Words for Harvest

Dear Friends,

I bumped into a friend the other day who was explaining how her family had a wonderful day out at the beach during the summer. But after the two hour trip to drive there, it was only when her 6-year-old son said “Mummy, we haven’t checked the tide times!” did my friend realise that their magical day basking in the sunshine and swimming in the sea just might be off – or at least the paddling in the sea bit! It reminded me of how much I enjoy staying on Lindisfarne or Holy Island. If you haven’t been then I thoroughly recommended it and I say you need to stay even if it’s just for a night, as only with time can the tide do its magic. All the tourists visit while they can but the peace, beauty and drama of the island only really come to life when you’re left there and only free to leave again once the sea does its thing and the road across the causeway makes its appearance again. There’s something life giving in the unforced rhythm of the sea which we cannot control ourselves and we are beholden by something far bigger than ourselves.

In our fast-moving world, where everything is becoming more fluid, ever changing ways to relate to each other, a million and one new possibilities being explored every day, life can feel very exhausting and hard to keep up with. Sometimes such is the speed of change that seems to be happening around us – or is that just me, having two small children who appear to grow out of a pair of shoes at what sometimes feels like a monthly basis!

The Harvest season which we have been remembering in Church and with our school over the last few weeks celebrates the rhythms of life with particular joy for this time of blessing as the Harvest is brought in – with the extra sun and heat this summer, it was very early in some cases this year! Whenever we celebrate Harvest, it’s a marker in the sand, to be thankful – even when life is hard and the harvest is poor. It’s a time to be thankful for good gifts given to us by God, in creation; the seasons, the sun, the rain, those who every year plough and gather in the crops and do it all again the following year. It reminds me of God’s faithfulness to the world I believe He’s created, His constancy despite an increasingly fast-paced and ever-changing world around us. It also reminds me to be thankful and play my part in looking after what He’s given us, for just as things advance the world is a fragile place and not all progress seeks to honour it.

I pray we may be thankful this season, for the gift of creation around us, for the things we treasure about our environment, and take the opportunity to commit to care for it once again so that others may find hope in its beauty and constancy for future generations. For just as God is faithful to his creation, so may we be faithful to Him.

Revd Rebecca Gilbert, Lordsbridge Team

Summer thoughts from Ruth Bond

Dear Friends,

“Roll out those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer, those days of soda and pretzels and beer”, sang Nat King Cole, “Roll out those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer. You’ll wish that summer could always be here”. When August arrives we shall already have experienced those summer days, lazy and crazy because it has been too hot to do very much and hazy because once the cold and rain sets in they will become hazy but hopefully happy memories.

Holiday, from the Old English hālig – holy and dæg,- day meant special religious days on which work stopped. The summer months, generally, are ones when many people take a holiday, a period of leisure and recreation, time spent away from home or travelling. It is thought nowadays though that for many a ‘staycation’ is just what they need – staying in a different place or merely staying at home and doing very little, whether by necessity or desire. . You know, Jesus was the master of the ‘staycation’. How often we read in the Gospels that Jesus took himself away from the crowd and prayed to His Father in heaven, sometimes “very early in the morning”. Jesus could not have had many lazy days but he always made time to get away from the crowds who followed him wanting to hear what he might say or do next. Alone with God he could collect his thoughts, hear his Father’s will for him, but above all, rest, to be prepared for what he was to face in his ministry. Whenever we take a holiday, no matter the length, that is an excellent time to take stock of life, ponder very briefly on what is past, wonder what might come, but more than anything, else think on where we are right now. To ponder on the fact that the Lord is with us all the time, no matter in what situation we find ourselves, and to have a quiet chat with Jesus is probably just what we need. And if you do travel a long distance for your chill out time He is happy to go along with you.

Wherever you spend your holy(i)day have a peaceful and wonderful time.

Ruth Bond – Licensed Lay Minister