A Time to Gather
As you drive through the countryside, it is not hard to identify the season of the year. Farmers are busy harvesting their fall crops, making the last cuttings of hay, and harvesting their corn. The harvest will be stored away in barns and silos, made ready to see the animals through another winter.
Those of you who have gardens are busy as well, taking off the last of the vegetables and preparing your home garden for its rest through the winter.
I am not sure how many people still "put up" produce from their gardens. I know that when Sharon and I lived in Virginia we canned and froze lots of vegetables that we raised in our garden. The three tomato plants Sharon and I planted on our hillside garden yielded abundantly, so much so that we canned dozens of pints of soup.
Have you ever stopped to think about the concept of harvesting? Harvest is an important part of life in a region where one experiences drastic changes in the climate. In most parts of the world, if you live near the equator, the growing season is practically year-round. If there is sufficient moisture, you can grow crops 365 days a year.
This is certainly not the case for this part of the world. There was a time, perhaps some of you can remember it, when you had to store foods in order to have something to eat during the winter. Vegetables were canned or frozen, and hogs and beeves were butchered and stored in smokehouses, ready to feed the family during the cold winter months. This is not a present reality thanks to the modern day grocery store.
Harvest time was an important part of the rural life. It was a time of preparation, a time of celebration. It was a time when families worked together in a shared labor, preparing for the cold months ahead.
Even though the majority of us do not need to engage in a physical harvest, we still need to be concerned about our spiritual harvest. When times get tough and life gets cold, will you have sufficient spiritual nourishment to see you through these rough times? There will be times in all our lives when we will have to call upon the depths of our faith in order to endure the winters that life has to offer. In order to endure, we all need to store up enough "spiritual food" to see us through.
You may have heard people ask, "What is the point in going to church?" You may have even asked the question yourself. As your pastor, I see the church experience as a "spiritual warehouse" where we come and are fed, where we come and are nourished by God's Word. Many times Jesus used the imagery of eating to illustrate the importance of spiritual growth. The Lord's Supper is not only symbolic of the sacrificial nature of God's love, but of our need as brothers and sisters in the faith to stay in constant fellowship with one another.
My hope and my prayer for you is that you are being fed spiritually at St. Luke’s. I hope you are finding all the nourishment of a spiritual nature that you are seeking. If you are not, please let me know how I can help.
As we approach the season of harvest and thanksgiving, let us all be mindful of our own need for spiritual nourishment. As we face the cold winters that lay before us, let us rest assured that we will have the strength to endure.
God's Blessings, Pastor Pat