Harvest Time at St. Stephen's
We bless you,
God of Seed and Harvest
And we bless each other
That the beauty of this world
And the love that created it
Might be expressed through our lives
And be a blessing to others
Now and always
How often do we bless God for the gifts we have? For the changing season from (what this Chicago guy would say was dreadful) summer to autumn - do we bless God?
I think we probably do in our own ways, be it an outright “thank you God” to a more subtle thank you. More subtle in the way in which we take longer walks to feel the crisp air or enjoy a trip apple picking or to the pumpkin patch. I love autumn - I love the change of leaves. The cooler air. The brisk winds. It reminds me that the creator is always creating; the redeemer always ready to redeem us; and the sustaining Spirit always blowing keeping us mindful of the beauty and love of God.
The harvest is a time when we bring in things that have been scattered - the reaping of the seeds scattered after winter. We do this with an image of wheat and corn and such, but what about us? Can we be a harvest unto God? Can we, those scattered out in the world be brought back in for renewal, refreshing, and preparation to be, once again, scattered out in the world?
That’s a great image of the church - brought in, only to be scattered out again...then brought in again for renewal. We are also part of this cycle of seasons, we are also part of the great harvest going on right now. We are (hopefully) being brought back into the church, together, to prepare for the coming year. The harvest marks a change in weather, in the color of our trees, and also a prelude to the end of the church year. At the end of the harvest (end of November for us) begins Advent, a time of joyful preparation for the coming light in the time of longer nights and shorter days.
To begin this harvest time at St. Stephens, you may see the cornucopia on the altar. While a quaint autumn decoration, let it serve as the cornucopia of our church. The cornucopia, or horn of plenty, is an ancient symbol from classical antiquity that represents abundance, nourishment, and unending goodness. On October 9th we are once again entering into our Mission Sunday, a time when we turn in our pledge cards and commitments to the mission of St. Stephen’s. I encourage you to join in the submission of an annual pledge to St. Stephen’s - especially if it is your first time doing so! What this means to the church is not endless abundance in Christ, we were already given that in the life and death of Christ. What it means is a chance for us to all be taking part in this harvest in joyful preparation for the scattering of the church into the world - in mission - to seek out God’s voice calling to us. A pledge, is just that. It does not have an amount or price or percentage attached. A pledge can be any amount, and truth be told, no amount is ever too small! The pledge is between you and St. Stephen’s. It’s a pledge that you will be part of this place and mission and more importantly, it’s a pledge that St. Stephen’s will also be a blessing to your life and faith.
You see, the horn of plenty that is St. Stephen’s is not produce or flowers or endless cash. Our cornucopia is the people, you and me. We may be a small congregation, but much like the mythical cornucopia that keeps abundance flowing - we too are kept flowing abundantly throughout the coming year.
Won’t you join in celebration on the 9th of October?
When you turn in your pledge card, perhaps consider turning in one additional thing - a prayer, concern, hope or dream. You can write it on a piece of paper, on the card itself, or comment on this blog post. I encourage you to seriously add this one little thing, and together let us pray for those hopes, dreams and requests together as a community.
Yours in Christ,