A couple of recent events on train journeys have inspired me this month. In the first, a couple of mums with pushchairs and loads of bags were alighting at a station, clearly having been shopping. They had chatted to each other non-stop on the journey and continued as the conductor helped them off-load pushchairs and bags before they went on their way down the platform still deep in conversation. As he got back on the train I heard the conductor mumble, "Well don't bother to say thank you, will you?!" In the second incident another young mum was getting off the train with a double pushchair. Someone waiting to join the train leant forward and helped lift the pushchair off and was rewarded with a lovely smile and profuse thanks for their kindness and help. Two very different responses to help being offered!
It is so easy for us to forget just how well provided for most of us are in material terms, and, therefore, easy to forget to say thank you to God for our many blessings. In terms of so many in the world we are greatly blessed and Harvest is a great time for us to catch up on our often missed opportunity to heap our thanks on God and to show our appreciation in practical ways!
It has been suggested many a time that the world can produce more than enough food so that no one needs to go hungry. The fact that so many in the world still go without an adequate and regular source of food and a clean source of water should haunt those of us who almost weekly see pictures on one programme or another of adults going hungry and children suffering the consequences of malnutrition.
Where political upheaval is the reason for such injustice then we can feel a sense of helplessness, but where the cause is of a more natural origin then at least we know that the aid agencies can provide a necessary life-line for those most in need, if they are well enough supported.
At this time of year when we celebrate the bounty of our harvests at home in our harvest festivals, where even in a bad year the worst effect on us the consumer is usually only price increases, it is easy to forget the increasing number of those in the UK, and yes, even in our own communities, who due to circumstances beyond their control and not of their making, find they have no food for themselves, or sometimes their children, for days at a time.
It is to help such people in crisis that Foodbanks have flourished in recent years at an ever increasing rate. I am proud that our church continues to support the Foodbank, though still deeply troubled and saddened that it is needed.
As we come to sing our beloved harvest hymns and songs let us truly give thanks that we are so well provided for and please can we not forget those across the world and in our own communities who are not so fortunate, and do everything in our power to do something to help them as a sign of our gratitude for all we have.
Stop Press We warmly welcome Rev Ong Soon Nguang as CCEMC Minister and his wife Xiao Ming who have come from Malaysia. (More details in next issue)