11th October – Andrea’s Letter: Harvest Festival

16th October 2020

Dear All

Today we celebrated harvest festival.  The church looked lovely thanks to Helen who did a super floral display.  Harvest gifts were brought and displayed in the chancel.  James and Mary will take them to Elpis.

I will send a You Tube of the service in a separate email.  The two singers are Gail and Laura.  Laura at the back of the church and Gail singing from half way down the back stairs!  They sounded wonderful!!

Don’t forget next Sunday 18th October is the AGM.  It will take place immediately after the service in church.  I will send out a Zoom invitation later in the week for any one at home to take part.  We now have one vestry place to fill – anyone interest, please let me know.

Harvest Festival 2020       St Andrews Milngavie

Isaiah 25:1-9

Philippians 4:1-9

Matthew 6:25-34

Harvest festival is traditionally a time of thanksgiving.  We particularly give thanks for our food and for all who work hard to bring it to our shelves.  We also give thanks for God for his creation, our world. The beautiful country we live in and our part in maintaining it, our fight over climate change. This year, in a time of plague, we especially give thanks for all who worked during the lockdown in supermarkets and the food industry to keep us all fed.

It has certainly been a tough year for the country and indeed the entire globe.  It is times of crisis that often bring us up short: the priority of our lives are brought into sharper focus and start to count our blessings……… and we do have much to be thankful for….. indeed every cloud has a silver lining……I can think of at least two good things that have resulted in the pandemic.

One, there are so many more people out and about enjoying the countryside.  Mugdock, even on a weekday now is heaving.  Over the summer there was an endless procession of people walking down to the loch to swim.  A sight I’ve never seen before.

And secondly, many people it is reported have taken a renewed interest in cooking. Lockdown time has leant itself to shopping, following recipes, cooking, eating then oblivion by box set.

What we are doing is seeking comfort………

Mary Berry, our national cooking treasure, who has just been made a dame, has been running a series featuring her favourite comfort foods. What a joy it is – for Mary is comfort herself! Her inspiring manner, reassuringly old fashioned, but not fuddy duddy or dated in manner, has been sharing her portfolio of stews puddings and roasts.


In the bible Jesus also sought to bring comfort to his people.

“Come to me all who are heavy laden” he tells us “and I will bring you rest”

In this morning’s gospel he tells us “Do not worry” A fitting text for the world today.

This passage in Matthew’s gospel is part of Jesus’ sermon on the mount.  A sermon Jesus delivered to the crowds, people of all backgrounds including the poor and sick to bring them hope, love and comfort. Jesus delivers this sermon not out of any sense of reprimand and caution but out of love and concern for his people.

In his humanity Jesus knows how harmful and unproductive worrying is for us. And so, he addressed this very issue as he explicably says in verse 27  “Can any of you add one moment to his life span by worrying?”

We all know worrying for worrying sake cannot help any of us. In fact, it can damage our health, our relationships even our relationship with God and it steals the joy from our souls. So, what can we do?

We need to start by replacing worry with concern because concern and worry are not the same thing. Concern acknowledges that something needs careful thought and possible action.  Worry is given to consuming trepidation and anxiety. Concern gives way to planning. Worry gives way to fear. Concern leads to healthy attention. Worry leads to unhealthy anxiety.

So Jesus tells us 34, “Therefore don’t worry about tomorrow, because tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

 “Consider the birds of the sky: They don’t sow or reap or gather into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Aren’t you worth more than they?”

So, God provides for his creation!

But how much more does God provide for the pinnacle of His creation: human beings, us!  So, he tells us ” But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you.”

In the epistle Paul takes up a similar theme in his letter to the Philippians  “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”    Philippians 4:6-7

We are invited to expel our anxieties and bring everything before God to receive his comfort through the act of prayer.

In a moment we will receive the Eucharist – the word itself meaning thanksgiving – and we will in the presence of Christ gives thanks for each other, for our harvest and for this great  holy mystery which transcends all our earthly needs and anxieties.

As the prophet Isaiah said:

“The lord has been a refuge for the poor,

    a refuge for the needy in their distress,

a shelter from the storm and a shade from the heat……….

     he will swallow up death forever.

The Sovereign Lord will wipe away the tears from all faces;

he will remove his people’s disgrace from all the earth.

In that day the people will say, “Surely this is our God;

    we trusted in him, and he saved us.

 let us rejoice and be glad in his salvation.”