Beauty surrounds us, but we usually need to be walking in a garden to know it - Rumi
I think autumn is my favourite season of the year. It is as John Keats wrote in his poem To Autumn a ‘Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness....’
Yesterday we celebrated Harvest Thanksgiving at St Mary Magdalene. There was an abundance of gifts around the altar at the early Mass and I am sure more were brought to the later Morning Service.
You only need to look outside at the garden, along the street, in the fields or in the local park; open your eyes to the trees, plants and bushes that are now heavy with berries and seeds. The Pyracantha coccinea, more commonly known as the scarlet firethorn, across the garden is laden with bright red berries, on which the birds will fatten up for winter. The ancient oak trees will shed their acorns for the squirrels. Indeed, I met Brother Squirrel in the churchyard yesterday busily searching for food. He will eat his fill and then bury a supply for later in the winter; just so long as he can remember where he has buried them. If he forgets there will be a number of oak saplings appearing in odd places next spring! Soon the sycamore seeds will float down to earth on their double wings; whilst along some streets you will find an abundance of sweet chestnuts on the ground, or more likely their inedible cousins, the horse chestnuts or conkers!
Traditionally Harvest Thanksgiving would fall after the crops had been gathered in but this year I suspect the farmers are praying that the good weather holds so that they can harvest their crops of wheat, barley, oats and etc. Of course, we must not forget that in addition to the physical food for our table God also provides the spiritual food for our souls at the Eucharist.
Amazingly, God, Our Creator provides this glorious, abundant bounty each year for His creatures, human and animal. And whilst some seeds will be crushed underfoot accidentally or otherwise there will be plenty to feed the birds and animals, and indeed us, with some to spare. He truly cares for all His creatures. How great is that?
When we come to realise that God is our Creator and that He cares for us, undeserving as we are, our only response must be to bow before Him with humility and offer our unbounded praise and thanksgiving.
Peter is a father and a grandfather who has been retired from full time employment for a number of years