Pause for Thought October 2017

Autumn is approaching and, having been in Kenya for a month, I notice the temperature falling. It’s that time of ‘mellow fruitfulness’ and Harvest Festivals. Living in rural villages we still have a sense of the farming seasons and harvests. We are the ones who negotiate the oncoming combine harvester on the narrow roads.

But for many, harvest is less visible and for many of us, harvest is not something that makes us thankful particularly. The old harvest hymn ‘Come, ye thankful people, come’ is nice to sing but I don’t know if I feel really thankful in the way that people in other parts of the world might.

I came back from Kenya on 12th September having spent a month there with a friend of mine who is a bishop. Together we went to places which were drier than he can remember and the people have not gathered in a harvest for three years now as the rains have failed or been insufficient. People want rain there, but here the weather forecaster apologises when rain is forecast.

It seems such a small, simple thing – a bit of water falling from the atmosphere – but it a place like Mwatate in Kenya it means the difference between prosperity and poverty, between school fees and your children not being educated, between life and death.

We are so blessed in this country to have enough rain to be sure of a harvest, to confidently set our dates for Harvest Festivals months ahead. How often do we thank God for what we’ve been given?

Once Jesus was approached by ten men with leprosy. He healed all ten, but only one came back to thank him. That’s a picture of what happens in most of our lives. We don’t say thank you, we don’t appreciate what God gives us day by day. A month in a drought affected area, sitting with people who were desperately poor yet incredibly generous has made me think about celebrating harvest this year with a new thankfulness.

If you can get to a Harvest Service, do go along and give thanks.
Rev Dave Maylor

“Pause for Thought” this month comes from Rev Dave Maylor
Rector of Barnack with Ufford, Bainton, Helpston & Wittering
Telephone: 01780 740234