Sunday, October 23, 2011

The last Harvest

Sunday 23rd October 2011
     The morning services at Bellingham and Thorneyburn were both Parish Communion services, but the afternoon was Harvest Thanksgiving at Holy Trinity, Horsley (Rochester in the upper Rede valley).  Children in the congregation brought baskets of locally grown potatoes, beans, tomatoes and apples to  the altar, following the traditon of thousands of years as the firstfruits of each harvest are offered in thanksgiving to God.  They also displyed symbolic items: soil and water on which we depend;  grain, flour and bread as the staples of life (and a reminder of Jesus, metaphrically "the Bread of Life");  wine and oil representing the riches of the harvest;  milk and eggs, the products of our creatures (perhaps honey next year when the bee-keeping has developed);  and flowers, fruit and vegetables, the best of our labours.
    But this is not primarity a fruit-growing or arable area.  The main agriculture is hill farming.  So the picture shows a ?sheep? to represent our livestock.
      And "the last Harvest"?  Well, it was the last Harvest Festival service of this season in North Tyne and Redesdale.  But the hymn reminded us that finally we hope to "be gathered from sorrow, free from sin."

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