Cauliflowers fluffy and cabbages green,
strawberries are sweeter than any I've seen
Beetroots purple and onions white
All grow steadily day and night
The apples are ripe and the plums are red
The broad beans are sleeping in their blankety bed.
(words taken from UK hymn Book Come and praise published by the BBC).
October always reminds me of my children’s school assembly at harvest time. The sample of the hymn printed above is one of the songs that was sung every year until they went to senior school, when sadly school assemblies stopped. How many of you can sing the other verses?
October is also a time of change, the weather gets colder, and the nights draw in. it is time to put our gardens to bed for the winter and drag out our woollies and waterproofs.
I love the dark winter nights with the fire cracking in the wood burner and the twinkling of the lights as I sit and knit reflecting on all that is good in my life. It is also an opportunity for me to remember those less fortunate than myself. Those who do not have a place to shelter, warm clothes to wear and food to eat. I am also reminded of the farming community who work tirelessly to provide us with the food that we eat, the milk that we drink and the wool to make clothes. Whilst we have lived in virtual isolation for the past 18 months, some farmers live in virtual isolation for most of the year. For some farmers their nearest neighbour can be 5 miles away and they unlike us may not get the opportunity to chat on a regular basis. Of course, there is zoom and facetime, but only if you have a good internet connection and unfortunately in rural places this is sometimes a downfall.
Farmers rely on the weather and with the climate changing their role is becoming more difficult as they struggle to produce enough food not just for us but for their cattle as well. We can do our bit to help our farmers by shopping locally when possible, using farm shops or one of the many local fresh produce delivery companies; these are usually set up by the farmers themselves as a way of earning extra income.
When we shop, we can also buy extra food for those who use the food banks and for the YMCA who feed many homeless people throughout the year. Many of us are going to be struggling this year to feed ourselves and heat our homes, but even the poorest amongst us can offer something to help others. In mark we find the widow who is poor giving all that she had to help others. Jesus recognizes that her gift is greater than that of the rich people who gave generously but who still had plenty left for themselves. God sees the little things that we do and is not always impressed by our grand gestures. The widow of Zarephath is also an example of someone in need herself and yet she gave her last meal to Elijah. (1 Kings:17: 7 – 16). So as we all wrap up warm and settle ourselves down for the winter months, let us be generous with our own giving and as I sit and knit I will be praying for God to help us provide for all those in need this harvest time, I hope you will join in my prayers.