From The Rev’d Brian Wood – Sept. 2018

Brian Wood

When does Autumn start- has it already? Has ‘summer’ ended?- at least this year we can feel we have had some summer. According to the Met Office the ‘meteorological autumn’ runs September  1st to the end of  November.  The equinox (equal day and night lengths- 12 hours each) occurs September 22nd/ 23rd– a date significant to astronomers, and astrologers too. What about ‘quarter days’?- Lady Day, Midsummer, Michaelmas (29 September), Christmas Day. What about Harvest?

According to that post-modern oracle Wikipedia: ‘Harvest festival is traditionally held on the Sunday near or of the Harvest Moon. This is the full Moon that occurs closest to the autumn equinox (22 or 23 September). The celebrations on this day usually include singing hymns, praying, and decorating churches with baskets of fruit and food in the festival known as Harvest Festival, Harvest Home, Harvest Thanksgiving or Harvest Festival of Thanksgiving’. Look out for dates for harvest thanksgivings and suppers for our parishes in the ABC!

Time- where does it go? Where does it come from? Is there a start of time? … an end? I’m hoping that you have managed some time off/ out/ away over the summer. With seasons and calendars in mind, the church marked 6th August as ‘the Feast of the Transfiguration’ when some of Jesus’ disciples (Peter, James and John) went up a mountain and had a ‘mountaintop experience’- seeing Jesus as he is- the son of God. They descend to the plain transformed, refreshed. I hope you will have had some time of refreshment, recreation, re-minding, regaining perspective, seeing new horizons, maybe from as clifftop, or on the beach.

Apparently the autumn is a time people think about new jobs, or about giving up jobs, maybe to ‘find themselves’ or pursue new or long-held ambitions, aspirations, ideas, dreams, plans, freedom from plans. John Henry Newman, the priest, poet and hymn-writer (‘Praise to the holiest in the height’) was pilloried (and unforgiven) by some for leaving the Church of England for ‘Rome’, following his conscience. Whatever we may think about ‘church’ and our preferences for or against new hymns, old hymns, ‘traditional’ language, incense, vicars, vestments, investments, … we can easily be distracted from the important things- like loving our neighbour, doing the right thing.

A quote attributed to Newman (‘feast day’ 11th August):

“God has created me to do Him some definite service. He has committed some work to me which He has not committed to another. I have my mission. I may never know it in this life, but I shall be told it in the next. I am a link in a chain, a bond of connection between persons.
He has not created me for naught. I shall do good; I shall do His work. I shall be an angel of peace, a preacher of truth in my own place, while not intending it if I do but keep His commandments.
Therefore, I will trust Him, whatever I am, I can never be thrown away. If I am in sickness, my sickness may serve Him, in perplexity, my perplexity may serve Him. If I am in sorrow, my sorrow may serve Him. He does nothing in vain. He knows what He is about.”

Autumn: a time for starts and restarts at school, college, uni … let us think of and pray for our young people that they too may be encouraged in their dream and ambitions, not just grades.

Rev Brian Wood

Chesterton Rectory
01869 369815