September musings

As I sit here, the golden sun is streaming through the window and there is a warm breeze floating across the green and gold fields. Nil scamall sa spéir and all is right with the world. There is however a low rumbling in the distance, of combines and heavy machinery working in the grain store across the river. This is the result of the winter barley coming in, which tells us one thing, that Autumn is surely coming. Which in turn means one thing to your local clergy….Harvest Festival. It is in fairness probably one of the defining liturgical events of the Church of Ireland’s year. It is a point in the year around which other things are navigated, ‘sure we will have the vestry meeting after harvest’, or ‘lets get the painting done before harvest’. This makes the date of harvest quite important and since there is no set date, there is always room for ones own interpretation, which in itself is beautifully Anglican. It can also be an oppertunity for what my father calls ‘A full and frank exchange of opinion’. In some parishes there are fairly set dates, in others more of a floating idea. When I recently told the parishioners in my own patch about the harvest plans, I got a range of reaction. Just like with the three bears, some thought it a bit late, some thought it too early and one or two kind souls told me that they thought that it was just right. For those who thought it was early, they may have been thinking that it is still summer, stop hurrying the year along, there are after all some who take their Summer holidays at the end of the season and may not want to hear about such things till after they come back. Others clearly want to make hey while the sun shines, get it over and done with, have something else off the ‘to do’ list. They may have felt I was leaving it late. May be it depends on what sort of farming you do, what you grow may influence when you think harvest should be. However if you grow stuff you know one important thing, plants can’t read calenders. If you want to know when to pick sometimes you just have to look. Sometimes it may seem early, some times late but as my mum used to say, ‘it’ll be ready when its ready’. It seems to me to be very Anglican to have a church feast that is not so pinned down, one that can be set not in stone but enjoyed when ripe. So maybe we shouldn’t worry about it too much, comedians and drummers need a good sense of timing, maybe we should have more of a sense of eternity, so we don’t feel the need to slow things down or speed them up but can take them as they come. When I ‘consider the lilies of the field’ that is what they say to me, that and perhaps to have a sense of eternity enough to enjoy the ‘now’.

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