This Sunday we celebrate Harvest Thanksgiving. And as I quietly contemplate on what I might write, I watch dappled sunlight shifting through leaves stirred by a warm, soft and gentle breeze. Leaves that are already on the cusp of turning into beautiful and stunning shades of gold and brown as autumn creeps silently ever in. It reminds me in the beat of a breath, despite the seemingly constant bombardment of real but terrible news from TV, Radio and the Press, that I live in a truly beautiful, magnificent and inspiring world for which I should give real and constant thanks to God.
It reminds me that the seasons come in and go, year on year, whether we will them or not. It reminds me that we are simply custodians and stewards of the gift of God's creation. It reminds me that I am a tiny thread in a rich tapestry created by a master craftsman who, at the beginning of time, gave mankind stewardship of His creation. And so we remember and pray especially for all who work the land and produce crops or food or manage water that provides us with sustenance and leisure. May they always act sustainably for the good of all and be wise in their stewardship and care.
It is a time to give thanks that, over the last 20 years or so, the number of those who suffer hunger has fallen significantly. But there are still 795 million affected by hunger and poverty and so the challenge to our stewardship continues and we must sustain our efforts on behalf of future generations and for those now who are poorer, weaker, exploited and discriminated against.
And in my reflection and finding time to give thanks and while pondering on the responsibility we have to be ever active in our stewardship, I am reminded of a poem by Gerard Manley Hopkins. In it there is adoration; a questioning of mankind's contrition; a hint of supplication; and, most of all, Hopkins inspires a thankful hope that God's grandeur continues to charge us and hold us and all creation in His loving and merciful arms.
"God's Grandeur" - Gerard Manley Hopkins (1877)
The world is charged with the grandeur of God.
It will flame out, like shining from shook foil;
It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil
Crushed. Why do men then now not reck his rod?
Generations have trod, have trod, have trod;
And all is seared with trade; bleared, smeared with toil;
And wears man’s smudge and shares man’s smell: the soil
Is bare now, nor can foot feel, being shod.
And for all this, nature is never spent;
There lives the dearest freshness deep down things;
And though the last lights off the black West went
Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs—
Because the Holy Ghost over the bent
World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings.