Soil Sacrament and Harvest

Abundant tomatoes for BLTs and salads

Abundant tomatoes for BLTs and salads

It is harvest season. I am frantically drying, preserving and freezing the abundance of apples from our trees, making green smoothies from the delicious salad greens and indulging in wonderful tomato salads and sandwiches.  It seems fitting that I am in the midst of reading Fred Bahnson’s delightful memoir Soil and SacramentI was particularly struck this morning my his comment:

Our ecological problems are a result of having forgotten who we are – soil people, inspired by the breath of God… in St Augustine’s phrase, terra animata – animated earth.

Drying apples

Drying apples

So as we contemplate this day and this season may we indeed remember who we are and who God has made us to be. Last year I wrote this liturgy for the harvest season. I decided I could not improve on it this year so add it again here as a way to draw all of us into the blessings of this season.

God we thank you for a harvest of plenty,

Small seeds that multiply to feed many,

Trees that blossom and produce abundant fruit,

Tomatoes that ripen on the vine with sweet flavour.

God we thank you for abundance overflowing,

Enough for our own needs and an abundance to share,

Enough to feed the hungry and provide for the destitute,

Enough to reach out with generosity and care. 

God we thank you for seeds you have planted in our hearts,

Seeds of righteousness yielding goodness and mercy,

Seeds of love yielding justice and peace,

Seeds of compassion yielding healing and renewal.

God we thank you for the bread of heaven,

Christ our saviour planted in our lives,

Christ our redeemer growing in our hearts,

Christ your Son making us one with you.

God we thank you for the gift of life,

Like water poured out on thirsty ground,

Spring and autumn rains that revive and bring life,

A river that flows from your heart and out into the world you love.


Preserving the harvest - Canning Tomatoes

Preserving the harvest – Canning Tomatoes

For other posts on harvest season you like might to see:

2011 I wrote this reflection: The Harvest is Plentiful But the Labourers are Few;

2010 I posted this: Praying for an Abundant Harvest

2009 I wrote this litany: God of the Bountiful – A Harvest Prayer

And my first post on this theme in 2008: The Generosity of God – Fish and Loaves for all



A Litany of Thankfulness

Abundant flowers at the Mustard Seed House

Abundant flowers at the Mustard Seed House

Yesterday I posted on Why Does God’s Path Always Seem So Narrow?a reflection on our need to be thankful for the abundant blessings of God that are already present in this moment. Out of that has flowed this litany of thankfulness to God. Enjoy!

God the fulfiller of enduring promises,

Christ the sharer of abundant love,

Spirit the giver of eternal life,

Holy Trinity, One in essence, Three in person,

For your welcome to this lavish feast of plenty, 

We praise and thank you today.

God of the plentiful and ever giving heart,

Christ of the generous and overflowing bounty,

Spirit who gives enough for our own needs and abundance for every good work,

Holy Trinity, One in essence, Three in person,

For the wonder of your provision that never runs dry, 

We praise and thank you today.

God whose love never gives up,

Christ whose forgiveness never says no,

Spirit whose mercy never lets go,

Holy Trinity, One in essence, Three in person,

For the hope and promise of your inexhaustible abundance, 

We praise and thank you today.

God may we look and see your abundance pressing in all around,

Rich fruit, luxuriant growth, laden branches hanging low,

May we remember they can obscure the path that winds so narrow out before us,

Holy Trinity, One in essence, Three in person,

May we remember your provision is inexhaustible, a harvest that never ends,

And give you praise and thanks this day.

God as we eat from your table of plenty,

May we see what you have placed in our hands,

Beauty beyond words, creativity beyond imagining, generosity overflowing,

Everything God bathed, Son drenched, Spirit inspired,

May we taste and see that all you give is good,

And raise our voices in praise and thanks and gratitude.



Praying for an Abundant Harvest

A harvest of gourds - photo by Tom Balke

It is the time of year when people are looking for harvest prayers and prayers of thanksgiving for the abundance of the earth’s provision.  We are still waiting anxiously for our tomatoes to ripen but the produce of the garden is truly amazing during this harvest season.

I used this prayer last week in our team meeting and thought that it was a great one for this season.  It was written by Andrew Warmback and Brian Wilinson, Network of Earthkeeping Christian Communities in South Africa.

Call to Worship

Come Holy Spirit
Inspire us

Come people of the earth
We will worship together

You made the earth and the gifts of your creation
We praise you God

For the smiles of your children and the beauty of your people
We praise you God

For the chance to share with others
And to celebrate your glory
We praise you God

Litany for the Planet

Grasses multiply and wild flowers proliferate
Because you God in Christ set the earth free

Vegetables colour the garden and herbs give aroma to the spiral
Because you Spirit led us into the new creation

The lion and the lamb are making friends; the worms love the lettuce
Because you Wisdom inspired new natural companions

The insects live in diverse croplands with birds sharing the spoils
Because you Lord of Love taught us to share

Every part of the creation is significant from flies to mosquitoes
Because you Creator of all, reasoned everything into being

Now teach us triune God to transcend ideology to sustainability
Because Christ you are the peace between us

Caring God,
we thank you for your gifts in creation:

for our world,
the heavens tell of your glory;

for our land, its beauty and its resources,
for the rich heritage we enjoy.

We pray:

for those who make decisions about the resources of the earth,
that we may use your gifts responsibly;

for those who work on the land and sea, and in industry,
that they may enjoy the fruits of their labours
and marvel at your creation;

for artists, scientists and visionaries,
that through their work we may see creation afresh.


We thank you for giving us life;
For all who enrich our experience.

We thank you that you have called us to celebrate your creation.
Give us reverence for life in your world.

We thank you for your redeeming love;
May your word and sacrament
Strengthen us to love as you love us.


God, Creator, bring us new life.
Jesus, Redeemer, renew us.
Holy Spirit, strengthen and guide us.


May God who established the dance of creation,
who marvelled at the lilies of the field,
who transforms chaos to order,
lead us to transform our lives and the Church
to reflect God’s glory in creation.