Service Notes 11th October 2020

MISSION HARVEST 2020

Good morning everyone and welcome to the first of our Harvest Services: this one in the morning and next week in the evening. Two different services but with the same theme of thanking God for His goodness to us in providing for our needs. Greetings also to those who will be receiving these notes.

 

I think it would be true to say that, since the onset of Corona Virus, little in our lives has remained the same. Life has been turned upside down. At such a time it is important to remind ourselves of the things which never change, and which remain constant. For us, as Christians, it is the presence, the power, and, above all, the love, of God which never change, and it is on these that we set the compass of our lives. 

Another constant is the Earth on which we live and, on which, we depend. The earth upon which we evolved and, from which, God created us when the first spark of life was lit. We have as much dependency on the earth now as we ever did for if God is our Heavenly Father then surely The Earth is our Mother. 

 

One man who understood this perfectly was St Francis of Assisi, who wrote The Canticle of the Sun on which is based the hymn, “All Creatures of our God and King.” I shall now read this poem as the hymn tune plays in the background.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jNaxSR6nGxI

 

ALL CREATURES OF OUR GOD & KING (music only)

READING: THE CANTICLE OF THE SUN

 

Most High, all powerful, good Lord, 
Yours are the praises, the glory, the honour, and all blessing.

To You alone, Most High, do they belong, 
and no man is worthy to mention Your name.

Be praised, my Lord, through all your creatures, 
especially through my lord Brother Sun, 
who brings the day; and you give light through him. 
And he is beautiful and radiant in all his splendour! 
Of you, Most High, he bears the likeness.

Praised be You, my Lord, through Sister Moon and the stars, 
in heaven you formed them clear and precious and beautiful.

Praised be You, my Lord, through Brother Wind, 
and through the air, cloudy and serene, 
and every kind of weather through which 
You give sustenance to Your creatures.

Praised be You, my Lord, through Sister Water,
which is very useful and humble and precious and chaste.

Praised be You, my Lord, through Brother Fire, 
through whom you light the night and he is beautiful 
and playful and robust and strong.

Praised be You, my Lord, through Sister Mother Earth, 
who sustains us and governs us and who produces 
varied fruits with coloured flowers and herbs.

Praised be You, my Lord, 
through those who give pardon for Your love, 
and bear infirmity and tribulation.

Blessed are those who endure in peace 
for by You, Most High, they shall be crowned.

Praised be You, my Lord, 
through our Sister Bodily Death, 
from whom no living man can escape.

Woe to those who die in mortal sin. 
Blessed are those who will 
find Your most holy will, 
for the second death shall do them no harm.

Praise and bless my Lord, 
and give Him thanks 
and serve Him with great humility.

 

We shall now say together The Lord’s Prayer followed by a Prayer of Thanksgiving. The Prayer of Thanksgiving will be accompanied by “THE LARK ASCENDING” a well-known piece of music by Vaughan Williams which so reminds us of the sheer beauty of nature and the earth that God has given us. 

THE LORD’S PRAYER

MUSIC “THE LARK ASCENDING” by VAUGHAN WILLIAMS

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UJjwtXf9Q6U

 

PRAYER OF THANKSGIVING FOR HARVEST

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, Lord, 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.

 

Nowadays, we hear a great deal about saving the planet and preserving and naturing the earth on which we live. There can be no doubt that the earth is in a perilous state but if this is to be reversed then it depends upon a change not only of laws but, more importantly, a change of heart and mind. 

 

We are here on earth not to worship nature, but to revere and cherish it. It is not only beautiful in its diversity but infinitely precious in its creation and existence. Creation is not something to be exploited to feed our greed as if we were its masters and owners, because, far from owning it, we are its stewards and servants. We are to love creation in the same way that we are to love God and each other. This alone is the mind-set that will save our planet Earth. 

 

The motto for this new age is “to stop fighting and killing each other, and, to work together as brothers and sisters, to save life and to preserve our world which is God’s gift to us all.” 

 

Our next hymn is one that is often scorned because it is too simple and too well known. It is often chosen at funerals because it’s one of the few hymns that people can remember from their early school days. I have often said this with a kind of sneering condescension! God forgive me! Perhaps I think like this because I am not simple enough: in which case, God grant me, and all of us, the gift of simplicity. The hymn “All Things Bright and Beautiful.”

HYMN: ALL THINGS BRIGHT & BEAUTIFUL (words and music by John Rutter)

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qY9G00WWUVI

 

BIBLE READING: 2 CORINTHIANS 9: 6-15 (Music played quietly in the background)

THE PRAYERS

FINAL HYMN: “FILL THOU MY LIFE O LORD MY GOD” (words and music)

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DrCTqTK1XqM

 

Before we finish, I want to go back to the start of our service, to St Francis of Assisi. St Francis was a simple soul and through this simplicity he was able to see the true beauty and preciousness of creation. If we are to save ourselves and to save this planet for future generations then it is such simplicity that we need.

And so, to end our service and before we say The Grace together, we shall listen to Judy Collins singing “TIS A GIFT TO BE SIMPLE: TIS A GIFT TO BE FREE: TIS A GIFT TO COME DOWN WHERE WE OUGHT TO BE.”

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kWTDgc96bg8

 

THE GRACE: And now may the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ: the love of God and the fellowship of The Holy Spirit, be with us all, for evermore: Amen.

 


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