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.

Amen

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

 

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Let Us Thank God – A Harvest Prayer

Scarlet runner beans ready for the winter

Scarlet runner beans ready for the winter

It is harvest season here in the Pacific Northwest. The tomatoes are finally ripening, the beans have dried on the vine and the apples and pears are ready to be picked. As I walk out and see the miracle of what has come from tiny seeds my heart swells with gratitude at the wonder of how God provides. each year at this time I write reflections and prayers on the harvest season.

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

The year before I posted this: Praying for an Abundant Harvest

And the year before 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

I had not intended to write another reflection for the harvest season this year – there is so much else that I want to write about. But there is something about this season that calls forth my gratitude and thanksgiving in ways that I realize I cannot deny. This morning it bubbled up within me into this prayer:

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.

Amen

I Believe in Miracles

Garden bounty - a harvest feast

I believe in miracles - garden bounty a harvest feast from God

Saturday we held a garden day at the Mustard Seed House.  All 10 of our community members came together to help weed and harvest.  It was a great time of fellowship and fun.  What astonished all of us was the harvest that we brought in – about 40 lb of pears, over 100 lb apples, 5 lb tomatilloes, 20 lb tomatoes, beans beets and yes still more squash.

As I looked at the bounty sitting on our kitchen floor this morning I thought. This is a miracle.  The tiny seeds I planted at the beginning of the year have multiplied into an incredible harvest of plenty – enough for us and a generous amount to give away.

At the same time I was reminded that the miracles of God rarely occur without work being required from those that receive the miracles.  The manna in the desert still needed to be harvested, the disciples needed to gather the leftovers from the distribution of fish and loaves and not surprisingly we have quite a bit of work ahead of us to process all the fruit before it goes bad.  God’s miracles are not usually done for us, but in participation with us.

God of the bountiful heart

God of the generous spirit

May we see in your harvest

Miracles that you are unfolding

Provision that never runs dry

Enough for our needs

And abundance for every good work.

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.

Silence

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.

Silence

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

Blessing

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.

God of the Bountiful – A Harvest Prayer

This morning I was sitting in our breakfast room looking out on my gloriously productive garden and feeling a little overwhelmed.  Then I read through one of the prayers that I had written for our Celtic retreat in August and decided that it would be a good one to adapt as a harvest prayer.  God’s harvest comes not just in the bounty of the produce we pull out of the garden – it comes in the wonder of his love, in the nourishment of his generosity and in the outpouring of his forgiveness.  I think that this prayer reflects that.  It can be used as a responsive prayer as shown or as an individual prayer.

God we thank you for your harvest which feeds us so many times each day.

We are nourished with your forgiveness and hope

We are sustained with your strength and patience

We are filled with your grace and compassion

God we thank you for feeding us with a harvest of plenty

We are restored through your generosity and healing

We are replenished with your abundance and joy

We are reminded of your selfless abandon

God we thank you for feeding us with the bread of heaven

Your gift of Christ sustains our lives

His presence restores the promise of your love

His life fills our hearts with your everlasting light

God we thank you too for filling us with the water of life

May we drink deeply that our thirst may be quenched

May your river continue to flow

Over us, in us, through us

And out into the world you love.

For more harvest prayers and resources check out this post

Looking for harvest Prayers – Try These