|Morning sun (on my way to Horsley for the 9 o'clock service)|
After Horsley, it was down the valley to Elsdon for the Harvest Thanksgiving, then up to the top of Redesdale to Byrness Village Hall for the harvest lunch of sandwiches and cakes -- and soup made from the vegetables offered in last Sunday's harvest service.
Across to the North Tyne valley to sort myself out before Thorneyburn's Harvest Thanksgiving, the third or fourth year that we are holding our "Soup Swap Service": bring a flask of soup and drink someone else's brew after the hymns, readings and prayers.
Jesus' teaching "Consider the lilies...", (God cares for every wild flower and you are infinitely more precious) reminds us not to worry about things that we cannot influence. Only selfish or proud people think that they should be in control all the time.
People involved in farming know that they aren't in control: they're at the "mercy" of the elements, of market forces, of political bias...and they (and all of us) need to throw ourselves on God's mercy -- which can save us from destructive anxiety, despair or resentment, and which can bolster our generosity and our gratitude for what we do have.
At Harvest Festival we express our gratitude to God for what he provides for us, not only directly in nature but also through other people. We all have our part to play, starting with sharing what we have -- hence the great soup swap!