September’s return from holiday and travel sets us back to work with the thanksgiving of Harvest. And in thanksgiving we might reflect on our needs and blessings, that which truly feeds and enriches us, that which truly offers fulfilment. So much today seems to break down our giving value to those who support us and strains our ability to support them, particularly when we think of our reliance upon our neighbours and our village communities. So much of what we take for granted in our enjoyment of village life these days seems under threat as fewer people are willing to give of their time or to take part. Village Halls, local clubs and community events as well the gatherings of the faithful in worship compete with a broadening horizon of individual interests and pursuits, and much of today’s aspiration demands more of our time to secure the income to afford them.
Perhaps the disciples faced similar pressures in their day, as the main source of income for their families and dependants, the harvest of their nets provided for their needs as well the growing demands of the Roman Empire. Rome’s advances in engineering and city life offered little to the settled Judaic rural community and neither Rome’s taxation nor even the Temple’s tax offered benefit to the rural settlements of Galilee. Yet Jesus’ calling of those fishers beside the Galilean sea enabled them to think beyond their being tied to mending their nets to give their all in building a new community after the promise of God’s Kingdom – ‘Follow me and I will make you fishers of people’ being Jesus’ call.
This call remains with us today, we who as those early disciples find ourselves tied to mending nets in providing for the growing demands of modern life. Our Harvest services remind us to be ready to answer and welcome those in this age who offer thanksgiving in reflecting on their needs and blessings. So it is our Churches offer welcome to all who feel caught up in the pressures of modern life, we hope our catch in faith may release us for more enriching work, that of a more rewarding Kingdom bringing blessing to home and village alike. May our daily prayer for God’s Kingdom come be seen at our hand, in your days and mine.
Yours in Christ
Bansfield Benefice Rector