Sunday, September 13, 2009

Thought for the Day

Fields of barley are now being cut - with combine harvesters out in the fields late into the evening. The wet summer created sodden fields but, with the tops of the Beech trees starting to change colour, we suddenly have reasonable weather.

Climbing the crest of the hill towards Perth, recently, I noticed all the white fields in the distance. Lots of people have taken a calculated risk and planted barley. They may find their crop fed into distilleries and breweries for top dollar or…. happy farm animals may end up chowing-down on top grade barley sold at bargain prices because there's too much of it around.

Good skills and livelihoods are at risk.

We're moving into Autumn now, with yellows and ochre tones in the ascendant. Plant life is mature – heavy headed, rich and filled with promise. Other generations regarded this time as the crowning glory of the year – not merely the harbinger of winter.

For Episcopal clergy in the Diocese of Edinburgh, November brings our annual Conference in Pitlochry - the forest there in stunning Autumn array. Many of us are in our 50's. We were trained by clergy who were around at the end of the 2nd World War who were themselves trained by the generation that saw the men going off to the 1st.

Quite a chain of experience.

We arrive with our little suitcases and mixed success in our congregations – some "gathering in" growing numbers on Sunday mornings – some in churches where growth has been a challenge. Our skills aren't always valued or understood in the way we might hope –the retelling of Sacred Stories and the proclaiming of hope based on events which took place long ago. Prayer beside hospital beds, school assemblies, timely conversations in village precincts.

What would our forebears have to say?

They'd probably take issue with how we do things.

But they would remind us, at the same time that, like the farmer, we are not completely in charge of how things work out.

We ply our trade in hope and faith and not in complete certainty.

Audio available HERE for a limited time
TFTD begins at 1:22.05 on the audio bar