes about the weather and it is not surprising. But when those beautiful marrows, cauliflowers and beans, not to mention the fields full of corn, are all ripe then it is time to give thanks.
We shall be giving thanks to God, our creator, at our harvest service on Sunday 2 October at 10.00am at the parish church. So please do come, bring your fruit and vegetables and there will be an opportunity to bring them up to the altar. Harvest is one of those times of the year when we sing seasonal hymns which we don’t tend to sing at other times of the year. One such goes as follows:
To thee, O Lord, our hearts we raise in hymns of adoration,
to thee bring sacrifice of praise with shouts of exultation:
bright robes of gold the fields adorn, the hills with joy are ringing,
the valleys stand so thick with corn that even they are singing.
So do join us when we can put behind us all the trials and tribulations of the British weather and give thanks to God for all that he has done.
Licensed Lay Minister and Churchwarden.