From the Rector

October 2018

Ave atque Vale!

The famous Latin tag above (hail and farewell!) is by the Roman poet Catullus, and is from a poem in memory of the poet’s brother.

Perhaps a bit of hyperbole in the current circumstances, but it does express a sense of departure and longing. Here I am writing my last ‘From the Rector’ after all these years. I must say that the prospect of my imminent retirement has a slight sense of the unreal about it, since we are not moving immediately.

The Vestry has extended a very kind invitation for us to ‘house sit’ for the coming few months, possibly into the new year, which we have readily accepted. Our future abode, at this point, is known only to the Lord. Being able to stay on for a while gives us space and time to find something. Actually, we are praying that the Lord will lead us to the right place.

My ministry over the years as Rector here at Holy Cross has moved from being an appointment of duties and responsibilities to being a way of life. I’ve never been good at keeping the expected ‘professional distance’. All of you in the congregation are our friends, and not having the daily come and go of church life, officiating at baptisms, confirmations, marriages and funerals, of by now several generations, will be very greatly missed. Physically, I realise that it is past time for me to retire. My dodgy back is troublesome, and I am getting a bit tired. And Holy Cross definitely needs a younger priest and pastor.

Serving the people of the Church of the Holy Cross, Davidson’s Mains has been a very great blessing for Arabella and for me, and our daughters. My being the Rector here for such a long time is one of those things that happened. There was no plan (everyone well knows that plan-making and I are not well acquainted), just unfolding events, which in retrospect I have regarded as wholly Providential. And I trust and pray that the Lord’s guiding and leading will be strongly evident as a decision is reached about the next Rector. Arabella and I will continue to pray for all of you and the future of this church. After all, our time here has been virtually half of our lives.

Harvest Festival

I wish to say a word about Harvest Festival. Not what we will be doing on Harvest Sunday, but the idea of Harvest.

These days Harvest can have a very particular interest. It was introduced in England in the mid 19thcentury, and rapidly grew in popularity and parish observance, even coming to Calvinist Scotland. Basically it is thanks to God for his bountiful provision from the land, something that we have rather lost sight of. Its point is to acknowledge God as the creator and the provider of all things, especially our sustenance in the context of our environment. The Bible has a lot to say about that. Genesis

chapter one tells us that not only did God create the universe, the earth and the heavens which he declared to be his good creation, but he created mankind and gave the creation as a gift to Adam and Eve. In verse 28 God says to Adam, ‘Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, and every living thing that moves upon the earth’. The principal implication of that gift is that humans, the people of Israel particularly, are meant to live as stewards to use the gift with thanksgiving and with respect and worship to the Giver.

The Fall of Adam, his betrayal of trust and partnership with God, and subsequent expulsion from Eden means that the intended faithful stewardship of the earth failed. A covenant was established between God and mankind, in the person of Noah and every living creature after the flood in Genesis 8. He says in vv. 21 and 22, ‘I will never again destroy every living creature,…While earth remains seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night shall not cease’. God’s statement is in no way equivocal, but as with everything connected to mankind, God sees it as a partnership. He is faithful but are we? Sometimes it looks as though we may suffer the consequences of our failure.

God has created and maintained the natural order for our benefit. As Psalm 145 says, ‘The eyes of all look to you, and you give them their food in due season. You open your hand, satisfying the desire of every living thing’ (vv. 15 and 16). In the New Testament the principal element of created life, water, and the two principal symbols of human existence have been taken as the sacramental means of humanity entering into union with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, in Holy Baptism, and being sustained in that life by Holy Communion.

God gave the world to Adam; Adam was meant to receive the creation with thanksgiving, and by his obedience, care and stewardship to use the creation to the Lord’s glory, thus strengthening humanity’s relationship with God. But as we all know, that is not what happened. Jesus Christ has redeemed this fallen creation by his death and resurrection, and we as his servants and partners are as Christians called to live daily as faithful stewards of the immense gift of this world we inhabit, not only in the practical way of taking care of it, but in our own lives as faithful witnesses of Jesus Christ.

Yours in Christ Jesus,

Douglas Kornahrens


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