From our Minister

From our Minister

We have something of a mixed blessing on the driveway of the manse. Bushes lining the driveway and going through into the rear garden have briars growing through the middle of them. As they have the sun shining on them most of the day the briars come through on our side: I’ve noticed there are no signs of them in the neighbour’s garden. Over the last few weeks, they have been laden with a heavy crop of blackberries.

It’s very convenient to be able to walk out of the front door and pick a dish of ripe blackberries: unfortunately, the briars are there for the whole year. When I trim the hedges and cut back the briars, the hedge looks tidy; for a short time. But the briars come back with a vengeance. Where there was one branch, once cut it becomes two or even three branches. Last year, I tried going to the root of the problem and cutting them off at ground level, and as they started shooting again poisoning them with Roundup. It didn’t work! Not sure what to do about it; I’m open to suggestions.

Last year we had a glut of apples, this year not so many. Walking in the fields behind the house there are damsons, apples, pears and rosehips in abundance all being left to fall and rot. All edible. We are in the season of harvest but so often the harvest displays are full of what we have bought from a store, not what we have collected ourselves from the fields or garden. This isn’t to criticise what we give as most of it goes to the foodbank to help those in need; but a question of why is so much of what grows around us
unused?

Some years ago, I visited a leper colony in Romania during harvest time. The villagers were collecting every item of food from field, garden and hedgerow in readiness for the long cold winter. There was an abundance; their problem was how to preserve the crops through the coming months. We had several thousand cases of army 10-man ration packs to distribute as we travelled. Much of what was in the packs was ignored; they didn’t seem impressed by army tinned curry or beans and sausages. Two items were very much appreciated: chocolate bars and 1lb tins of sugar. When the villagers found the sugar in the packs, they became excited. They opened all the packs they had been given and put the tins of sugar in a secure store. This would enable them to preserve many of the soft crops that would normally decay relatively quickly.

After the flood God made a promise:
While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, shall not cease.” Genesis 8:22

God’s over-generous provision in field, hedgerow, garden, supermarket is all a cause for us to praise and glorify him. But, in scripture harvest is also a time to share; to remember those who don’t have the means to enjoy the abundance. I like the notice Sevenoaks Larder, who we support, have on their web page:
“Our principles are simple: Fresh Food, Choice, given with Kindness & Compassion. We believe that a single action can make a difference in the community, and collective actions can make the world a better place.”

Let’s all work at making the world a better place

John