As we celebrate harvest it sometimes feels like one last look back at goodness. But then in the midst of short days and long nights, as rain falls upon rain, and scraping frost from windscreens becomes as routine as breathing, I for one, will open the freezer, defrost stewed apples and make my favorite crumble. Truth is that the fruits of harvest will come alive for me when I need them most.
Harvest is a time to pause and give thanks. In giving thanks our confession is that God is not only the creator of all things but the sustainer of all things. Sustaining is not just more of the same but God’s hand in the constant unfolding of creation; new breeds of plants, new flowers blossoming, new relationships formed, new jobs, new starts.
Towards the very end of the bible St. John has a dream which is, in many ways, beyond his words yet at the same time must be articulated for it has within it a beauty and truth we must at least begin to hear. In the midst of that dream John recognizes God as one who is ‘making all things new’. That for John and for us is the truth of the resurrection that the very nature of God can not be contained by the sometimes dark valley’s of life.
At some crazy point in history many of us bought into the idea that God (or more precisely ‘the gods’) would make things better in some far flung place we might choose to call ‘heaven’. The deep shame of the church has often been its blissful turning from injustice favoring the easier belief that al would be well in the next life. It’s a way of thinking which owes more to Greek Hellenism than God’s revelation in either the person of Christ or the history of ancient Israel, yet it has crept up on us like a dodgy cold.
The one problem with such thinking is that it is utterly hopeless and never ‘good news’. John’s confession, his call, his truth, his good news, is so much more than this. The confession of his life and ours is that God cries out to people in the autumn of their lives, “making all things new”. With our finger tips we grasp to the truth that even in our suffering God’s love will endure, even in the darkest moments of our lives there is the possibility of new beginnings.
So, if you’re in a tough place this autumn, if life doesn’t make sense and your carrying hurt may you know the presence of God who does not deny your pain but is with you in the very midst of your tears and will not allow this hell to determine who you are; a precious child of God.
Amazing truth to be remembered next time you enjoy an apple crumble on a cold winter’s day.