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October - November 2014

posted 21 Feb 2015, 04:27 by St. Thomas' Church Aboyne   [ updated 21 Feb 2015, 04:28 ]

There are certain points within the year which are touch-stones for me – times when I need to pause and take stock of what has gone so far and what is yet to come. Dream dreams. Early autumn is one of those times. One of my balancing points in the year is collecting some conkers. I delight in the wonderful rich colour of them as they emerge from their silky cocoon, nestled inside their spiky home. I like the feel of them, the smoothness as I run my fingers over them. I combine the joy of collecting conkers with the sheer playfulness of kicking my way through piles of leaves. Listening to the crisp crunch, and breathing in the scent of autumn. Watching the leaves dance down from the trees, sometimes in a sedate waltz, sometimes in a whirling polka. A few years ago, I left it too late – it was suddenly the end of September and I hadn't found time to go and enjoy myself. That was not a good year. I had become so absorbed in the doing that I forgot to be, to enjoy. This year I have already collected my first shining conker. It's rattling around in my car, where it gives me a small delight every time I look down and see it. There's still time for me to collect some more, though. This summer has whistled through at speed – we've had sunshine, floods, laughter and tears. Times of celebration and times of commemoration. And now we are approaching the time of harvest. I've been eating broad beans most of the summer, and am now hopefully getting to the final crop! I wonder what you've produced this year?

What do we have to show to God, to thank him for, to lay before him? Among the people of this area I see a wonderful harvest, a harvest of joy, of faith, of love, and of acceptance. What has happened in our lives this last year, since the last harvest? Can we identify one area in our lives where we have allowed and helped God to work, where there is some visible fruit? Have we become more tolerant of others? What is our relationship like with others? How’s our relationship with God nowadays? Have we developed the gifts that God has given us? What is our real harvest, that we’re giving thanks for? Only we know the answers.

The thing about a harvest is that it relies on someone sowing seeds, someone looking after the plants, watering them, supporting them, allowing them to grow, pruning them where necessary.

What are the seeds that are being planted at this time? What dreams do we have as individuals, as a church, for the future? No dreams means no future – no seeds means no harvest. Some people think dreaming is pointless – we ought to just get on with life. Think of what this world would be like without dreams. Do you remember Martin Luther King? “I have a dream …”

One of the essential parts of my job is the dreaming. Dreaming about what I’m aiming for, what I’m trying to achieve. Without a dream, I would never plant seeds. And even if I did, I wouldn’t have the enthusiasm to nurture them and look after them. Dreams are important – without them you have nothing to aim for.

I have a dream that the church will be refreshed and empowered. That next year at the harvest, we will see the fruits of our labour. That we will recognise each other’s gifts and skills. That our churches will once again be filled with life. That even more people will be worshipping here. I have a dream that one day, when people hear the name of Jesus, it will no longer be just an exclamation, but it will be a word of praise. That all will worship God. I have a dream. What’s your dream?

Without dreams, there is no hope, there is nothing to aim for. Without a dream, there will be no harvest. But if dreams are going to go anywhere, they must lead to action. Seeds must be planted, nurtured, and looked after, to bring a harvest. What seeds will you plant? What are you focusing on? What’s your dream?

Dream dreams. Plant seeds, talk to people, encourage people outside church, invite people to church, find out what people want from the church – not your church, God’s church. This will eventually produce a harvest, if we nurture it and look after it, and carrying on doing so.

With every blessing, Vittoria

Rev'd Vittoria Hancock