Reviewing the news media over the past year could be best described as an exercise in doom and gloom. There seems to be no end to the economic woes, not just of Ireland, but the entire E.U. Come to that, economic woes could be said to be a global phenomenon with just a few exceptions! Coupled with that have been reports of popular uprisings in Syria and the Yemen which are still being brutally suppressed, the ongoing efforts to oust the Gaddafi regime in Libya with the resultant loss of life, and the horrendous famine in East Africa. However, it is the last of these which put all the others into perspective. Quite simply, the misery and suffering experienced by those dying in need of food and the images of peoples’ pitiful struggle for survival make economics and politics irrelevant.
By contract, October is the traditional month we celebrate our Harvest Thanksgiving here in Tullow. And despite all the depressing media reports from at home and abroad, we indeed have much to be thankful for. Most of us do not have to worry about where our next meal will come from and we have safe, secure homes to live in. True, things may be far more difficult at present than they were a few years ago, but at worst they can only be described as challenges rather than a matter of life and death. It is one of the great failings of human nature that we take so much for granted and do not show sufficient gratitude for what we have been blessed with. Perhaps we would do well to heed the words of St. Paul in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
However, it is not sufficient to just be thankful (although it is an essential start), but as we begin to realise that everything we have has been given to us in trust by God, we should then become more willing to share with others. Taking today’s communications and transport systems into consideration, the world has often been described as little more than a “global village”. Yet despite this, it would appear that time and again, residents of this global village fail to look out for each other. It is a fact that the Earth produces more than enough food to feed everyone, yet millions face starvation on a daily basis. It is perhaps the greatest scandal of our times!
Over the coming weeks, Bishops’ Appeal envelopes will be available in the Church and it is hoped that as people reflect on Harvest Thanksgiving, they will be moved to give generously. Even if you are unable to obtain the official envelopes, an ordinary envelope marked “Bishops’ Appeal” placed on the collection plate will suffice. Let us remember Hebrews 13:16 “Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.”
With every blessing,
The Revd. John Tanner. Tel 289 3154 / 086 302 1376