Here at St George’s we’ve had a very busy 2017 so far already. The Food Bank is making a huge difference to peoples’ lives through not only food parcels, but advice on housing, benefits and for two families, schooling too. The bible study groups, consistently well supported, have spent this year looking at John’s and Mark’s gospels as well as Paul’s letter to the church in Rome. It is very encouraging to hear parents (and grandparents) say how much they and the children enjoy the two weekly parent & child groups and it’s heartening to see faces known and new at the various services. And finally, several people have completed the Discipleship course which has been an excellent opportunity to talk about being a Christian. And there’s more in the pipeline.
There are many facets to the life of St George’s which the bible calls the generosity of God and which Jesus came to make visible. I’ve been reflecting on that as we draw into autumn and harvest. The harvest is where we speak of all we have been given and for the Christian that comes from God’s ordering of His Creation – as a famous dinosaur film puts it, “Life finds a way”.
In our modern 24/7 world, many feel we have lost touch with the cycle of the seasons and whilst that may well be true, my guess is that our forebears would see that as a small price to pay for no longer having to worry over whether the food stocks would last the winter. But that serves merely to emphasise how important it is to celebrate the harvest; celebrating harvest is the corrective to remind us of our dependency on nature and for the Christian, our dependency on God’s provision. God is not somewhere above the clouds or confined to a theology of sterile control. Rather, God is in the world and we are partners with Him – a practical outworking of what it means for us to be made in God’s image.
So this harvest time, we at St George’s will be celebrating the harvest using a trebuchet; correct, that is a military engine for throwing stuff only we’ll be throwing fruit. Let me explain; the fruit of the harvest calls us to reflect on the “fruit” of our own life. In his letter to the Galatian Church, Paul calls this the fruit of the spirit. God works through his whole Creation which includes you and me and He throws out fruit. The big question is do we want to receive it? So when we use our trebuchet to chuck fruit, the question is can we, do we wish to catch it? (we’ll use bed sheets, it’ll be great fun).
There are so many opportunities for the life of church and community to mutually inform, uphold and yes, sometimes challenge one another and so develop and grow. I hope that this harvest time when we can reflect that we are given so much, that we will reflect also on the fruit of our own living.