Thought for the Month (September 2017)

Exodus 23: 16b "Celebrate the Feast of Ingathering at the end of the year, when you gather in your crops from the field".

September is one of my favourite months; the intense heat of the summer has passed but there are still plenty of warm days to be enjoyed. The light in September bathes so much in a glorious golden colour too. God's beautiful Creation lies spread out before us, and September and October are the months we traditionally give thanks for our main harvest.

The Christian Harvest Festival has many roots in the Old Testament festival of Sukkot or Ingathering; it is the time when the produce of the field, orchard and vineyard is gathered in. The granaries, threshing floors and wine and olive-presses are full to capacity, or more locally the wool, apples and pears.

Weeks and months of toil and sweat have finally been amply rewarded. The farmer feels happy and elated. No wonder Harvest is the "season of rejoicing" when many of us feel especially moved to be thankful and sing our praises.

Each of our fellowships will have a special Harvest Festival service and I am sorry that I cannot be at them all. However, I do encourage you to come along and give thanks, and bring your friends along too. Despite all our seeming contemporary toils and troubles, we have so very much to be thankful for. So,...

Come, ye thankful people, come,
Raise the song of harvest home!
All is safely gathered in,
Ere the winter storms begin;
God, our Maker, doth provide
For our wants to be supplied;
Come to God's own temple, come;
Raise the song of harvest home!
Rev. Helen Warmington

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Tunbridge Wells United Reformed Church