What a difference a year makes! This time last year we were bemoaning another poor summer followed by a wet difficult autumn which caused havoc for farmers in the harvesting of crops. This year, despite a very late spring, conditions have been almost idyllic. The only drawback for most of us has been the need for extensive and regular watering of garden plants to ensure their survival – but I don’t think there will be too many complaints on that score!
As we now head into October, we are entering the traditional season of Harvest Thanksgiving. This tradition may well have originated from an era when the majority of people were directly dependent on the land for their livelihoods – however it must be argues that harvest is not just confined to farmers and gardeners. At its widest definition, harvest can be defined as the positive results of one’s labours. Therefore a homemaker can celebrate the successful running o their home, a teacher – the success of their students, a carer – the wellbeing and contentment of the person they care for – and the list goes on. Accordingly, despite the pronounced shift from agrarian to urban living over past generations, it is still appropriate to take the opportunity to give thanks to God for all the blessings He has bestowed on us. This year our formal Service celebrations will take place on Sunday 13th October when we will welcome as our special preacher, Canon Kieran O’Mahony OSA, an ecumenical canon of St. Patrick’s Cathedral.
A true spirit of thanksgiving should provoke within us a response – as the Epistle to James 2:14-17 tells us, “What good is it, my brothers and sisters,* if you say you have faith but do not have works? Can faith save you? If a brother or sister is naked and lacks daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and eat your fill”, and yet you do not supply their bodily needs, what is the good of that? So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead”. Accordingly, over the coming weeks, Bishops’ appeal envelopes will be available in the Church and it is hoped that as we reflect on Harvest Thanksgiving, we 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.”
Unfortunately, the demand on bishops’ Appeal funds has never been more urg4nt and acute. Specific focus is currently being put on the Syrian Refugee crisis (channelled through Tearfund and Christian Aid) which is arguably the biggest such crisis in the history of the world. In addition, the Appeal’s General Fund supports the following (in conjunction with strategic partners): Agricultural training and support in Ethiopia and Uganda (Christian Aid, CMS), HIV and holistic health programmes in India (Friends of Hope), human trafficking prevention and aftercare in Cambodia (Tearfund), Land rights for Indigenous People in Argentina (SAMS) and Gender based violence education and support in Zambia (US (formerly USPG)). It should be remembered that the current Chairman of Bishops’ Appeal, bishop Patrick Rooke, is “a son of” Tullow Rectory, and was our special preacher at last year’s Harvest Thanksgiving Service.
“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” Thessalonians 5:16-18
With every blessing,
Rev. John Tanner, Ph: 2893154 or 086 3021376