A letter from the Vicarage – Rev’d Andy Stand

During a recent conversation with someone over coffee after one of our services, they declared that each morning they say “Thank You” to God that they have woken up and are alive!

Later this month (13th) we will hold our Harvest Thanksgiving services: our annual opportunity to think about and thank God not only that we are alive but for the gifts of God that are the fruits of our, and/or someone else’s labours, are the products of the earth and of industry, and that sustain us in our lives.

I wonder whether there is anything in particular that you are thankful for.

Currently, I am very thankful, for medicines that have been keeping both myself and Chris my wife going after recent infections. Indeed in Chris’ case we are not just thankful for the medication etc. that she has received but for the care and skill of the surgeon and his team, for the nursing staff and for all who have cared, and are caring for her (at the time of writing she is back in hospital!) following her recent operation.

I guess, I am even more thankful for, and more aware of our need for such medicines, and am aware that we should not and cannot take them for granted, given the warnings that are being given about the availability of such supplies, in the increasingly likely event of the UK leaving the EU at the end of the month without a deal, and formalised trading relationships with our current EU partners.

Such should be our thankfulness for those things we count as harvest.

But what of other things that we may not so readily consider as being harvest? That we might not so readily give thanks for at this time of year?

I expect if I were to raise that question of there being anything that you are particularly thankful for at the moment. Many of you might think of family and/or friends. We might be thankful for relationships, and for the love and support of others. I might even be as bold as to suggest, that we are thankful for the love that is the fruit of the harvest, fruit of the time and commitment and energy that we put into of our friendships and family relations.

These harvests should likewise not be taken for granted, and we should be thankful for them. We should always do what we can to build one another up. We should treasure our relationships and consider them to be the precious commodities that they are. We should be willing to walk, metaphorically, in the shoes of those we disagree with, in order that we may not squander the harvest of our relationships one with another.

And when these things become too difficult, or too intractable for us to cope with on our own, we should always remember that we journey together in the grace and goodness of God.

And that it is God to whom we give thanks for His faithfulness. His faithfulness in the rising of the sun and it’s setting each day; in the gift of life that He sustains each day; in the deaths towards which we journey with Him (and to be with Him) each day; and the gifts of the others we journey with, each day.

May we not take them for granted but be truly grateful for them, in the knowledge and love of our generous and loving God.

Every blessing

Revd. Andy Stand

St. Philip & St. James Parish Church Whittington, Worcs. WR5 2RQ