Fr. David's sermon
31st July 2005
'The Kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed that someone took and sowed in his field.' Mt. 13.31.
At this time of year if you go for a drive in the countryside the chances are that you'll get stuck behind a combine harvester on its way to harvest the wheat. Harvest time comes during summer, yet the Church celebrates it in mid autumn when all is long safely gathered in. It was not always so as choirboys might once have discovered.
Generations of choirboys faced the problem of how to amuse themselves during the duller parts of the service when they were not required to sing especially the sermon. A discreet comic could be read, a sweet could be sucked or the more obscure parts of the prayer book could be searched. Forms of prayer to be used at sea, the table of kindred and affinity, tables to calculate the date of Easter for the next two centuries or so; you will know the kind of thing. Nowadays we have neither Prayer Book nor Choirboys so no doubt the custom has ceased.
Searching through their prayer books they would have found 1st August described as 'Lammas'. The word is an Anglo Saxon corruption of Loaf Mass. On the 1st August bread made from the first of the newly harvested wheat was used for the sacramental bread in the Eucharist. (I wonder if Lammas Road in Watford has anything to do with this custom?) The celebration of Loaf mass was discontinued at the reformation. Cranmer only kept the name as a reference point in his calendar. There was to be no Liturgical observance of Harvest Festival until its Victorian revival. We can use Lammastide to remind ourselves of several important aspects of our faith.
So there you have it; three Lammastide messages, that our faith is intimately connected with everyday life, that we should be thankful in all things and that the first claim on all that we have is God's because he is the provider of all things.
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Comments about this site or problems? Contact Webmaster (Colin Richards) at firstname.lastname@example.org Last updated 01/08/2005 17:30 Author: David Shepherd