As a child I grew up with two apple trees in our garden. In September my father and I would spend happy hours whacking the branches with a pole and trying to catch the apples before they hit the ground. The apples were bagged and given to friends and neighbours to make bramble and apple jelly, apple pies, crumbles and apple sauce.
When we moved to Lenzie I was delighted to discover an apple tree in the Manse garden. Fond memories of my late father come flooding back when the apples ripen and are ready for harvest. I am delighted that friends and church members can help themselves to the apple harvest and use the fruit to make something nourishing and delicious.
The apple harvest is a constant reminder to me of the rhythm and pattern of the seasons. Despite what is going on in our lives summer continues to give way for autumn, autumn for winter and so on. My father died suddenly four years ago but the seasons continue, the apples faithfully grow and ripen ready for Harvest each September. Initially I found this painful. It is hard to watch the rhythm of the seasons unfold when our lives are hit with unexpected tragedy and loss. As our lives become locked in pain or grief it seems almost callous that summer continues to give way to autumn etc. But it is also a reminder that despite what is going on in our lives, the power of the Creator continues to sustain the earth and all living creatures through the rhythmical unfolding of the seasons. Underneath what often seems like chaos to us, there is a greater sustaining love which faithfully carries us through.
Four years have passed and I am now able to pick apples from the apple tree with sweet memories and hope. God has sustained myself and my family and nourished us in love. The apple harvest serves as a powerful symbol of this. I also no longer dread the bleakness of winter as I know that winter will give way to spring when the apple tree will once again be covered in the most glorious of blossom. ‘Apple blossom’, which will point to the wonder of resurrection and Jesus’ most precious promise of life eternal.