Tatham Church: Good Eaters

I called at the church of St James the Less at Tatham in Lancashire’s Lune Valley. I was preaching at Wray Chapel that evening, and I had some time to kill. A mooch around this old lady with some time in her car park revising my sermon was the order of the day. Inside did not disappoint; there were some interesting carved pillars and some medieval funerary monuments.

Yet I was struck by a container sitting by the main entrance. Someone had kindly provided some apples, and, not wishing them to go to waste, invited worshippers and visitors to help themselves. In case anyone harboured doubts, or suspected they were cooking apples that might cause a dicky tummy, the sign said they were ‘good eaters’. I resolved to take one or two on my departure, but alas, I forgot, as I fell into conversation with the man coming to lock up.

Although I was unable to vouch for the apples’ goodness, I have no doubt that the sign’s author knew what they were talking about. Yet it was a good-looking fruit that tempted Eve and Adam to doubt God’s word and corrupt our race. “It’s a good eater”, the serpent whispered in Eden, having extolled that fruit’s god-making and wisdom-bestowing qualities.

When we attend church, we are offered a spiritual meal. The vicar or pastor will lead worship, based around the altar or the pulpit, sharing morsels with the congregation. The question is, having been fed, does one feel full? Does one desire more? Does one feel nourished? Sometimes when preaching, I behold blank expressions from folk who may never return- presumably they left unfed. Yet I (who cannot cook) desire to feed well those who attend our chapel. By feasting on the truths of God’s word, imbibing from the wine of His wisdom, filling up on the fatness of His bounty, may we grow, be strengthened and serve others.

He makes peace in your borders, And fills you with the finest wheat. Psalm 147:14, NKJV