Friday, 25 October 2013

Autumn vortex

I was about to delete this picture from my camera when I realised how apt it is as a description of life right now. With autumn well established in this part of the world, church life and ministry moves on at a pace. Often it feels out of control. Sometimes it's like a bumpy ride, hanging on for dear life to the coat tails of the Spirit as she sweeps through, rattling the windows and shaking up the complacent. Occasionally, there's a brief settling and the comfort of scrunching through a carpet of dried leaves. But, always, it's a blurry, unpredictable swirling of energy and emotion that beckons and entices and prompts a grateful response of abandonment knowing, in the midst of the chaos, the steadying breath of God.

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Sunday, 6 October 2013

Convenience Food?

Come ye thankful people come
Raise the song of harvest home
All is safely gathered in ere the winter storms begin

Preparing the church for Harvest Festival this weekend, someone remarked: " least when we sing our harvest hymn this year, it will be true. All is safely gathered in this year."
The fields around here are now empty, the great hay bales have been taken away for storage. Some of the fields have even been ploughed for winter planting.
But that comment made me think about how often we "manipulate" times and seasons to fit in with our worship - or how, when we can't manipulate timings (Christmas and Easter, for example) we feel inconvenienced.

Harvest Festival, in particular, is an acknowledgement that God has it covered:
Genesis 8:22
As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat,
summer and winter, day and night, shall not cease.’

As we give thanks for the gift of Harvest today, we give thanks, too, for a God who will not be manipulated, who will not conform to our expectations or fit into our tidy, ordered lives, even our liturgical lives! We give thanks for a God who calls us out on our organisational skills and reminds us:
"If you had faith the size of a mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you." Luke 17:6
Giving thanks for the Harvest today, God calls us far beyond our sanctuaries, physical and metaphorical, to engage with messier lives until all God's children know the blessing of God's Harvest that does not fit in to our planning schedules but brings abundance for all God's people.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

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