The Lambfold Benefice

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Welcome to the website of
The Lambfold Benefice

A group of five Anglican rural parishes

in the geographical centre of England




September, and the round of Harvest Thanksgivings is about to begin. Of course this year ‘All has been safely gathered in’ for weeks! Bumbling round the ‘patch’ in the trusty Land Rover over the last month and rounding a corner I have often encountered several magnificent (‘liturgical’) processions of ponderous agricultural machinery on the move, either tractors and trailers carting corn from the fields, carting bales of straw, or the ‘cathedral’ like structure of a combine and its escort on the move between one field and the next. For me there is something quite fascinating about agricultural machinery, (it’s probably the young boy in me that lurks just below the surface), and I don’t mind being stuck behind such things; and anyway in the grand scheme of things their stately and ponderous journey is of far more importance than mine.
However, judging by the impatience and bizarre driving antics of some other drivers when confronted with such things I appear to be in the minority; and I would hazard a wager by the facial expressions of some, that they are not mouthing songs of everlasting praise and thanksgiving for the farmers and their hard work, nor invoking the name of Almighty with positive and thankful hearts!
So here is a challenge. If you get stuck on our travels behind a combine, tractor and trailer, plough, or any other mysteriously shaped implement of cultivation, rather than being in a hurry to get past it as quickly as possible, take it as an opportunity for reflection, thanksgiving and dare I say it praise. Why? Because praising God for all that He gives us should become a matter of habit, we have much to be thankful for; and secondly we as a nation owe a huge debt of gratitude to the farmers who produce our food – often in challenging circumstances. We cannot and must not take national food security as a given. Climate change and population growth mean that it is more and more difficult to produce enough grain for the country’s or the world’s needs. Global markets will sell to the highest bidder regardless of need. Political mismanagement, global enterprise and the vagaries of the weather make an already challenging existence for many farmers more so.
So when you get stuck behind a tractor, take a deep breath, smile and wave at the farmer , and take that ‘small’ delay in your journey of supposedly ‘huge’ importance as an opportunity for your own private thanksgiving for harvest -in the comfort of your car! Give thanks for the work of the farmer and ask for God’s blessing on them, their families and their work.
(Oh, and if like me you enjoy gazing at farm machinery then go to the Blakesley and District Vintage Tractor show on the 1st and 2nd of September- see you there!)
Fr. Tim

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