Beauty surrounds us, but we usually need to be walking in a garden to know it - Rumi
Saturday was 3rd September 2016. Seventy six years ago on this day England declared war on Germany for the second time in twenty years. Thus began what came to be known as World War 2.
Among the many problems facing the UK government was how to feed its civilian population. There were, after all severe restrictions on its supply lines due to enemy action; a situation which would only get worse as the war progressed. One answer was the rationing of essential goods and foods. Each person was issued with a ration book, which mother took charge of since without the coupons they contained she could buy nothing. Food, clothing, just about everything was rationed. Indeed sweets did not come off rationing until September 1953, as a result of which our teeth were in much better condition than those of our grandchildren! Rationing did not finally end until meat was de-rationed in July 1954. So for fifteen years what we were able to eat and indeed able to buy was severely restricted.
I thought about all this over the weekend as we gathered seeds from the garden. At this time of the year, having finished flowering, the plants will begin to set seeds. We have already gathered several envelopes full of seeds to be sown next year or given away as gifts. Of course, some plants have already scattered their seeds across the garden; some will grow and some will be eaten by birds and insects. Indeed, the birds are eating the soft fruit now in preparation for winter when there will be little food about. They will have carried the seed elsewhere. What always amazes me is the abundance of seeds the plants produce; more than enough to feed all the hungry birds and animal as well as ensuring the survival of the species.
To get his message across Jesus used familiar objects and occasions so that his listeners would be able to understand. Thus there are a number of references in the Bible to seeds, plants, fish and the like. But this abundance of seed and the exuberance with which it is spread reminds us that God’s gifts to us are not rationed, not restricted in any way. We do not need a ration book for they are freely available to all. God’s love for each of us is unconditional. Let me repeat that, God loves each one of us unconditionally.
For his unbounded and unconditional love let us give thanks to God our Creator the giver of all good things.
Peter is a father and a grandfather who has been retired from full time employment for a number of years