Lammas

Introduction

Lammas is the first of three harvest celebrations in the Pagan calendar. Let us look at what it means to partake of the land, and what it takes to bring the harvest to our tables.

Sermon

Welcome. My name is April Swain, and I have been a member of UUCE for a little over a decade. Today I’ll share a little bit about what I know of the Pagan holiday of Lammas, and my thoughts around it.

The History

Lammas is also known as Lughnasadh. For ancient folks, this was a celebration of the first harvest of grains to make bread. Some say it is the sacrifice of the Oak King to feed the earth.

Deborah Blake has observed:

“These days, we tend to be quite removed from the people who grow our food.”

However, many UUCE members have attended Adult RE classes discussing our food sources and connecting to the environment. Who remembers or attended “Menu for the Future”? I walked away with the idea to know your farmer, or better yet, be a farmer. I’ve got plants in my backyard, helped at the McQueen co-op, and met other local farm foodies such as Torgg’s Hollow and Bluff City Gardens. I’m glad we have the community garden here, which donates produce to local food pantries.

So while thinking about “First Harvest,” I notice a difference between our society’s growing focus on eating fresh, in season, local produce compared to our ancestors, celebrating grains. Quite the drift, to change from a people creating a festival around grains compared to the current method to teach children to “Eat the Rainbow” of colors every day. Then these kids grow up and have the epiphany not all plants ripen at the same time.

Mind blown!

At my WIC clinic, we have been teaching to eat “What’s in Season” since 2013. I remember helping create the class outline with former UUCE member Diana Jyoti. We decided to develop the outline after reading the book Anima, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver, as it was common for our clients, the millennial generation, to be unaware of the fact foods have growing seasons. Though some students turn out to be really quick learners and adopt a new vocabulary with ease. I saw a meme asking “Is your teen texting about sustainable farmer?” and grinned as I saw at least some were grasping the concept loud and clear.

I wonder what the grain celebrators would have to say about companion planting. Every time I pick up this book Carrots Love Tomatoes, though, my mind inevitably goes back to “humans like companionship.” I think this book is worth mentioning during a Lammas sermon because a re-occurring theme I noticed during my research is that Lammas is a “social harvest.” And that makes me want to share the following poem by Jack Prelutsky with all of you.

Some People I Know

Some people I know like to chatter, while others speak hardly a word;
Some think there is nothing the matter with being completely absurd;
Some are impossibly serious, while other are absolute fun;
Some are reserved and mysterious while other shine bright as the sun;
Some people I know appear sour, but many seem pleasant and sweet;
Some have the grace of aa flower, while others trip over their feet;
Some are as still as a steeple, while some need to fidget and fuss;
Yet every last one of these people is somehow exactly like us.

by Jack Prelutsky

I truly love poems, so I’d like to share with everyone the Butterfly’s Ball. It’s about insects socializing and celebrating at a party. As I read this, I thought I could share some pictures of the church, which you may have missed during this past year of the pandemic. Many (but not all) of the photos were taken at or near UUCE. Let’s celebrate the upcoming re-opening of the church with a preview.

Please listen to the audio if you’d like to hear the poem.

Thank you for joining us today. I hope you have a harvest to celebrate.

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