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Weekly Bible Notes and Worship Resources

Harvest Festival Year A, Green


Click here to view our Harvest Festival service

Introduction

Harvest is one of the most wonderful times of celebration in the church year. Nobody gets killed, there is just unbridled joy at the beauty and providence of creation. Well almost that is! There are some lessons of caution as well, and those lessons are perhaps more important for our times than ever before.

Opening Sentence

The land has yielded its harvest:
God, our God has blessed us. Psalm 67:6
 

Collect Prayer for the Day — Before we read we pray

Almighty and everlasting God, we offer you our grateful thanks for your fatherly goodness and care in giving us your gifts and the fruits of the earth in through the seasons. Give us grace to use them rightly, to your glory, for our own well being, and for the relief of those in need; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

Lord of creation , whose glory is all around and within us: open our eyes to your wonders, that we may serve you with reverence and know your peace at our lives' end, through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Eternal God, you crown the year with your goodness and you give us the fruits of the earth in their season: grant that we may use them to your glory, for the relief of those in need and for your own well-being; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.

First Bible Reading Deuteronomy 8: 7-18

For the LORD your God is bringing you into a good land—a land with streams and pools of water, with springs flowing in the valleys and hills; a land with wheat and barley, vines and fig trees, pomegranates, olive oil and honey; a land where bread will not be scarce and you will lack nothing; a land where the rocks are iron and you can dig copper out of the hills. When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the LORD your God for the good land he has given you. Be careful that you do not forget the LORD your God, failing to observe his commands, his laws and his decrees that I am giving you this day. Otherwise, when you eat and are satisfied, when you build fine houses and settle down, and when your herds and flocks grow large and your silver and gold increase and all you have is multiplied, then your heart will become proud and you will forget the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. He led you through the vast and dreadful desert, that thirsty and waterless land, with its venomous snakes and scorpions. He brought you water out of hard rock. He gave you manna to eat in the desert, something your fathers had never known, to humble and to test you so that in the end it might go well with you. You may say to yourself, "My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me." But remember the LORD your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your forefathers, as it is today.

Second Reading 2 Corinthians 9:6-15

Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. As it is written:  "He has scattered abroad his gifts to the poor; his righteousness endures forever."Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.  This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of God's people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God. Because of the service by which you have proved yourselves, men will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else. And in their prayers for you their hearts will go out to you, because of the surpassing grace God has given you. Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!    

harvest words

Gospel Reading Luke 12:16-30

And he told them this parable: "The ground of a certain rich man produced a good crop. He thought to himself, 'What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.' "Then he said, 'This is what I'll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I'll say to myself, "You have plenty of good things laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry." ' "But God said to him, 'You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?' "This is how it will be with anyone who stores up things for himself but is not rich toward God." Then Jesus said to his disciples: "Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. Life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest? "Consider how the lilies grow. They do not labour or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendour was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith! And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it. For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them.

Post Communion Sentence

The earth is filled with the gifts of the Lord: wine, and oil, and bread, to strengthen and cheer our hearts.   Psalm 104:13,15

Lord of the harvest, with joy we have offered thanksgiving for your love in creation and have shared in the bread and the wine of the kingdom: by your grace plant within us a reverence for all that you give us and make us generous and wise stewards of the good things we enjoy; through Jesus Christ our Lord.


Commentary

Harvest is one of the most wonderful times of celebration in the church year. Nobody gets killed, there is just unbridled joy at the beauty and providence of creation. Well almost that is! There are some lessons of caution as well, and those lessons are perhaps more important for our times than ever before.

There are obvious lessons about caring for the world which has been entrusted to us. At harvest time we thank God, for all of the gifts which have been given to us, and all of the opportunities made available to us from the world and its resources. Yet this planet is not ours to do what we want with. It is made by God and we are privileged to have a time here to look after and enjoy it. The expectation is that we will pass it on to our children in a better condition than we found it.

There are salutary lessons at harvest about sharing. We cannot help but feel embarrassed that we have so much of the world’s resources, whilst others lack even the most basic necessities. No harvest festival service should ever take place without a time of prayer when we think of the shocking conditions prevalent in parts of the world where people die for lack of resources which we routinely throw away.

There are warnings about priorities. Harvest can be seen as an opportunity to glorify increasing consumption and hoarding. However harvest is not an occasion to thank God that we have managed to acquire masses of things. In our Gospel reading today Jesus tells his disciples that they need to care less about material things. This is a wonderful message but one which we struggle to hear. Jesus wants his disciples to stop worrying and live. The trouble is that most of us spend a lot of time worrying and working.

So whilst we enjoy harvest and thank God for it, it is also a good time to consider our priorities in life, what really matters. The pace of life is now so fast and the latest products are brought to market so fast that we might feel we have very quickly become out of date and need to replace everything. Yet even at the time of Jesus he knew that people had the same issues of worry and work.

Jesus knew that toiling for the latest material goods brought no increase in satisfaction to our society. No matter how much we acquire, no matter how many material possessions, no matter how much money we have - enough is always a little bit more than we already have. The pursuit of happiness in the acquisition of things is always a road to dissatisfaction. What a paradox, the more we seek to be happy through acquiring such things the less happy we seem to be!

The Christian message is that pursuit of happiness through amassing things will only ever bring ruin. It is a curious fact that contrary to our wealth bringing happiness it brings impoverishment of the soul. Funnily enough the opposite is the case, the more we give to others the more happiness we receive ourselves. Giving to others is something which we learn from our Lord, Jesus. He had no possessions, he gave up everything he had and gave his life for others. It is his model which we seek to copy. Charles Royden

Meditation

The following is a quotation from Pelagius, a british monk from the fourth century who lost out in an argument with Augustine and ended up being made a heretic. Sadly some of his ideas were quite good and it has been said that the British are all Pelagians at heart. This reading speaks profoundly about our attitude towards possessions.

If you were besotted with the things of this world, would want to surpass all others in the luxury of your house, in the magnificence of your garments and jewellery, in the abundance of food on your table, in the splendour of the carriage which took you from one place to another. You would never be satisfied with what you possessed, but would always want more. And you would constantly be comparing yourself with others, looking with envy at those even richer than you. Your wealth would be like a spiritual prison; and your limitless desires would be the chains that bound you. Thus in giving up all these things, you have smashed the chains and broken free. You have little; yet you are satisfied with what you have. You are poorer than most; yet you feel no envy towards the riches of others. To you a simple tunic is like a royal robe; a tiny hut is like a palace; a bowl of porridge is like a feast; a pair of sandals is like a golden carriage

God has created all things for our enjoyment; and therefore physical pleasure is good. Yet the person who seeks perfection acquires more and more pleasure from less and less. The perfect person derives the greatest pleasure from the simplest food. The perfect person rejoices in a tiny hut with a few sticks of furniture. The perfect person sees beauty in every human being, so has no need to possess the beauty of a spouse. Contrary to what some religious leaders teach, perfection is not the denial of pleasure, but the enhancement of it. To Demetrias

Hymns and Psalms

  1. Come, ye thankful people, come

  2. We eat the plants that grow from the seed (Tune: Country Garden)

  3. Praise and thanksgiving (Tune Bunessan)

  4. Praise God for the harvest (Tune: Stowey)

  5. We plough the fields, and scatter

  6. For the fruits of his creation,

     

Prayers for Sunday and the week ahead

We thank you generous God for the abundance of food and resources you have provided for your world. Forgive us for our failure to use and distribute these equally across the nations. Forgive us for holding on to more than we need and through your Holy Spirit guide us into a spirit of cheerful generosity. Amen

Most gracious Father, you open your hands and fill all things living with plenteousness. As we your children partake of your bounty, we pray that we too may be open-handed; that we who have so freely received may always freely give, for the sake of him who gave his belief for us, our Saviour Jesus Christ. Frank Colquhoun

We pray for people so poor that they cannot help themselves; whose subsistence crops have been destroyed by climatic disasters; for people who live in areas where rainfall is unreliable and varies from year to year. We pray for small children who die of malnutrition, and others who suffer from disease. We pray for little children too young to pray for themselves. Young people in Kenya

Open our eyes and ears Lord to the hidden poverty on our doorsteps. Poverty not just of material wealth, but of mind and spirit. Guide us towards those in need, empower us to be those that will give them hope and help through prayerful and practical support of BECHAR and other charities. Amen

Creator God, we thank you for your promise that while the earth endures, seed-time and harvest, summer and winter, day and night, shall not fail. We thank you for the reliability of this good earth, for the variety of the seasons, and for all the unity and contrasts of creation. We thank you for allowing us to share in the work of the harvest. We thank you that we can nourish the miracle of life and praise you for the dignity of sharing in the work of your almighty hands. O God our father, blessed be you for ever. Bring to fruition, Creator God, the work of your kingdom. make us part of that joyful harvest in which your loving purpose is completed. help us to realize how important the smallest words and deeds are in the context of eternity. At harvest time when we remember your goodness make us grateful also for all we have received from the labour of others who have sown the seeds of faith, hope and love in our lives.

Father, we thank you, out of the seas and from the earth, we receive the provision which you have made for all our needs. We thank you for the skills in harvesting the earth's resources that people have passed on from one generation to another. We thank you for those through whose vision and work products of our harvesting are channelled into areas of need.

We give thanks to you, Almighty Lord God, for making us worthy to see these fruits which the earth has produced. Bless them, O Lord, as the crown of the year, according to your loving-kindness, and let them be for the satisfying of the poor among your people. And bless your servants who have offered these firstfruits out of your gifts, because they fear you. Bless them from your holy heaven, together with their households and their children, and pour upon them your mercy and your holy grace, that they may know your will in all things, and cause them to inherit that which is in heaven. Through our lord Jesus Christ, your beloved Son, and the Holy Spirit, for ever and ever. Amen. Hippolytus of Rome


"My sisters the birds, much are you beholden to God your Creator, and always and in every place should you praise him. He has given you the freedom to fly wherever you wish and he has clothed you so fully. Moreover he preserved your kind in the ark of Noah so that you might not die out. Again, you are beholden to him for the very air that he has given to you. Furthermore, you do not sow nor reap yet God feeds you and gives you rivers and fountains from which you drink, He gives you mountains and valleys as places of refuge and the tall trees in which to build your nests. Because you do not know how to sew or spin, God clothes you and your young: you can see how much God loves you in that he gives you so much. Guard yourselves therefore my sisters the birds from the sin of ingratitude and be ever mindful to give praise to God." From The Little Flowers of St. Francis.

"For this I thank you, that you have created me in your image, and placed your wonders under my hands, so that I may know them and rejoice in the works of your Creation. I pray to you, eternal God, give me understanding and wisdom, that I might not misuse your creation but make use of it only for my needs, for the good of my neighbour, myself and my family. Give me gratitude for all your gifts, so that my mind does not say: 'This is mine, I have bought it. I will possess it alone. I am noble with it, majestic and beautiful; It belongs to me because of this honour and glory.' All this comes from the devil and the grievous fall of Adam." Jacob Boehme. The Way to Christ.

Lord, may I love all thy creation, the whole and every grain of sand in it. May I love the animals: thou hast given them the rudiments of thought and joy untroubled. Let me not harass them; let me not deprive them of their happiness; let me not work against thy intent. For I acknowledge unto thee that all is like an ocean - flowing and blending - and that to withhold any measure of from anything in thy universe is to withhold that same measure from thee. (Adapted from The Brothers Karamazov by Dostoevsky.)
 


Praise (Based on psalm 8)

God, when we think about your creation, we’re amazed;
We walk through a masterpiece every day.
Your imagination has created such beauty.
We can never come to the end of your wonders.
How incredible it is that you’ve trusted us to take care
Of your prized possession!
You’ve shown us how to sustain life:
Help us to use this knowledge for the good of your world,
The benefit of your people and the glory of your name.
We praise you, painter of creation’s harvests!  (Christian Aid)

God, you are more generous than the most loving parent; yet we depend on the harvests of other lands, and the labours of people of many races. Make us grateful for what they do for us; help us to trade in such a way that we may not exploit others, and to share our plenty with those in need; that none may go hungry while your earth yields so abundantly. Amen

Father God, give to all who work the land, wisdom to understand your laws, and to co-operate with your wise ordering of the world: and grant that the bountiful fruits of the earth may not be hoarded by the selfish or squandered by the foolish, but that all who work may share abundantly in the harvest of the soil. Amen

Forgive us Lord, for thinking of ourselves more than others; for eating too much without considering those who have nothing at all; for our lack of diligence in searching for ways to share our riches with the hungry and the thirsty. Your Son came to earth that everyone might be blessed and forgiveness offered to the penitent. Amen

May God the Father bless you, who first sowed the seeds of eternal life in your hearts, may God the Son bless you, who nurtures you with the rain and sunshine of love; may God the Holy Spirit bless you, who brings us all to fruition; and may the blessing of God Almighty be among you and remain with you always. Amen


 

Additional Material

A tree by a stream - Jeremiah

 

Blessed are those

who trust in the Lord

Whose trust is in the Lord.

They shall be like a tree planted by water,

sending out its roots

by a stream.

It shall not fear

when heat comes,

and its leaves

shall stay green;

In the year of drought it is not anxious,

and does not cease to bear fruit.

Jeremiah 17:7-7

 

 

 

Commentary

Today many of us live in towns and our contacts with the countryside are slight. We do not know much about seasons, farming and the agricultural calendar. Much of our food is processed and packaged, we don’t get it from the field and the farm, instead we get it from Tesco or Sainsbury’s. We can now easily buy imported fruit and vegetables which are not in season in our own country.

However, this doesn’t mean that we cannot celebrate harvest in a meaningful way. Actually we could say that harvest is more important now because we need to be reminded of our dependence on God and our responsibility to treat the world properly. We must not become just indiscriminate consumers, unaware and unconcerned about how our food is produced. We now have the potential to do so much damage to our world so this is very important.

Harvest is a time to focus upon our environment, to thank God for it, and consider our responsibility for our environment. Issues such as genetics, animal husbandry, pollution—all of these are in sharp focus at Harvest. (I was interested to read a paper this week circulated by John Stubbs at St Mark’s, it was from the Methodist Church concerning genetics and it is available for home group study.)

Harvest falls in the time of the Christian calendar with a liturgical colour of green - this is a good colour with all of its ecological and environmental connotations. The message of the ecological movement is that we all have an impact upon the natural world. We are all consumers or producers, so we are all links in a long chain of action which can either protect or destroy our natural environment. God put mankind into the Garden of Eden ‘to till it and keep it’ Genesis 2:15.

With our increasing technology we are able to till the earth more than ever before. With the aid of science we are able to turn waste animal products into food for the same animals, and we are able to change the substance of plants and animals so that they can resist disease or be more productive. The ability to make a crop resist pests might bring food and life to millions. However this same technology also puts us at risk, as never before of being unable to keep the earth and its resources in the condition in which we have inherited it from previous generations.

Harvest festivals, while giving us the chance to thank God for the riches of the natural world, also present us with the more solemn task of contemplating our responsibilities to nature. In more and more Harvest Festival services Christians must give thanks to God but accompany those thanks with promises to keep our environment safe, which is the means of all future harvests. Harvest is about how we use the things which God has given to us. We can use God’s gifts wisely for our benefit and share them with others, or we can abuse them. God gives to us resources which we can do many different things with. Some of those things are worthwhile and some of those things are very destructive. I think especially of the passage in the bible which speaks about a day when we will learn to use resources wisely. Instead of using metal to make swords we would use it to make ploughshares, instead of using it to make knives we would make pruning hooks. ‘Swords into ploughshares, Knives into pruning hooks’ Today this might say ‘Bombs into buckets.’ Today we each need to ask ourselves how we can use the gifts God has given us wisely, for the benefit of all and not just for ourselves.    Charles Royden

 

Harvest Commentary

Harvest Festival dates from pagan times and gives thanks for a successful harvest. For the Jews feasts were held in celebration of good harvests several times a year. Jesus refers to the grape harvest in today's reading from Matthew.

Jesus uses it to illustrate that the Pharisees had really lost the plot. They were so afraid that the Jews might be exiled to Babylon again, that they thought if they kept every law, both the written laws of Moses and the oral traditional law of their ancestors, that God would keep them safe in Jerusalem. Because it was so difficult to keep all these laws, rather than drawing people to God they had the opposite effect, they began to put barriers in their way. The Pharisees were misusing the gifts and responsibilities which had been entrusted to them and Jesus spoke out against this abuse. 

Rather than preparing the ground and making it fertile and ready for the harvest it was becoming more bleak and barren by the day. Not only had the Pharisees misused the gifts of God, most importantly they did not recognise the greatest gift which God had given the world, His Son. They liked to listen to Jesus, but they thought His ideas were too radical. Jesus told them repeatedly that they kept the letter of the law, but lost the spirit; they made a show of loving God with their public prayers, but they didn't have compassion for people and the harvest was being lost.

God has given us many gifts, some of which we celebrate through the harvest festival. We remember His goodness and provision for us and are challenged to use His gifts wisely. Many people are less fortunate than ourselves and we need to remember God loves them too, and often could use us, and the gifts He has given us (to look after) to demonstrate that love for them, not just at harvest time, but all the year through. Using the gifts He has given us in the service of others is one of the most appropriate ways of demonstrating our gratitude to God for what He has done for us.  Sam Cappleman

Confession

You are not a distant God who set Creation in motion, and then sit on some heavenly throne, distant, aloof, and untouched by the world of your creatures. Through the witness of your covenant with Israel, and through the witness of your Church, we know you are a God willing to enter into the chaos of human struggles, injustice, and suffering. In the fullness of time, you came in Jesus, the Word made flesh. You were fully human, you suffered hunger, heart-ache, and betrayal. And yet, you remained faithful in your mission to proclaim the Kingdom, to call humanity to your way of love and justice. Where our love failed, your love was steadfast, even to horrific death on a cross. And then, you did not wash your hands of us, but returned to us and proclaimed your peace to us, calling us to be your people, including us in your mission of reconciliation.

Forgive us when we have forgotten whom we belong to. Forgive us when we fail to love those you have called us to walk with as your church. Forgive us those whom we touch in our lives do not find blessings, but indifference or even harm.

 
Hymns

  1. All creatures of our God and King
  2. Let us with a gladsome mind
  3. Jesus is Lord
  4. All people that on earth do dwell
  5. Jehovah Jireh
  6. We plough the fields and scatter
  7. For the beauty of the earth
  8. For the fruits of his creation
  9. Come ye thankful people come
  10. Sing to God new songs of worship (Ode to Joy)
  11. May the fragrance of Jesus
  12. If I were a butterfly
  13. All things bright and beautiful
  14. Who put the colours in the rainbow
  15. Praise O praise
  16. Praise the Lord ye heavens adore Him (Tune Austria)

Thanksgiving Prayer

Father in heaven all good gifts come from you. You send the sunshine and the rain, and it is through your love and care that we enjoy the harvest time. Thank you for providing so richly for our needs and help us to share the good things we have with those who have little or nothing.
Minister: Lord in your mercy
All: Hear our prayer

Minister: Lord we pray for your blessing on every kind of harvest that we enjoy. Thank you for the harvest of the land and the sea. Bless too the harvest of factory, mine and workshop. Bless the harvest of research and of creative art. May we work together with you in every area of life to produce what is worthwhile, good and fruitful. May you be glorified in it all.
Minister: Lord in your mercy
All: Hear our prayer

Bring to fruition Creator God, the work of your kingdom in our lives. Make us part of that joyful harvest in which your loving purpose is completed. Help us to realise how important the smallest words and deeds are. Thank you for others who have set before us an example of true Christian living and who have sown the seeds of faith hope and love in our lives.

Lord we pray for your blessing on every kind of harvest that we enjoy. Thank you for the harvest of the land and the sea. Bless too the harvest of factory and mine and workshop. Bless the harvest of research and of creative art. May we work together with you in every area of life to produce what is worthwhile, good and fruitful. May you be glorified in it all.

Confession

Lord Jesus Christ, through whom and for whom
the whole universe was created,
we mourn with you the death of forests,
fruitful lands that have become deserts,
wild animals left without grass,
plants, insects, birds and animals threatened with extinction,
lands ravaged by war, people left homeless.
As the earth cries out for liberation,
we confess our part in bringing it to the point of disaster.
Through ignorance, often wilfully,
we have thought that we could serve both God and ourselves.
We were unable to resist the temptation
to spend and buy more and more,
with little thought to future generations.
Saviour of the World, you call us to repentance,
so as we confess these sins,
may we be transformed by your love
and play our part in transforming your world.

The minister will proclaim the words of forgiveness.
 

Confession
God forgive us, for the destruction
which we bring upon this world and all who live in it.
You have entrusted this world into our care,
forgive us for the way in which we destroy and pollute,
and fail to protect the precious resources which we have.
Forgive us when the power of the human mind
is used wastefully, and destructively,
whilst millions are in need of skills
to bring them clean water and basic medicine.
Forgive us when we fail to speak out for justice for all people.
Forgive us when we are tempted to despair
at the size of the problems
and the seeming insignificance of our own contribution.
Strengthen our faith, hope and trust
in the miracle of your redeeming love.
This we ask in the name of your Son,
our Lord, Jesus Christ. Amen.
The minister will proclaim the words of forgiveness.
 

Prayer

For shelves full of food, thank you Lord. For the colour of chocolate, carrots and cherries, thank you, Lord. For the feel of wood, bedclothes and cats’ fur, thank you, Lord. For sunshine and oak trees, the songs of the birds and the waves of the sea, thank you Lord. Amen (Angela Ashwin)

Lord, come to our throw-away society and give us a greater care for your gifts, that the resources if Your earth may be used for the needs of Your family and all may have enough. Amen (Susan Williams)

O God, you have made us creatures of this earth, hungry and thirsty and needy, that you may satisfy all our longing with your abundant love. Satisfy the hunger of our bodies for food and shelter, health and human touch, Satisfy the hunger of our spirits for dignity and freedom In giving and receiving, Satisfy the hunger of our minds to understand our world the reasons for its pain the ways we are connected to each other. Satisfy the hunger of our hearts that all who share this loving earth with us shall share our satisfaction. And satisfy the hunger of our hands to help you make it so through Jesus Christ. Amen (Janet Morley)
 

God, you are more generous than the most loving parent; yet we depend on the harvests of other lands, and the labours of people of many races. Make us grateful for what they do for us; help us to trade in such a way that we may not exploit others, and to share our plenty with those in need; that none may go hungry while your earth yields so abundantly. Amen

Father God, give to all who work the land, wisdom to understand your laws, and to co-operate with your wise ordering of the world: and grant that the bountiful fruits of the earth may not be hoarded by the selfish or squandered by the foolish, but that all who work may share abundantly in the harvest of the soil. Amen

Forgive us Lord, for thinking of ourselves more than others; for eating too much without considering those who have nothing at all; for our lack of diligence in searching for ways to share our riches with the hungry and the thirsty. Your Son came to earth that everyone might be blessed and forgiveness offered to the penitent. Amen

May God the Father bless you, who first sowed the seeds of eternal life in your hearts, may God the Son bless you, who nurtures you with the rain and sunshine of love; may God the Holy Spirit bless you, who brings us all to fruition; and may the blessing of God Almighty be among you and remain with you always. Amen

The whole creation is suffering, and cries out with pain. Our sin affects the world of nature and the harvest it yields. Let us confess our sins against God and God's creation. After Michael Counsell

Lord Jesus Christ, the way, the truth and the life; grant us never to stray from you, for you are the way; never to distrust you, for you are the truth; and never to rest in anything except you, for you are the life. Teach us what to believe, what to do and where we should take our rest; and this we ask for your love’s sake. Amen. Desiderus Erasmus 1467-1536

Look upon us in your mercy, O Lord, and take away our sins. Be to us both our reward and our redeemer, and defend us against all adversities that may assault us in body or soul; through Christ our Lord. Amen. St Ireneaus, c.130-200

Ubuntu: a prayer for humanness. Loving God, who in Jesus willingly took on human form, come to us again in the flesh, so that in your humanity we may recognise the humanity of others. In these days, when so many feel rejected because they are HIV or have AIDS, speak to us and assure us of your presence so that we may be there for all who call on us. Lord, who dares to call us your friends, touch us with the hands of friendship so that we may reach out to those who feel untouchable. Touch us with that second touch of healing and wholeness of sight so that we may see others as you see them and offer your healing power to these your sisters and brothers. Spirit of love and life, breathe into us your compassion and care so that we may reach out in this place to touch and to share your love with all. Daphne and Demetris Palos, South Africa


Help each one of us, gracious God, to live in such magnanimity and restraint that the Head of the Church may never have cause to say to any one of us: “This is my body, broken by you.”
Gracious God, you who supply your people with every blessing in abundance, lift up our hearts in gratitude and thanksgiving this day. Help us, we pray, to thank you for the gifts we seldom notice, to praise you for the bounty we often take for granted, and to glorify your name for how you have watched over us through another year of seedtime and of harvest. For all that you have done, for all that you are, and for all that you will ever do, we lift up our voices in praise to you. Hear our prayer and our song and help us to live as ones with eternally grateful hearts - we ask it in Jesus' name. Amen

Read more in our Harvest Special Bible Notes

Read our Harvest Festival Sermon by The Rev Charles Royden

Click to view our Harvest Festival Service

Simpson Harvest PowerPoint

Harvest Sermon 1   Harvest Sermon 2      Harvest Sermon 3     Harvest Sermon 4