I have really missed posting on the blog over the last 3 months or so.
In that time I have moved house & workplace, and had a break from preaching. However I will soon be back in the saddle (so to speak), beginning with a harvest service on October 6th.
Also, we have started 'office prayers' each week, where we have been looking at the lectionary gospel reading for the coming Sunday, so I'm getting back into the habit of looking at the lectionary, rather than simply attending worship and finding out what the readings are!
In the URC prayer handbook for this coming Sunday there were 'Harvest' readings, so I think I'll start with that - Mark 4: 1-9 - the parable of the sower. Except it isn't, is it, it's not just about the sower.
Of course if the seed had stayed in the bag there would be no harvest, so the sower plays a part - but the real story comes when the sower has done his bit & gone home. It's circumstances that produces the different harvests - the 'parable of different sorts of soil' might be a better title. For a sharer of the gospel it reminds me that I can only do 'my bit' - that circumstances and God have to be left to do their bits too.
This is a timely reminder for our physical harvest - we should be thankful to those who produce our food, but also to God, who does most of the tending and watering! (We plough the fields & scatter the good seed on the land, but it is fed and watered by GOD's almighty hand)
But it also applies to our spiritual work - we love others as best we can, we share the good news of God's love with them as best we can - but we also have to wait for the growth which comes from God alone - both in the fields of our own hearts and in the hearts of others. Or as one of my new colleagues put it very pithily 'Plan as if it's all down to us; pray as if it's all down to God'.