A short reading and prayers for today
You take care of the earth and water it, making it rich and fertile. The river of God has plenty of water; it provides a bountiful harvest of grain, for you have ordered it so.
Psalm 65:9 NLT
These days less than two per cent of the population is involved in agriculture and so, for most of us, harvesting feels a world away from our everyday lives. In pre-Industrial society most people were involved in agriculture and harvest was a massive communal activity. It was desperately hard work and the lives of agricultural workers were intimately bound up with the rhythms of the seasons. It’s no wonder that many of the psalms make reference to harvesting. Our circumstances are very different, but we are still dependent on the work of our farmers and so I am delighted that over the next few weeks most of our churches will be involved in harvest celebrations. They remind us that our food, however it comes to us, is a gift from God.
This is a good moment to focus attention on our farmers. It is well known that the rate of suicide is high amongst those who work on the land. The pressures upon them at any time are many and these have been exacerbated by the changes in our climate of recent years and the increase of extreme weather events. Isolation is a pervasive problem, and many farmers live with constant financial insecurity. It is good for us to use this time of harvest celebrations to give thanks for the amazing contribution that our farmers make, and to pray for God’s blessing upon them.
But before anything else the harvest encourages us to look to God whose hand provides our food. Our heavily processed and cleverly packaged food will often give the impression that our food is man-made. But it isn’t! It comes to us from our loving creator who deserves our worship and thanksgiving.
How are you going to celebrate God’s gift of the harvest this year?
Thank you, loving God, for the gift of our food. We praise you for all those who work so hard to bring it to us. Amen
Lord God, friend of those in need, your Son Jesus has untied our burdens and healed our spirits. We lift up the prayers of our hearts for those still burdened, those seeking healing, those in need within the church and the world. Hear our prayers that we may love you with our whole being and willingly share the concerns of our neighbours. Amen.
Creator God, you call us to love and serve you with body, mind, and spirit through loving your creation and our sisters and brothers. Open our hearts in compassion and receive these petitions on behalf of the needs of the church and the world. Holy One, hear our prayers and make us faithful stewards of the fragile bounty of this earth so that we may be entrusted with the riches of heaven. Amen.