Dear Friends, I have asked Martin, our student Minister to share his thoughts on the Harvest Season with you.
Harvest Pastoral Letter
This week has seen a significant change in our climate, with a clear feeling that autumn is fast approaching. Our summer holidays now seem to be a distant blur on the landscape, with only our memories and captured images to recount those eventful days of rest and relaxation. In early August, Charlotte and I spent a week in Norfolk, staying in a quaint cottage in the heart of a picturesque rural village. The cottage was located close to a working farm and from sunrise to sunset, farm hands worked tirelessly to gather in the harvest. This image brought to mind childhood memories of running and playing in wheat fields with my friends, picking the heads off the wheat and rubbing them between our hands to reveal the grain.
Mark’s gospel recalls a similar event undertaken by Jesus and his disciples (Mark 2: 23-27). In the opening verse, Mark prepares us for a conflict with the Pharisees over the Sabbath day. The passage would suggest that the Pharisees had been following Jesus and his disciples around and observing their conduct, ready to pounce. The disciples’ actions of eating the grain, was in their eyes, contrary to the Sabbath law. In essence, the law had taken precedence over the needs of humankind. Jesus was determined not to be confined to the Pharisees’ petty rules, which always seemed to be doing something against the rules on the Sabbath.
It was Douglas Bader who said
“Rules are for the obedience of fools and the guidance of wise men”.
Jesus never condoned the practice of being disobedient towards God’s laws. Instead, he was emphasising the need to discern and demonstrate compassion when enforcing ceremonial laws. For Jesus said
“The Sabbath was made for humans, and not humans for the Sabbath”… (v27).
In other words, people’s needs are more important than technicalities! As we prepare for our harvest celebrations, let us recapture the significance of the Sabbath day, where we recall the holiness of creation and through Christ’s achievement upon the cross for all humanity.
Thinking of our needs closer to home, let us give thanks and praise for the valued work of our food banks, which have become a necessity within our communities. Without this valuable resource many people would go hungry.
God’s blessing upon you all!