A Time of Gathering In

All signs point to it. This is a time for gathering in. Nature’s harvest where we live is nearly complete for the year. We’ve had our spring berries, the abundance of summer fruits and vegetables, and now the apples and pumpkins and squash. Our harvest is nearly complete.

Last week I overheard a woman at one of the local farmers’ markets ask a vendor if he would be back next Saturday. He assured her that he would, but only for the next couple of weeks. Then no more until next spring.

 In the background of this fall season, nature has graced us with a landscape of blazing colors. It is as if we have been living on the canvas of a painting only God can create. Nature’s colors have been incomparable these past weeks.

 And in the church, now only two weeks from the end of another liturgical year, we see signs of a time of gathering in. We work to complete our season of financial pledging as we bring and dedicate the fruits of our own personal harvest to the glory of God.

 The foundational instruction for the sharing of such bounty is recorded in Deuteronomy 26: “ . . . you shall take some of the first of all the fruit of the ground, which you harvest from the land that the LORD your God is giving you, and you shall put it in a basket and go to the place that the LORD your God will choose as a dwelling for his name. . . . [and] celebrate with all the bounty that the LORD your God has given to you and to your house.”

 We are invited to savor this joyful and thoughtful time of year, this time of gathering in, even as a nation grateful for God’s Providence. Soon we will sit around our Thanksgiving tables with family, friends, and loved ones, acknowledging God’s care these past months and years. I pray that we all may experience a profound sense of gratitude for God’s blessings among us, gathering them in together as a prayer of thanksgiving without end.