Officially meteorological Autumn started a few days before I was writing this.
Autumn weather is variable and is proving so already. I recalled a line from a poem I have heard quoted which starts “Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,” (I found out it was from To Autumn by John Keats). Autumn heralds in a harvest of so many good things and yet we can forget that our food production still needs cold, rain and sunshine – part of the old harvest hymns says about God’s care:
He sends the snow in winter,
The warmth to swell the grain,
The breezes and the sunshine,
And soft refreshing rain.
All good gifts around us are sent from heaven above.
As a church we feel it is good and right to thank God for His provision for us frequently, especially to remember He keeps His word to provide a harvest. He said “As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease.” (Genesis 8v22) That is great news, as our harvests in UK and around the world are so dependant on the weather conditions even in our technological age.
It has been predicted that the price of many fruit and vegetables will increase and there may be some shortages. This is put down to the very wet and cold spring and the long, hot summer we have had. Thankfully, with the modern irrigation methods practiced by farmers, we will be spared the dramatic price hikes that occurred over the winter following the summer of 1976, when the price of potatoes increased 600%! Another problem due to the hot summer weather was that many fields went from green, to brown and to white. Farmers had to use stored feed for their animals and were not able to make multiple grass harvests from their fields to store straw, hay and silage for feeding their animals over winter. Because of this, it is also predicted meat quality will drop and prices rise!
Temperature records have been set and this summer has been compared to the long, hot summer of 1976 when many parts of the country knew water shortages and standpipes. While holiday makers in UK enjoyed the sunshine, gardeners and farmers did not as it affected their plants and crops. Some of us did not need to cut our grass for about 8 weeks – one of the bonuses of the summer!
One ‘success’ story from the weather this year is that it has been a bumper year for aerial archaeology as the long, hot summer has revealed ancient landscapes not visible at ground level, but revealed in fields of growing crops from the air.
Yet, even if we have a less abundant harvest this year, we will still have so much to thank God for. Having seen the huge fires that raged in some parts of even the western world, or the floods in India beamed into our homes, we are to be thankful we have been spared these and have been provided with so much.
Often, we fail to recognise the good things God has given us. The apostle Paul writing to a younger minister friend told him to tell those who were rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches, “but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy”. Autumn and the harvest it brings is to be celebrated and is a time for thanking God for all good gifts around us that we can easily take for granted.
We invite all who read this to join with us as we once again celebrate harvest 2018 on 29th & 30th September (see events for details – Harvest Quiz Night; Harvest Celebration Service) and thank God for His rich provision for us.