An opening prayer of thanks and intercession
Loving God, thank you for the many ways in which you provide for us: food, family, friendship, housing, health, happiness, and ways to use our time and talents. We lift to you too the ways in which we remain in need of these things.
We pray for people in our community and beyond who are facing unemployment, ill-health, isolation or money worries at this time and especially for those who are unable to afford enough to eat. We pray for supportive relationships, practical provision and real hope.
Thank you that you call us to play our part, working with you and with others to bring about change. We pray for political decision-makers and leaders:
Give them courage and insight to develop policies and systems that support the flourishing of all. So that even in challenging times, no-one goes hungry and everyone has dignity.
Thank you for those who are serving and caring for others: in churches, in charities, and public services, in our neighbourhoods, in our homes, and in many other contexts. Would you give them strength, rest and perseverance.
As they work to support others, we ask that they too would receive all they need to thrive. God of love may your kingdom come. Amen (©Trussell Trust)
2 Corinthians 9:10
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.
We shall sit and speak around one table, share one food, one earth.
I tried to identify where all the food in my dinner came from: Tesco! Actually, the various elements of the meal came from all over the place! For many people like me, that’s the beginning and end of the food chain. Meat comes hygienically wrapped, vegetables and fruit are always fresh: every little helps.
From places far away the food has been harvested by people often earning very little money. Our food has been transported by ship and lorry, processed somewhere in Britain, and put on the shelves by people like you and me working in our local supermarkets. If any of those chains were to be broken by drought or war or economic collapse or a shortage of HGV drivers, then, of course, the food wouldn’t get to our plates at all.
We’ve already been warned about impending food shortages this Christmas and prices are going to go up significantly. We may think food prices here in the Fylde are going up too much but what about the poorest countries, hit by climate change? Maize prices have gone up by 113% in the last three months in Mozambique, while sorghum wheat has risen 220% in South Sudan. Impossible price rises in places where people have the least money to pay.
Buying our food from the supermarkets has made us forget how fickle the harvest can be.
Give us today our daily bread, we pray, but we pray God to give all people their daily bread, their daily chapattis, their daily dhal, their daily sweet potato, their daily rice and so on… and let us be generous when contributing to our Harvest Festival or local Foodbank.
Eating with one another, that is deeply spiritual. Supporting your foodbank is a different (but just as important) way to share food (share bread) with your neighbour.
We are called to love our neighbours as ourselves – our neighbours on the streets of Glasgow, our neighbours huddling in a cellar in Syria, our neighbours starving to death in the Horn of Africa. Our own thankfulness for God’s mercies today energises our actions for God’s world tomorrow.
Rowan Williams, in the final stanza of his poem “Rublev” says these words: ‘But we shall sit and speak around one table, share one food, one earth.’
Father, as we celebrate this season of thanksgiving we give thanks for the blessings of food, provision and nourishment. Please grow in us a harvest for the world.
Come sow a seed of hope within our souls Lord, that we might yield goodness, patience and kindness in abundance. Sow a seed of peace in our lives, that we might bear the fruits of forgiveness, compassion and righteousness.
Come sow a seed of love in our hearts Lord, that others would reap the blessings of family, friendship and community. May each seed of hope, peace and love grow within us into a harvest that can be feasted on by all. Amen
May the blessing of the God who cycles the seasons and swells the grain go with us.
May the blessing of the Son who harvests and kneads and breaks the bread go with us.
May the blessing of the Spirit who challenges us to a just sharing of earth’s harvest go with us
Now and into the week ahead. Amen
Suggested Music Come, Ye Thankful People, Come – www.youtube.com/watch?v=5FqdCskC0QE We plough the fields and scatter www.youtube.com/watch?v=ccVEjKFkAV4 Now Thank We All Our God www.youtube.com/watch?v=1v8kHKX61fg Harvest Samba www.youtube.com/watch?v=dqpkWsR6Yew