As I write, the freezer is bulging with raspberries and blackberries, and there are sacks of potatoes and onions in all kinds of stashes around the house. There is jam and wine in the pantry. It has been a good year (if we ignore the courgette disaster!), and as the church’s season of Creation draws to an end and we celebrate Harvest, I am duly very thankful indeed!
Down on the allotment, however, things are looking a bit drab. There are some runner beans still growing, but the broad bean stalks and the peas are black and withered, and there is bare soil where the onions and potatoes have been dug. Much of it looks dead. The swallows are gathering on the telegraph wires, the butterflies are disappearing, the bees are seizing those last few sips of nectar from the late flowers, and everything is slowing down. It’s that time of year: everything needs a rest.
In our church year, too, once harvest is past and advent is still to come, death and darkness seem to be the theme. We’re drawing close to All Souls’ Day and Remembrance, those moments of quiet grief that we mark annually. We remember those we have known who have gone before us, and those who gave their lives for the life we live. It is right to acknowledge our sorrow and others’, to mark our loss, and as the year darkens into winter, it feels as if all God’s creation marks it with us.
Our season of creation is drawing to a close, but in the cycle of the church’s year we will celebrate it again. We are a church of the Resurrection, and we know that however dark it grows, light and life will come again – first in the celebration of Christmas, and then in the joy of spring and Easter.
And it will come again sooner than we think – better get the seed catalogues out!