The notion of 'season' has been writ large on much on my inner thought of late. It formed part of the language of the appointment process for this new job I have, and is implicit in the first Gospel of my vicarly ministry.
For those of you who didn't get to a church today, the story was about a bloke who owned a vineyard, needed some muscle to bring in the grapes, and the transaction therein given. Some geezers worked all day, others some - all were paid the same, a hoo-ha was had and Jesus wrapped it all up as he does.
I had been pondering the very nature of being the 'new vicar'. This is, by very nature, a place that has had other vicars. They have done their thing and I will in deed do mine. That said, it feels strange as there is always the expectation of progress and development and I was not comfortable with any sense that I was or would be better than my predecessor.
Seasonality speaks of succession not supercession. Seasons are mitigated by what goes before them. Spring is not an improvement on winter, summer over spring or autumn over summer. They are different and form parts of a whole that expends beyond any of them. This is surely the same with parishes. As for the landowner in the Gospel story this morning, his grapes were those born of labour in earlier months and without which there simply wouldn't be any grapes at all. A fruitful autumn depends on a diligently planted and nurtured spring, the warmth and hopefulness of summer and the labour of the harvest.
So, we enter a new season where I am now called to serve. I think we will have some good fun, face some substantial challenges (some we will prevail over, others not). This season will bring its own fruitfulness all the while we will be planting the seeds for future seasons, and whose fruit we may never see in our time or even life. Vicars come and go, and I have no aspiration to immortality, but the vine needs tending - the same vine.