October is here. This seems to be my favorite time of the time of the year. It could be the color pallet the HE puts out for us, the crisp refreshing air, the football season, October baseball, but I know what it is for me. It is the harvest and all of HIS blessings HE has bestowed on us.
I remember well as a young boy going to a Father/Son banquet at church (very common in the 50's) when I watched with interest a man of my dad's age who would take a fork full of food, say a prayer and then eat it. This was repeated all through the meal. Finally, with the curiosity of a 7 year old I asked my dad "why does he pray before every bite of food"? His answer has never left my mind; he was lost in Europe during the war and almost starved to death and he thanks God for every bite of food since he returned from the war ever since". What an ordeal this soldier must have gone through to make that a ritual for his lifetime. A prayer before every bite, just think about it! How do we do compare to that?
When I was younger and going to college, my mom and I were on welfare and commodities (ingredients and a cook book). One Christmas we had carolers come to the house and received a Christmas box of food. It was chilly in the house as fuel was running low and times were tough as mom had cancer and I was working and going to school full time. I ate lettuce sandwiches and drank hot water, but I always thought of that man who kept saying his prayer before each bite. Every year at this harvest time, I especially focus on that man I saw in 1956 and reflect on how blessed we are. Most of do not go hungry, most of have friends and are never alone, most of us are warm with the comforts HE has provided.
Where am I going with this? We have been given so much and yet have so much more to give. We have the gift of nourishment as evidenced by our Harvest. Food is the sustenance to continue HIS work, to do good. This wonderful Fraternity of ours exists in a big part to continually drive us to do good for the sake of goodness using the sustenance of food he has provided for our nourishment. Many do not understand the depth of our teachings that come out the Volumes of Sacred Law. We spend time with others who feel the same desire to continue to do good works and above all "love on another". Harvest time is that time of year when we should all remind ourselves of what the harvest is all about, to continue HIS work. Spend time with each other, talk to each other, celebrate life, make plans for continuing our tasks of spreading "goodness" and "continuing to become a Mason". We need the nourishment for us to continue to grow as individuals and to be the examples as role models for societal growth of "goodness".
If we take a little from our teachings, reference is made to our five senses but does not tell us exactly how to reflect on them, that is where individual Masonic reflection takes its place. Today I made an apple pie, one of my favorite Harvest time treats. The red apple is so pleasing to the eye, its shape its color, as I picked it up I could feel the smooth skin but also the stem and the bottom. One can know which side is up even with his eyes closed. When I cut into it, the sound of the crisp flesh made that wonderful sound we have heard as children when we bit into an apple. The smells from the spices and the apple itself were like aromas from heaven and then the taste. From the peeled skins on the counter to the bits of left over apple to the finished pie. I encourage all of you to make an apple pie, do it slowly, reflect and enjoy the Harvest and use all of your senses. They and the Harvest are gifts from God.
So enjoy the fall colors, the sporting events, the crisp air and all HE has given us, but remember the Harvest, it has a purpose. Remember also to give thanks often as I will always remember that church member in 1956. It is easy, just have a little chat with HIM, smile and live.