I love this time of year, although it’s colder and wetter, I love seeing the trees change colour, and the harvest time. When I was preparing my talk for Granny’s funeral this week, a picture kept coming up of a mighty tree, that had sadly fallen. She lived to 100 and I guess that’s the equivalent of about 300 if you are an oak tree. The picture came to mind of birds nesting, animals building their burrows in the roots, and of children and families picnicking underneath. A host of wildlife living in and amongst this tree, that would sadly have to find a new home now. Losing Granny is really sad, even though she’s been expected to die for a long time! We have a host of memories and experiences that are unlikely to happen again now she’s passed. It’s the end of an era in many ways.
From a spiritual point of view, I am thinking about harvest today, having been to a lovely service at Clifton Methodist Church,where we all shared a three course Sunday lunch to celebrate harvest together. The abundance of God’s gifts was on our minds, and I was really pleased to find this description in the Bible:
Daniel 4 v10-12
I looked, and there before me stood a tree in the middle of the land. Its height was enormous. 11 The tree grew large and strong and its top touched the sky; it was visible to the ends of the earth. 12 Its leaves were beautiful, its fruit abundant, and on it was food for all. Under it the wild animals found shelter, and the birds lived in its branches; from it every creature was fed.
In the Old Testament however, this was also referring to a King who was due to be overcome. Like a modern day football club going from winning the Premier League to facing relegation, (no guesses who we support), Daniel’s prophesy told of this tree falling and having to be cut down to the ground before it could regrow. I guess there are many institutions, and organisations today that we have at one time or another thought of as permanent, or intransient that have since proved not to be. The stock exchange before a crash, the Co-Op bank before a scandal, Politicians before they are elected, the list could go on.
In our personal lives, sometimes it’s hard to accept a situation has changed or moved on, even when it’s blindingly obvious to everyone else!
I am therefore reminded of both the huge generosity of God’s love and the centrality of God in our lives. He can supply this abundance for us but if we forget it’s a gift and start to see it as a personal or corporate achievement, the whole thing can come crashing down around our ears! As Christians we believe that Jesus his son was God’s ultimate gift to us, which was also a tragedy and a miracle all at the same time.