Monday 13 October 2014

The Harvest

Jesus asked us, "Can all your worries add a single minute to your life?" Here we are being asked to look beyond the material conditions of our lives to see the impermanence of it all and the references to nature to the birds the flowers of the field and the animals therefore hold for us an immutable truth. Like the seasons, they come into and go out of life and existence as a matter of course. They are all part of the great cosmic plan the rhythms and cycles of life that actually we are all part of. And the truth is that we live lives of very limited control, no matter how much we worry we cannot add another extra minute to our lives. Spiritually, we are exhorted to live a life of acceptance, to live in the present moment, the only reality and to go with it. All will be well in this simple faith as Jesus points to the wild flowers; God's divine providence expressed in nature. "Consider the lilies of the field and how they grow. They neither weave nor spin, yet Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed as one of these."

Each year we celebrate the harvest the provision of food by farmers and fishermen. And I love those words from the old hymn by Henry Alford, 'Come ye thankful people come. Raise the song of harvest home! I love the tune and the joy that it encapsulates and the recognition of gratitude and the sense of security from hunger that it exudes, and the suggested earthiness of it all that describes our common humanity our need for food.

There in this Christian tradition is that recognition that for all our spiritual aspiration we need our daily bread and such is the power of that recognition that in the prayer of Jesus, The Lord's Prayer, the perfect prayer, that prayer of petition we say 'give us this day our daily bread' not give me, but give us our daily bread amongst other things this prayer gives recognition of the family of man, the family of humanity and our dependence on each other and our dependence upon  that divine providence. But of course we are asked to recognise the ascension or the priority of the spirit over the flesh when Jesus says that we cannot live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God. So like the birds of the air who are fed by the heavenly Father he tells us that God knows we need food and shelter he tells us that these worries about where its all going to come from dominate the minds of people without faith. He said, "Your heavenly Father already knows all your need but seek ye first the Kingdom of God and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need". And St Paul in his letter to the Romans said that "the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit."