On Sunday afternoon, as part of our ecumenical Harvest Celebrations, I found myself contemplating on a hazelnut. Don’t worry, it’s not as uncomfortable as it might sound! In fact, it is a prayer practice traced to Julian of Norwich and the idea is a very simple but very powerful one. Take a small hazelnut into the palm of your hand. Find a quiet space to slow down and imagine the small thing in your hands as representing all that is created. Or the life of someone on your heart – someone you care for or are concerned for, perhaps. And through prayer, give thanks to God for creating them. Give thanks to God for loving them. Give thanks to God for keeping them. And slowly, quietly, silently even, begin saying the words with your mouth: made, kept, loved.
Ideally, this prayerful contemplation would take place in a quiet surrounding but the space I was in on Sunday afternoon was anything but! It was our ecumenical Harvest Celebration Family Fun Time. Organised by the local churches in the East End of Dundee, Douglas & Mid Craigie Church of Scotland, St Pius Roman Catholic Church and St Ninian’s Episcopal Church. The event was supported by Go For It funded project Stay & Play Family Support Project and so, as well as a space for prayer there were a number of interactive (and messy!) stations for children to build a rainbow of prayer, make playdough and learn about fair trade before we all sat down together for an lovely bowl of homemade pasta bolognaise!
Some of our ‘young at heart’ church members remember Harvests of their childhood when they would get a week off school to go out with the farmers and pick the potatoes from the surrounding fields. While those days are now gone, it is still important to give thanks for the food that we have and to seek justice where food poverty and exploitation in the food trade that exists in the world today.
Harvest is a time of celebration and an opportunity to be grateful for ‘our daily bread’. A time to thank God for all that has been created and for all those people in our lives that God has made. To give thanks for the care that God gives us. A time to give thanks for the love that God has shown us through Jesus – the love we are called to share freely and openly.
Trustee, St Ninian’s Stay and Play Family Support Project
About St Ninian’s Stay and Play Family Support Project
St Ninian’s Stay and Play Family Support Project (pictured above and below) are using a Go For It Main Grant to provide a healthy eating programme and play activities to develop the health, social/emotional well-being and communication skills of local families with young children.
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