Updated: Aug 4
Come, and Bring Your Picnic! That’s what we asked. And come you did – in your droves, or so it seemed!
I am still smiling from the sight of the Glebe Field on Sunday 7th May - people and colour, chatter and laughter, families and friends basking in the sunshine and enjoying their picnic lunches.
The mention of picnics has always been a bit of a joke in our family – either because of the days we failed to pack one, only to find it turned out to be unexpectedly glorious, or because of the days we did, and the heavens opened, and we all ate soggy sandwiches!
There is something wonderfully British about setting out with a picnic, believing the day will be of the ‘glorious kind’. I wonder if my own romantic vision of ‘the picnic’ might be coloured by the literature of my childhood. Kenneth Grahame’s Mole and Ratty aboard their boat with a “wicker luncheon basket” bursting with what Ratty described, in one breathless word, as - “coldtonguecoldhamcoldbeefpickledgherkinssaladfrenchrolls-cresssandwichespottedmeatgingerbeerlemonadesodawater” , and, The Famous Five’s, infamous “lashings of…” all things tasty – do rather portray picnic lunches as something one ought to aspire to!
Many of us will know of the picnic story, in the Gospels. Over 5000 people had come to listen to Jesus’ stories and had either not set out believing in glorious picnic weather or had not expected to be so mesmerised by the words of Jesus, that they would forget to go home for lunch. Suddenly everyone was hungry, and not a picnic hamper in sight.
Except one - the small, unimpressive lunch of one boy. But the boy was willing and hopeful enough to give it to Jesus, who blessed and shared it, and everyone ate and was satisfied.
Is this just another rather romantic, or fanciful, story or is it something more?
Many of us, who believe we too have found ourselves caught up in, and changed by, the words and friendship of Jesus, think it is something more. It speaks to us of the difference one can make amongst many, of the transformative action of sharing in a world where some ‘have’ and some ‘have not’, of how the little we have to offer is actually enough and more than is needed – if only we are willing to offer it. And of how God accepts whatever we have to offer, blesses it and uses it for good.
At the heart of so much of our recent Coronation fun and frenzy, which we so enjoyed, was the call to Service – to giving, to sharing, to offering, to serving.
Time and Energy, Talents and Gifts, Money and Resources. What do you, and I, have to give, to share, to offer to be of service to others?
We at St Oswald’s, and I’m sure other community groups too, would love to hear any responses you may have to that question. If you would like to know more about how you could share with us in seeking to serve our community, please come and ask.
Your ‘offering’, small or great, may be just what we need, and working through us to bless others has always been God’s way – ever since that very first Gospel Picnic! Carolyn Reverend Carolyn
(Vicar of Collingham with Harewood)