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Harvest Pastoral Letter 2022

A Harvest Pastoral Letter from Reverend Nigel Murphy

Bloomfield Methodist Church – Thursday 6th October 2022. Then he told this parable: ‘A man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came looking for fruit on it and found none. So he said to the gardener, “see here! For three years I have come looking for fruit on this fig tree, and still I find none. Cut it down! Why should it be wasting the soil?” He replied, “Sir, let it alone for one more year, until I dig round it and put manure on it. If it bears fruit next year, well and good; but if not, you can cut it down.”’ Luke 13:6-9 NRSVA. I can remember when attending a day release in-service course on social care, we were asked to draw ourselves as a tree! The request was perceived as peculiar by us but nonetheless we were expected to participate. Afterall, every teacher has their own style of promoting learning or self-awareness. Many of us did not aspire to be good at art and wondered how we could complete this task? This is something we felt we could not do on our own, even with all the resources provided from paper to colouring in pencils. However, we had no choice and the teacher’s request was pressed upon us! After completing our master pieces of artwork, we were then asked to place our pictures on the middle of the floor where the teacher deliberately mixed them all up. We were then asked to pick one picture, not our own, and describe the tree and who we thought the person was in the group. There were short, tall, thin, fat with bright and dull colours. I was very surprised by the level of attention my own picture received. In fact, it seemed to dominate the whole group for a period. Perhaps partly because I did not own up immediately to it being my picture. Why was my picture different from all the rest? I didn’t like the amount of attention it was receiving but it did because my picture was the only tree that bore fruit. I drew apples on it. While the other pictures blossomed in bright leafy colours no one else drew a picture of fruit. The fig tree in Jesus’ parable was expected to bear fruit. This tree had been growing in a vineyard for three years but produced no figs. It looked promising, nonetheless. The owner of the vineyard tells the gardener to cut it down but the gardener protests asking to care for it for one more year in the hope that it would bear fruit. The vineyard owner questions why should the tree use up the soil? The gardener replies, ‘leave it alone for one more year, and I will dig round it and fertilise it. If it bears fruit next year, fine! If not, then cut it down.’ The moral to the parable is that Jesus Christ expects his followers to bear fruit. Jesus is warning his listeners that God will not tolerate no fruit forever. God is patient with us and calls us to self-examine our lives! How do we do this? We ask ourselves what fruit we are bearing in the kingdom of God. Are we bearing any? The attitude of the gardener tells us something of the patience and mercy of our God. The tree is useless and does not deserve to be taking up the soil that it is planted in, but the gardener intercedes for it. We find hope in this story, realising that, while there is severity in the instruction to repent or perish, the grace of God does not give up on us. Our loving God helps us and enables us to be his disciples/followers who flourish and flower in his Kingdom – perhaps in unexpected ways. What fruit do people see in your life? Do people see the Lord Jesus Christ in you when you interact with your family and community? We can never underestimate the ways in which God works in our lives wherever we are and as a church community. It may take longer than three years for us to see the impact of God’s fruit in us on others. In our fast-moving changing culture, we need to take care of our own relationship with God and feed from him. We often try to do too much in our own strength and perhaps become too anxious of the future. God works in all things, and we will never fully know the harvest of fruit that our Lord reaps in our lifetime through the witness of the Holy Spirit. At this point of the letter, I usually take the opportunity to wish everyone a happy harvest but before I do that, I would like you to draw a picture of yourself or your family as a tree. I would be delighted if you felt able to share it with me. Our Harvest Worship Service is on Sunday 9th October 2022, 11am. To view the online services, go to: Bloomfield Methodist Church on Facebook or Bloomfield Methodist Church You Tube. Reah and I wish you a Happy Harvest of bearing fruit.

Peace be with you, your friend and minister, Reverend Nigel Murphy

Announcements Kids For Christ is for anyone from 3 years to 11years old. Bible Class is also available for older children. KFC is at 11am every Sunday. There will be Stories, Crafts, Games, Toys, Songs, Poems, Drama and More! There will be a breakfast club the last Sunday of each month at 10:30am. There will always be KFC leaders at church, you can drop them off, and pick up at 12. They will be in safe hands with familiar faces. Everyone is welcome in-person to our worship services at 11am and there is a creche facility for those younger families. Hospital Visits – If you have a family member, loved one or know of a member of the congregation who has been admitted to hospital for treatment, please let the minister know as soon as possible so a visit can be arranged. The minister can be contacted via email or manse telephone 028 90 651 810 or mobile 079 888 07 803. Please leave a message if I do not answer immediately! Pastoral Letters: If you would like your pastoral letters emailed in future, please send your email address to it is important that you give your name and postal address when sending your email so that we can identify you. The emailing of pastoral letters would help reduce costs for the church. Thank YOU in advance for your consideration and cooperation.


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