You who dwell in the garden with friends in attendance,let me hear your voice.
Song of Songs 8:13
There is an abundance of bright red firethorn berries on the bushes in the garden this year. It may be an old wives tale but it is often said that such a profusion heralds a long hard winter! I do hope not, but in any case they will provide plenty of food for the birds before winter takes its toll. The quince apples have also fallen which will provide food for the ground dwelling creatures too.
When I mentioned this to an American friend she said she imagined the birds in party hats and clothes celebrating Thanksgiving Day, (26 November, if you must know). It made her chuckle but it is an important reminder to all of us. One only has to look around at the wealth of God’s Creation at this time of year. The grain harvest will soon be in so that like the birds and animals we may eat for another year. (It saddens me that whilst one half of the world is suffering from starvation or malnutrition the other half throws away vast quantities of perfectly edible but unwanted food. It must be possible to redress that situation. Something to think about now but perhaps we can address that on a future occasion.)
But of course it is not only food to sustain our physical bodies that God provides. He also provides food for our souls; spiritual food without which we cannot exist. In Deuteronomy 8:3 we are told that: ‘He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your ancestors had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD.’
In case we are in any doubt, it is made even clearer in John 6:35: ‘Then Jesus declared, "I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. Through the Eucharist Jesus is with us, He is our daily bread. Indeed at every meal we consume we are reminded of that fact.
Now that seems to me to be a very good reason to join the birds and indeed all Creation in their celebrations by praising and thanking God for all the abundance of gifts He has given us.
Peter is a father and a grandfather who has been retired from full time employment for a number of years