Sunday 7 October 2012
There is an aspect of the gifts of the Spirit which we overlook. Paul calls the Holy Spirit a pleroma, a down-payment, or “sign in advance” of the good things which are to come with the in-breaking of God’s kingdom. Harvest gifts are that too, a sign in former days that we would survive the winter, and now that sufficient gifts are given us to continue to flourish.
Death hovers all around. As this newsletter goes to print two children appear to have been murdered by a violent father and a little girl is missing. Turkey’s wrath with Syria spills over into shelling. There are threatened food shortages on a grand scale in Africa while, even here, farmers face a difficult winter following this year’s actual and financial climate.
Against this backdrop harvest hymns may sound trite. Yet they sound an enormously important tune which we sing perhaps too infrequently in the modern church. The gifts given to us in this life are but a foretaste of the glory to come. A theology of pie in the sky when you die is morally distasteful. But a sense of gratitude that the unseen times, future purposes, and unimaginable outpourings of God’s love will overcome the world’s deaths is not. Today we express profound thanks for all that we have, but also in the Eucharist renew our trust that as Christ is risen from the dead, the first fruits of the harvest, so God, who is working to make all things good, healed, restored, alive, full, reconciled, will out of God’s very nature do so.
Revd Clare Herbert