Friday, 31 October 2008

Harvest Festival - 24

I'm not a fan of Hallowe'en, but I do rather enjoy the pumpkin lanterns! On Sunday we shall be celebrating the glory of the saints in light - all very different to this scary looking image!

Today many children will be attending the final day of the harvest celebrations at Wisley - pumpkin carving workshops! We must make sure that we Catholics don't get a reputation for being killjoys - it can all be harmless fun - it is just a pity that some youngsters (and adults) take things too far.

By the way, I know that this particular pumpkin was carved by someone who is a sinner through and through - you guessed it - the Deacon of Ham! Well, that's my chances of ever getting a red hat ruined, particularly as I note that 'someone' in Rome visited my blog earlier today.

Thursday, 30 October 2008

Harvest Festival - 23

Here we have a final shot of the main building at RHS Wisley - I really like those chimneys! The harvest celebrations were particularly splendid this year - which came as quite a surprise, as the summer had been a very disappointing one.

We shall be celebrating another Harvest Festival in church this coming Sunday - All Saints' Day.

Wednesday, 29 October 2008

Harvest Festival - 22

Although green is my favourite colour, I really admire the autumn colours of many trees at the fall. Here is a splendid specimen pictured in the bright afternoon sunshine at Wisley.

Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Harvest Festival - 21

Here we have a splendid dahlia bloom which I photographed at RHS Wisley.

I am very fond of these autumn blooms. The dahlias looked full of life - but they will be rapidly destroyed by the first frost of the year - which is forecast for tomorrow night. This should serve as a reminder to us all; we should always be ready to meet our Maker.

Today we remember St Simon and St Jude. May their prayers help us to join them in heaven. Happy Feast!

Monday, 27 October 2008

Harvest Festival - 20

OK - I know you cannot eat them, but..

I saw these lovely chrysanthemums at the harvest celebrations at Wisley. They were almost perfect blooms. I shall post some photos of the dahlias tomorrow.

Sunday, 26 October 2008

Harvest Festival - 19

Not everything grown at RHS Wisley is perfect - it is good to know that they have problems with some of their crops - just like the rest of us!

These tomato plants produced a bumper crop this year - though some of the fruits were destined for use in pickles rather than salads. Although the runner bean plants look healthy enough, I was told that they produced a rather disappointing crop this year.

When Jesus looks down on his Church today, I wonder how pleased he is with the fruits that we bear?

Happy Sunday!

Saturday, 25 October 2008

Harvest Festival - 18

Here we see some prize-winning parsnips and leaks at the autumn show.

Friday, 24 October 2008

Harvest Festival - 17

Potatoes are one of my favourite vegetables - I'm never too happy when they are missing from a main course. It must be due to the eleven years I lived in Ireland!

The birds have obviously enjoyed feasting on the sunflower seeds.

Thursday, 23 October 2008

Harvest Festival - 16

Another very colourful display at the RHS Autumn Show - you don't find all of these varieties in many supermarkets!

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

Harvest Festival - 15

Here are two more fine displays of harvest produce.

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

Harvest Festival - 14

Pictured above we see displays of the many varieties of apples which went into the 'Owl Mosaic'. These were all available in the marquee for tasting - and additional supplies could be purchased in the shop. The apples shown below didn't make the show! These windfalls are available for birds and animals to eat free of charge.

Monday, 20 October 2008

Harvest Festival - 13

Here we have two photos of the magnificent RHS Gardens at Wisley in Surrey.

Sunday, 19 October 2008

Harvest Festival - 12

I think the above design is brilliant - a mosaic of an owl - formed with thousands of apples! Each year the RHS does a new design. Perhaps they can do one of Deacon Peter in 2009 - yes, made with rotten apples! (Written before some cruel commentator comes up with the idea first.)

This years design was formed using thirteen different varieties of apple.

Happy Sunday!

Saturday, 18 October 2008

Harvest Festival - 11

I am aware that gladioli blooms are not edible - but here is a lovely floral display at the recent RHS Harvest Festival in London.

We thank you, God our Father,
For all your loving care;
We thank you that you made the world
So very bright and fair.
We thank you for the sunshine,
And for the pleasant showers;
And we thank you, God our Father,
We thank you for the flowers.

Out in the sunny meadows,
And in the woodlands cool,
And under every hedgerow,
And by each reedy pool,
And on the lonely moorland,
And by the broad highway
With colours bright, so pure and fresh,
They spring up every day.

And in the dusty city,
Where busy crowds pass by:
And where the tall dark houses
Stand up and hide the sky,
And where through lanes and alleys
No pleasant breezes blow,
Dear God our Father, even there
You make the flowers grow.

And whether in the city
Or in the fields they dwell,
Always the same sweet message
The sweet young flowers tell.
For they are all so wonderful,
They show your power abroad;
And they are all so beautiful,
They tell your love, O Lord.

Tomorrow we shall be going to the countryside - to the RHS Harvest Celebrations at their gardens at Wisley in Surrey. As you will see from the photos, the weather was magnificent - a real 'St Luke's Little Summer'.

Happy St Luke's Day!

Friday, 17 October 2008

Harvest Festival - 10

We plough the fields, and scatter
The good seed on the land,
But it is fed and watered
By God's almighty hand;
He sends the snow in winter,
The warmth to swell the grain,
The breezes and the sunshine,
And soft refreshing rain:
All good gifts around us
Are sent from heaven above;
Then thank the Lord, O thank the Lord,
For all his love.

He only is the maker
Of all things near and far;
He paints the wayside flower;
He lights the evening star;
The winds and waves obey him,
By him the birds are fed;
Much more to us, his children,
He gives our daily bread:
All good gifts around us
Are sent from heaven above;
Then thank the Lord, O thank the Lord,
For all his love.

We thank thee then, O Father,
For all things bright and good,
The seed-time and the harvest,
Our life, our health, our food.
No gifts have we to offer
For all thy love imparts,
But that which thou desirest
Our humble, thankful hearts:
All good gifts around us
Are sent from heaven above;
Then thank the Lord, O thank the Lord,
For all his love.

Thursday, 16 October 2008

Harvest Festival - 9

Here we have a fine display of apples at the RHS Autumn Show.

The cold wind in the winter,
The pleasant summer sun,
The ripe fruits in the garden,
He made them everyone.

All things bright and beautiful,
All creatures great and small,
All things wise and wonderful,
The Lord God made them all.

Don't be tempted!

Wednesday, 15 October 2008

Harvest Festival - 8

Praise, O praise our God and King:
Hymns of adoration sing:
For his mercies still endure,
Ever faithful, ever sure.

Praise him that he made the sun
Day by day his course to run:
For his mercies still endure,
Ever faithful, ever sure.

And the silver moon by night,
Shining with her gentle light:
For his mercies still endure,
Ever faithful, ever sure.

Praise him that he gave the rain
To mature the selling grain:
For his mercies still endure,
Ever faithful, ever sure.

And has bid the fruitful field
Crops of precious increase yield:
For his mercies still endure,
Ever faithful, ever sure.

Praise him for our harvest-store;
He has filled the garner-floor:
For his mercies still endure,
Ever faithful, ever sure.

And for richer food than this,
Pledge of everlasting bliss:
For his mercies still endure,
Ever faithful, ever sure.

Glory to our bounteous King;
Glory let creation sing:
Glory to the Father, Son,
And blessed Spirit, Three-in-One.

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

Harvest Festival - 7

Good is the Lord, our heavenly King,
Who makes the earth his care;
Visits the pastures every spring,
And bids the grain appear.

Good is the Lord, whose liberal hand
Is daily opened wide,
To scatter plenty through the land,
That all may be supplied.

Good is the Lord, it is his love
Which makes the earth to yield;
His clouds drop fatness from above,
He whitens every field.

Good is the Lord, his love should raise
A joyful harvest song:
Say 'He is good!' and let his praise
Be heard from every tongue.

Good is the Lord, he gives us bread;
He gives his people more,
By him their souls with grace are fed,
A rich, a boundless store.

Please remember my Mother (Jean) in your prayers - today is her 88th birthday.

Monday, 13 October 2008

Harvest Festival - 6

Holy is the seed-time, when the buried grain
Sinks to sleep in darkness, but to wake again.
Holy is the spring-time, when the living corn
Bursting from its prison rises like the morn.

Holy is the harvest, when each ripened ear
Bends before the blade and crowns the golden year.
Store them in our garners; winnow them with care;
Give to God the glory in our praise and prayer.

Holy seed our Master sows throughout his field;
Be the harvest holy which our hearts shall yield;
Quickened by his Spirit, strengthened by his grace,
Till in risen splendour we behold his face.

Glory to the Father, who has seen our need;
Glory to the Saviour, who has sown the seed;
Glory to the Spirit, giving the increase;
Glory, as it has been, is, and shall not cease!

Sunday, 12 October 2008

Harvest Festival - 5

To thee, O Lord, our hearts we raise
In hymns of adoration,
To thee bring sacrifice of praise
With shouts of exultation.
Bright robes of gold the fields adorn,
The hills with joy are ringing,
The valleys stand so thick with corn
That even they are singing.

And now, on this our festal day,
Thy bounteous hand confessing,
Upon thine altar, Lord, we lay
The first-fruits of thy blessing.
By thee thy children's souls are fed
With gifts of grace supernal;
Thou who dost give us daily bread,
Give us the bread eternal.

We bear the burden of the day,
And often toil seems dreary;
But labour ends with sunset ray,
And rest comes for the weary:
May we, the angel-reaping o'er,
Stand at the last accepted,
Christ's golden sheaves for evermore
To garners bright elected.

O blessed is that land of God
Where saints abide for ever,
Where golden fields spread far and broad,
Where flows the crystal river.
The strains of all its holy throng
With ours today are blending;
Thrice blessed is that harvest song
Which never hath an ending.

I think this hymn is absolutely superb.

Happy Sunday!

Saturday, 11 October 2008

Harvest Festival - 4

Praise and thanksgiving,
Father, we offer,
For all things living
You have made good;
Harvest of sown fields,
Fruits of the orchard,
Hay from the mown fields,
Blossom and wood.

Lord, bless the labour
We bring to serve you,
That with our neighbour
We may be fed.
Sowing or tilling,
We would work with you;
Harvesting, milling,
For daily bread.

Father, providing
Food for your children,
Your wisdom guiding
Teaches us share
One with another,
So that, rejoicing,
Sister and brother
May know your care.

Then will your blessing
Reach every people;
Each one confessing
Your gracious hand:
Where you are reigning
No one will hunger,
Your love sustaining
Fruitful the land.

I do like these harvest hymns!

Friday, 10 October 2008

Harvest Festival - 3

I had a job not picking the grapes!

God, whose farm is all creation,
Take the gratitude we give;
Take the finest of our harvest,
Crops we grow that all may live.

Take our ploughing, seeding, reaping,
Hopes and fears of sun and rain,
All our thinking, planning, waiting,
Ripened in this fruit and grain.

All our labour, all our watching,
All our calendar of care,
In these crops of your creation,
Take, O God: they are our prayer.

Lovely words by John Artlott (1914-91) who was a famous cricket correspondent on BBC TV.

Thursday, 9 October 2008

Harvest Festival - 2

Here is another magnificent vertical display at the Royal Horticultural Society Harvest Show.

For the fruits of his creation,
Thanks be to God;
For his gifts to every nation,
Thanks be to God;
For the ploughing, sowing, reaping,
Silent growth while we are sleeping,
Future needs in earth's safe-keeping,
Thanks be to God.

In the just reward of labour,
God's will is done;
In the help we give our neighbour,
God's will is done;
In our worldwide task of caring
For the hungry and despairing,
In the harvests we are sharing,
God's will is done.

For the harvests of his Spirit,
Thanks be to God;
For the good we all inherit,
Thanks be to God;
For the wonders that astound us,
For the truths that still confound us,
Most of all, that love has found us,
Thanks be to God.

Wednesday, 8 October 2008

Harvest Festival - 1

After acting as deacon at the Chapter Mass in Westminster Cathedral last night, I dashed to the Royal Horticultural Halls for their harvest celebrations. The displays of fruit, vegetables and flowers were magnificent, and after the closing bell was sounded many people stayed behind to sing their favourite harvest hymns. I was in my element!

Come, ye thankful people, come,
Raise the song of harvest-home!
All be safely gathered in,
Ere the winter storms begin;
God, our Maker, doth provide
For our wants to be supplied;
Come to God's own temple come,
Raise the song of harvest-home!

All the world is God's own field,
Fruit unto his praise to yield,
Wheat and tares together sown,
Unto joy or sorrow grown:
First the blade and then the ear,
Then the full corn shall appear:
Grant, O harvest Lord, that we
Wholesome grain and pure may be.

For the Lord our God shall come,
And shall take his harvest home;
From the field shall purge away
All that doth offend, that day;
Give his angels charge at last
In the fire the tares to cast,
But the fruitful ears to store
In his garner evermore.

Even so, Lord, quickly come:
Bring thy final harvest home;
Gather thou thy people in,
Free from sorrow, free from sin,
There for ever to purified
In thy garner to abide:
Come, with all thine angels come,
Raise the glorious harvest-home!

After all the hymn singing we were offered some complimentary cider to drink. I don't think I continued singing as I walked down Victoria Street towards Waterloo Station! I hope they have similar harvest celebrations in the Scottish Highlands.

Happy Harvest!

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

Psalm 122

This is a great song of ascent.

I rejoiced with those who said to me,
'Let us go to the house of the Lord.'

Our feet are standing
in your gates, Jerusalem.

Jerusalem is built like a city
that is closely compacted together.

That is where the tribes go up -
the tribes of the Lord -
to praise the name of the Lord
according to the statute given to Israel.

Tomorrow we shall start our celebration of Harvest Festival.

Monday, 6 October 2008

Psalm 1

This psalm contrasts two different paths of life.

Blessed are those
who do not walk in step with the wicked
or stand in the way that sinners take
or sit in the company of mockers,

but who delight in the law of the Lord
and meditate on his law day and night.

They are like a tree planted by streams of water,
which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither -
whatever they do propers.

Not so with the wicked!
They are like chaff
that the wind blows away.

Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgement,
nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.

For the Lord watches over the way of the righteous,
but the way of the wicked will be destroyed.

Sunday, 5 October 2008

Psalm 150

Here we have a splendid image for the Day of Resurrection.


Praise God in his sanctuary;
praise him in the highest heavens.

Praise him for his acts of power;
praise him for his surpassing greatness.

Praise him with the sound of the trumpet,
praise him with the harp and lyre.

Praise him with tambourine and dancing,
praise him with the strings and pipe.

Praise him with the clash of cymbals,
praise him with resounding cymbals.

Let everything that has breath
praise the Lord.


Happy Sunday!

Saturday, 4 October 2008

Psalm 84

Here we have a very suitable image for the Feast of St Francis of Assisi.

How lovely is your dwelling-place,
Lord Almighty!

My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the Lord:
my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God.

Even the sparrow has found a home,
and the swallow a nest for herself,
where she may lay her young - a place near to your altar,
Lord Almighty, my King and my God.

Blessed are they who dwell in your house;
they are ever praising you.

Friday, 3 October 2008

Late Summer in London - 7

Here is a final view of the floral displays in St James's Park. The fallen leaf is a reminder that summer is almost over! We'll have a few more postings on the psalms before I move on to Harvest Festival, which we shall be celebrating at St Thomas Aquinas, Ham tomorrow evening.

Thursday, 2 October 2008

Late Summer in London - 6

Here are two lovely floral displays in St James's Park. Soon they will make way for the planting of the Spring bedding.

Wednesday, 1 October 2008

Late Summer in London - 5

Here are some happy birds enjoying the afternoon sun as they swim in the lake in St James's Park!