St. Mary's Church

Harvest

Harvest

2 Oct 2021 • General news

Joel 2. 21-27

21Do not fear, O soil;
be glad and rejoice,
for the LORD has done great things!22Do not fear, you animals of the field,
for the pastures of the wilderness are green;
the tree bears its fruit,
the fig tree and vine give their full yield.

23O children of Zion, be glad
and rejoice in the LORD your God;
for he has given the early rain for your vindication,
he has poured down for you abundant rain,
the early and the later rain, as before.24The threshing-floors shall be full of grain,
the vats shall overflow with wine and oil.

25I will repay you for the years
that the swarming locust has eaten,
the hopper, the destroyer, and the cutter,
my great army, which I sent against you.

26You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied,
and praise the name of the LORD your God,
who has dealt wondrously with you. And my people shall never again be put to shame.27You shall know that I am in the midst of Israel,
and that I, the LORD, am your God and there is no other.
And my people shall never again
be put to shame.

1 Timothy 2. 1-7

My dearly beloved, 1I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for everyone, 2for kings and all who are in high positions, so that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and dignity. 3This is right and is acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour, 4who desires everyone to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 5For there is one God; there is also one mediator between God and humankind, Christ Jesus, himself human, 6who gave himself a ransom for all - this was attested at the right time. 7For this I was appointed a herald and an apostle (I am telling the truth, I am not lying), a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth.

Matthew 6. 25-33

Jesus said to his disciples: 25‘Do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life? 28And why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin, 29yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these. 30But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you - you of little faith? 31Therefore do not worry, saying, “What will we eat?” or “What will we drink?” or “What will we wear?” 32For it is the Gentiles who strive for all these things; and indeed your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.’

Thought for Harvest Thanksgiving by Malcolm Tyler

There have beenvery few occasions in my life when I was truly hungry for more than a couple of hours.Often, I have felt peckish but rarely, if ever, have I felt true hunger.An abiding memory for me was to see the television pictures of African children from Biafra when I was aged 9 or 10.Never before then had I considered what hunger was.Sadly over the years I have seen similar pictures of young children with bloated stomachs and whose bodies are so emaciated that it seems there can be no muscle between skin and bone.Such images can only move us to tears and I hope lead us to a compassionate response but also one of thanksgiving for what we have here in the West.

In the face of such pictures it is difficult to see how Jesus’ words in today’s gospel can bring comfort.Worrying about our lot does little if anything to change it but I imagine that when faced with real hunger, words about the clothing of lilies in the field and the care God bestows on us can seem like empty words.Putting our trust in God when times are bad or difficult is hard.

But God does work through us as individuals.Whilst I may wish that there were no need for Food Banks in this country I am constantly thankful for the individuals who organise them, spend time and energy running them and of course for those who donate to them.I am glad too for people like Marcus Rashford who (at some personal cost to themselves and their own dignity) speak out against the injustice of food poverty in this country and manage to change the minds of those in government.

This reminds me that we all live in a world in which we are connected to one another.What we do here in the UK has an effect on others as well as ourselves.Our overconsumption cannot only lead us to suffer from things like Type 2 diabetes and obesity but also denies the poorer people of our world the opportunity to provide for themselves.This week, if we fill our cars with petrol maybe we deny another person the ability to get to work and treat sick people in hospital.

So rather than blame other people or God for the injustices of the world, my own response has been to look to see how I can help – to see how God can use me to show his care for the world as a whole.The response may be limited (for instance I haven’t filled my car with petrol even though I am now very low on fuel) and I will use Harvest as a reminder to donate to the Food Banks, but I will also give thanks to God both for what I have, which meets my everyday needs, but also for those around me who do so much more.

None of us are called to do everything to make the world a better place – we can’t do that but we are called, I believe, to do what we can and to acknowledge the God who has created the world in such a way that we can make a difference. 

Harvest Thanksgiving Prayers, St Mary Walsgrave, 3/10/21 [prepared by Sue Morton]

Living God, hear us as we thank you for this season of harvest and thanksgiving.

Lord our God, we thank you for your gifts in creation: for our world, its beauty and resources, and the heavens which tell of your glory, and for the rich and diverse heritages we enjoy.

We pray for those who make decisions about the resources of the earth, including political leaders, that they and we may use your gifts responsibly.

We pray for those who work on the land, and sea, in city and industry, wherever people work, that we may enjoy the fruits of their labours.

We pray for the leaders of your church worldwide, for medical scientists and visionaries, that through their work we may see creation and life anew.

Lord hear us, Lord graciously hear us

Lord our God, we thank you for the gift of life, and for all who enrich our experience of life.

We pray for those, who through their own or others actions, are deprived of fullness of life: for prisoners, refugees, those without enough food to eat.

We give thanks for the work of the Trussel Trust, its network of foodbanks providing emergency food and provisions to help alleviate hunger and poverty in the UK including Coventry.

We pray for those whose harvest has been destroyed by the chaos of war or by natural disaster.

We pray for those who are sick in body, mind or spirit, and those who care for them.

We remember before you the faithful departed and give thanks for the gift of eternal life.

In the silence, we bring to you Lord our personal prayers, so much to tell you about this day and every day.

Lord hear us, Lord graciously hear us

Almighty God

Thank you for calling us to celebrate your creation and its harvest.

We pray for reverence for life in your world.

Thank you for your redeeming love.

May your Holy Words and Sacraments strengthen us to love as you love us.

Jesus, Redeemer, renew us.

Holy Spirit, sustain us and guide us.

Merciful Father

accept these prayers for the sake of your Son, our Saviour, Jesus Christ.

Amen