Autumn and Harvest Festival Resources

In Autumn 2015, Joy Kingsbury-Aitken and Linda Cowan put together a cornucopia of Autumn and Harvest Festival resources for the Canterbury Lay Preachers Association Newsletter,  which you can access here.


Thanksgiving for the Harvest

Thanksgiving for the Harvest

[Source unknown.]

God of Creation, God of harvest
these are the days of thanksgiving –
for grass cut and baled,
wrapped and stored to feed flocks and herds,
source of meat and milk;
for grains of barley and wheat poured into silos,
waiting to be baked into bread and cakes;
for apples and apricots sorted in packing sheds,
dispatched to supermarkets far and wide.

God of Creation, God of the harvest,
these are the days of thanksgiving –
for the minerals and microbes,
the sunshine and moisture,
that you blend together to bring forth abundance.
From out of the fragile eco-systems of your creation,
marvellous in its complexity and variety,
comes life supporting crops from the fields,
vegetables in gardens,
fruit on trees.

God of Creation, God of harvest,
these are the days of thanksgiving –
for the garden you created east of Eden
and the ancestors you put there to tend it.
Our tasks haven’t changed, only our location.
We thank you for agriculturalists and pastoralists
for gardeners and orchardists
and for the merchants who bring their produce to market.

God of Creation, God of harvest,
these are the days of thanksgiving –
for all that sustain us
for all that inspires us –
the bounty of your land,
and the generosity of your Spirit,
we humbly offer our gratitude.

Harvest Offerings – from Rosalie Sugrue

fruits-harvest-festivalRosalie Sugrue writes – “I’m leading the Harvest Festival service for Raumati Uniting this Sunday and having written this Harvest Prayer thought it may be useful for others. I’ve also played around with the traditional harvest hymn ‘We plough the fields’ using the original 1st verse, borrowing the modern 2nd verse from an unknown source and adjusting the other verses and chorus to better fit 20th century understandings.”

Harvest Prayer

Abundant God, we meet here today in the context of a festival.
On this Sunday we particularly remember the harvest and your goodness to us.
Our autumn is marked by ripe berries and plump fruit. We are indeed surrounded by blessings that grow on trees.
Today we give particular thanks for the bounty of the soil.
Because your creativity is infinite we can appreciate an infinite variety of food and goods.
Today we give particular thanks for your plentitude and our abundance.
While intentionally mindful of the vital produce of farms, orchards and gardens we acknowledge there are many spin off blessings that come from living in a land of plenty.
Today we give particular thanks that education is a right for all our children.
Our children are not required to labour to live, and our educated adults can choose from many work options and creative opportunities.
Today we give particular thanks for the many benefits of employment.
We have the good fortune to live in a land of great natural beauty that offers many pleasurable pursuits.
Today we give particular thanks for the leisure that we are able to enjoy.
As we travel life’s journey we encounter many people. Help us to find ‘good and God’ in all whom we meet and wherever we go.
Today we give particular thanks for this church and its people.
Save us from becoming cynics isolated by our own concerns or non-negotiable opinions.
Help us to be blessing counters all the days of our lives so we may live mindful of your continuing love now and forever.   Amen.

Harvest Hymn

We plough the fields, …

Tune: WIR PFLÜGEN, in With One Voice, 59;  Words: 1st verse, Matthias Claudius, 1782; 2nd verse, author unknown [see postscript, below]; remainder adapted by R. M. Sugrue

We plough the fields, and scatter
the good seed on the land,
but it is fed and watered
by God’s almighty hand.
God sends the snow in winter,
the warmth to swell the grain,
the breezes, and the sunshine,
and soft, refreshing rain.

All good gifts around us
are given by God to share,
then thank the Lord, O thank our God,
for teaching us to care.

We now plough fields with tractors,
with drills we sow the land;
but growth is still the wondrous gift
of God’s almighty hand.
We add our fertilizers
to help the growing grain;
but for its full fruition,
it needs God’s sun and rain.

God is the primary maker
of all things near and far;
God paints the wayside flower,
and lights the evening star;
the winds and waves are God made,
by God the birds are fed;
and to us all is given,
far more than daily bread.

We thank you God our Parent,
for all things bright and good,
the seed time and the harvest,
our life, our health, our food.
tractorAccept the gifts we offer
for all your love imparts,
and what you ask from us folk,
our humble, thankful hearts.


[Your webmistress suggests Frank Low as the author of the second verse above, and adds We-plough-the-fields-with-tractors, downloaded from this websitefor further  information as to the original source, plus some additional material.]