October 2019

As we celebrate harvest this month, let’s cultivate thankful hearts!

What do you think of this story? One Christmas a mother decided not to remind her children to write thank-you notes for the gifts they received. As a result, they never sent their grandmother acknowledgements of the generous cheques she had given. The next year, things were different, however. “The children came over in person to thank me,” the grandmother told a friend. “How wonderful!” the friend exclaimed. “What do you think caused the change in behaviour?” “Oh, that’s easy,” the grandmother replied. “This year I didn’t sign the cheques.” Ouch!

But it’s not just children, is it? I think adults are perhaps worse. We might say thank you, but so often we are discontented with what we have, and feel life has cheated us in one way or another.

At St Mary’s School this term, I have been helping the children to think about cultivating thankful hearts – with the slogan “a thankful heart is a happy heart”. We’re actually growing a thankful heart in a pot. We put in the seed of prayer, asking God to make us thankful. We added the soil of faith, believing in God’s goodness. And we are watering it with hope and letting it grow in the warmth and light of God’s love. It’s growing beautifully and is now covered in the children’s “thank- you” prayers.

And as the harvest is gathered in, this is the season to be thankful for all the wonderful things we enjoy in life. So, on Sunday 13th October we have our Harvest Festival service at the usual time of 10am. It includes, of course, a special harvest Little Fishes session during the service, with a Bible story and craft activities. Come and give thanks – and join in a rousing chorus of “We plough the fields and scatter”. Then there’s a special harvest lunch afterward in church – all are welcome.

But before that, of course, we will be delighted to welcome the Tetbury Music Festival to St Marys’ Church again this year. The special Benefice Music Festival Eucharist on Sunday 6th October at 10.30am is a real treat. And it will be my last service before I go off on a three-month sabbatical (returning in mid-January 2020). So, I hope lots of people can come along – with something nice to drink in the Vicarage afterwards to mark the occasion.

If you’ve read this far then … thank you!

With love and prayers, Poppy