Rev Chris’ Blog
Join me each month as I ponder life with all the highs and lows we encounter along the way.
I hope you enjoy my blog whose aim is to raise a smile as well as give food for thought.
As always, I would love to hear from you, so please contact me 01278 781147 or [email protected]
God bless you,
Parish Priest for The Huntspills & Mark
November 2021 Sparklers, candles & light shining in the darkness
As winter draws in and the evenings plunge us into darkness, so the wonder of fireworks and bonfires come into their own. My sister’s birthday falls on 5th November, so remembering it is easy and we often celebrate at a firework display – something that we both delight in. Remembering Guy Fawkes’ failed attempt to ‘blow up Westminster and assassinate King James the First’ has survived as a pleasurable task – connecting us to our history and giving a great excuse for a party.
November is a month for much remembering. In addition to Guy Fawkes we celebrate ‘All Saints’ (on the Sunday nearest to 1st November, which this year will be 31st October) when we remember the Christians that have given us examples to follow…..those we know of by name (including Catherine of Alexandria, after whom the Catherine Wheel is named) and the many whose names we do not know.
On the same day as ‘All Saints’ we also mark ‘All Souls’, when we remember our own loved ones who have died, recently and a while ago, cherishing their memories and supporting one another on our continuing journey through grief.
‘Remembrance Sunday’ and ‘Remembrance Day’ also help us to acknowledge the great sacrifice of those who gave their lives for peace and freedom, in the World Wars and ever since.
In all this remembering there is a powerful image of light in the darkness. The exciting sparklers and colourful fireworks, alongside the simple candles lit in remembrance and the wonder of birthday candles. Even a seemingly small candle can overcome the darkness, encouraging hope and spreading warmth. As we move deeper into the dark and cold of Winter, may we know and share the light, showing the way, leading us onwards, guiding us towards the resplendent glow of a star, of angels in the sky, of Christmas tree lights and of the one who is the Light of the World.
God bless you,
(Parish Priest for The Huntspills & Mark)
October 2021 Harvest Time!
September and October have traditionally been the months for celebrating Harvest, though I understand that Harvest Home happens rather earlier – something we have sadly missed out on this year, but which I am very much looking forward to…hopefully in 2022!
The traditional practice of the entire community pulling together to bring in the Harvest is not the experience of many of us these days – it is more the grafting of the few, benefitting us all, though the gardeners amongst us have been working hard as well. Likewise, the traditional Harvest Festival bringing of gifts has undergone a transformation – with the fruit and vegetables being supplemented with tins and packets which can be stored more easily and distributed through the foodbanks. Despite the differences the key elements remain the same: we celebrate the Harvest, giving thanks for all that we have, and seek to share our bounty with others.
I wonder if you have been able to share your harvest this year? The only crop that I’ve had at the Rectory has consisted of rhubarb and apples, neither of which I can take any credit for – they have simply appeared! I have enjoyed sharing them with others. I have also been blessed by the generosity of others – be it flowers, marrow, courgettes, beans, beetroot, tomatoes or sweetcorn, there is something wonderful in receiving directly from those who have grown them, and in eating them while they are still freshly picked.
All this got me thinking about another sort of harvest entirely – the harvest of our lives…..where the fruits are not of the edible variety, though they are ‘nutritious’ for us all in the way that they help us grow. There are times when our lives may seem to be very fruitful and we can easily share with others – showing hospitality, giving of our time, sharing food together, sharing a smile, showing an interest in others, listening to them, loving them. Sometimes we may feel our harvest is rather limited, and we have little to share, but often we have far more than we realise. I was listening to an older lady last week, who felt she didn’t like to ask for help, especially with transport. She really missed the independence she had when she could drive herself anywhere. She said that it used to be her giving others lifts (something she had obviously enjoyed doing). I tried to suggest that in accepting lifts now she was giving others the chance to enjoy sharing their transport with her! Similarly, when I visit a friend, who has been rather isolated lately, she tends to think the visit is for her benefit rather than mine, but due to her lack of busy-ness she is generous with her time and care, and the shoe is so often on the other foot.
As we celebrate harvest this year, let’s think widely. As well as being thankful for the harvest, and for all who ‘bring it in’, and sharing the fruit, vegetables, cereals etc, lets also celebrate the other gifts that we can share with each other – that build up our community and help our neighbours, near and far, to know that they matter.
God bless you,