By Ron Lucas
Harvest is always a special time of the year in country churches; and at Ashley Methodist Church there is always a special effort made to decorate the church with the fruits of the harvest and flowers for Harvest Festival. So it was last Sunday morning, and Keith Harrison welcomed our preacher Mr Mark Savill to lead our worship plus the children from our Junior Church. Mark’s call to worship was taken from the Book of Genesis, chapter eight, as he recounted God’s promise “as long as the world exists there will be a time of planting and a time for harvest, there will always be cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night”.
We sang the traditional harvest hymn “Come, ye thankful people, come, raise the song of harvest-home” before our prayer of praise and thanksgiving for all God’s gifts as set out before us, the food to be delivered later to the foodbank. Mark on his guitar led a further song of thanks for the everyday food we often take for granted before the children led our worship which included poems, prayers, and a reading of the parable of the Sower and the Seed as told by Jesus in Matthew, chapter 13, read by Izzy, Finley and Francesca, followed by a prayer from Henry.
“Summer, Winter, Springtime and Harvest, shall not fail” was the theme taken by Mark in his talk to a responsive large congregation, summarised to include five parts. First, God provides all we need; we need to give thanks for all we receive; harvest reminds us to be content with what we have even though there have been difficulties during the pandemic; harvest reminds us to share with others as did the early church; finally, harvest reminds us that to reap we must sow and our parable from Matthew tells us about the Kingdom of God and that some hear the message of God, respond and embrace it and others turn away. May our choice be to respond and embrace the love of God. We closed with another great harvest hymn “We plough the fields and scatter the good seed on the land” after which Mark gave the blessing.