A message from Claire Whatley, wife of The Rev’d Roger Whatley, Associate Priest at St John the Baptist, Northwood

Posted by Admin on Sunday, 26th August 2012, 15:30

We plough the fields and scatter

I am sure that many of you, church-goers or not, will be familiar with this hymn. Children this month I am sure will be introduced to it as we celebrate Harvest in our schools and churches.

Our children will have an idea at least of what a field looks like and some of the activities of the farming community; but how do we really understand the harvest? We no longer stop all activities to help bring it home, traditionally the reason for our long summer school holiday.

Gone is the family holiday of hop picking. Roger’s Mum would tell us about London emptying as many left to go to Kent. The original travellers who moved around the country helping with the various harvests have all but gone. Only the sheep shearers and a few fruit pickers remain of these travellers.

Most of us have very little idea of what real hunger is, although we are all being more careful with our disposable income as times are becoming more challenging with the political climate. Supermarkets act as buffers protecting us from hunger and negotiating, sometimes shameful prices for the farmers’ goods so that we always have something to put on our tables.

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I am sure that some of you reading this have tried very hard to grow your own food this year and I along with you seem to have suffered from biblical plague-sized attacks of slugs and snails seemingly armed with parachutes, climbing ropes and carrier bags.

I can report at the time of writing that I have managed to get some carrots and pak choi past the first stages but whether they will see harvest I don’t know.

So what can we grow and harvest that is not going to be affected by the weather and will grow year on year producing fruit all the time? It sounds like the perfect crop to me.

How about the fruits of the spirit? No, nothing alcoholic, not even much marrow rum this year. I am talking of those ideals suggested in the New Testament. Peace, Joy, Love, Gentleness, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Self control and Faithfulness, certainly a challenge at any time and for anyone.

As a Christian I know that I do not face these challenges alone, and by adding a pinch of faith to them, a pause of prayer and with the Grace that God, our lips will be full of good things as rewarding as the labours of our hands.

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Claire

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