A Shorter Communion Service for Harvest

HYMN - To thee O Lord our hearts we raise - Golden Sheaves - NEH 261

1 To thee, O Lord, our hearts we raise

In hymns of adoration;

To thee bring sacrifice of praise

With shouts of exultation.

Bright robes of gold the fields adorn,

The hills with joy are ringing,

The valleys stand so thick with corn

That even they are singing.

2 And now, on this our festal day,

Thy bounteous hand confessing,

Upon thine altar, Lord, we lay

The first-fruits of thy blessing;

By thee the souls of men are fed

With gifts of grace supernal;

Thou who dost give us daily bread,

Give us the bread eternal.

3 We bear the burden of the day,

And often toil seems dreary;

But labour ends with sunset ray,

And rest is for the weary;

May we, the angel-reaping o'er,

Stand at the last accepted,

Christ's golden sheaves for evermore

To garners bright elected.

4 O blessèd is that land of God,

Where saints abide for ever;

Where golden fields spread fair and broad,

Where flows the crystal river:

The strains of all its holy throng

With ours to-day are blending;

Thrice blessèd is that harvest-song

Which never hath an ending.

PRAYER OF PREPARATION
Almighty God, to whom all hearts are open,
all desires known,
and from whom no secrets are hidden:
cleanse the thoughts of our hearts
by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit,
that we may perfectly love you,
and worthily magnify your holy name;
through Christ our Lord. Amen

PRAYERS OF PENITENCE
We confess our sin, and the sins of our society, 

in the misuse of God's creation.  

God our Father, we are sorry for the times 

when we have used your gifts carelessly, and acted ungratefully.  

Hear our prayer, and in your mercy: 

forgive us and help us. 

We are thoughtless, and do not care enough

for the world you have made.  

Hear our prayer, and in your mercy:

forgive us and help us.

We belong to a people who rarely hunger, 

if we have ignored the cry of the hungry in the world,

hear our prayer, and in your mercy:

forgive us and help us.

Almighty God, who in Jesus Christ has given us a harvest 

that cannot be destroyed,

 forgive us our sins, open our eyes to his truth, 

strengthen us to do his will and give us the joy of his kingdom, 

through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Amen

THE COLLECT

Almighty and everlasting God, 

we give you thanks for your fatherly goodness 

in giving to us the fruits of the earth in their seasons. 

Give us grace to use them rightly, to your glory, f

or our own well-being, and for the relief of those in need; 

through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen


FIRST READING - Genesis 37.1-82

Jacob settled in the land where his father had lived as an alien, the land of Canaan. This is the story of the family of Jacob.

Joseph, being seventeen years old, was shepherding the flock with his brothers; he was a helper to the sons of Bilhah and Zilpah, his father’s wives; and Joseph brought a bad report of them to their father. Now Israel loved Joseph more than any other of his children, because he was the son of his old age; and he had made him a long robe with sleeves. But when his brothers saw that their father loved him more than all his brothers, they hated him, and could not speak peaceably to him.

Once Joseph had a dream, and when he told it to his brothers, they hated him even more. He said to them, “Listen to this dream that I dreamed. There we were, binding sheaves in the field. Suddenly my sheaf rose and stood upright; then your sheaves gathered around it, and bowed down to my sheaf.” His brothers said to him, “Are you indeed to reign over us? Are you indeed to have dominion over us?” So they hated him even more because of his dreams and his words.

HYMN - Lord of beauty, thine the splendour - Regents Square - NEH 265

1. Lord of beauty, thine the splendour

shown in earth and sky and sea,

burning sun and moonlight tender,

hill and river, flower and tree:

lest we fail our praise to render

touch our eyes that they may see.

2. Lord of wisdom, whom obeying

mighty waters ebb and flow,

while unhasting, undelaying,

planets on their courses go:

in thy laws thyself displaying,

teach our minds thyself to know.

3. Lord of life, alone sustaining

all below and all above,

Lord of love, by whose ordaining

sun and stars sublimely move:

in our earthly spirits reigning,

lift our hearts that we may love.

4. Lord of beauty, bid us own thee,

Lord of truth, our footsteps guide,

till as Love our hearts enthrone thee,

and, with vision purified,

Lord of all, when all have known thee,

thou in all art glorified.

GOSPEL - Luke 12.16-23

Then he told them a parable: “The land of a rich man produced abundantly. And he thought to himself, ‘What should I do, for I have no place to store my crops?’ Then he said, ‘I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.’ But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life is being demanded of you. And the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ So it is with those who store up treasures for themselves but are not rich toward God.”

He said to his disciples, “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat, or about your body, what you will wear. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing.

SERMON

The story of Joseph is full of contrasts, famine and plenty, loyalty and disloyalty, faithfulness and deceit, power and vulnerability. But at its heart the story is all about faithfulness.  A story of what the Jews called hesed sticking to your half of the deal, keeping your promises and living up to your responsibilities.  We don’t have time to go through the whole story again - I am sure your remember it.  But it is enough to say that Joseph’s life was full of ups and downs.  His ups were pretty amazing - but then his downs were fairly spectacular too.  He was his father’s favourite son, and proud of it - then his brothers sold him into slavery, then he was given a good job - the boss’s wife liked him, she liked him too much so he ended up in prison.  He was in prison years.

He was released from prison because he was able to understand what certain people’s dreams meant.  He became advisor to the Pharaoh of Egypt and saved millions of people from starvation.  Through all his ups and downs he remained true to his God, the God of his people, he knew that that was the most important thing to do - even if life was hard at times.  What was especially good about Joseph was that he stayed faithful even in good times - he forgave his brothers and looked after them when they needed him.  

What’s does all this have to do with Harvest? Joseph saved all those people from starvation because he understood that he had to work with God.  He knew that even if the harvests were breaking all records then, time would soon come when the harvests would fail.  He knew that God was calling him to do something about it.  God works with us - he doesn’t expect us to leave him to it - Joseph’s faithfulness - his hesed - helped him to understand that God was faithful and would provide him with everything he needed to complete his task - he need have no fears - and he didn’t. 

Full storehouses and barns are fine - but they are useless without the hesed that knows what to do with them, and gives the courage to follow it through.

AFFIRMATION OF FAITH 

Let us declare our faith in the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ:

Christ died for our sins
in accordance with the scriptures;
he was buried;
he was raised to life on the third day
in accordance with the scriptures;
afterwards he appeared to his followers,
and to all the apostles:
this we have received,
and this we believe.  Amen.

1 Corinthians 15.3-7

INTERCESSIONS - Jenny Walmsley

Protect us, good Lord, in this time of uncertainty and distress. We remember especially those already suffering from displacement, famine and disease and who now have to contend with coronavirus in their underfunded communities. We pray for refugees everywhere and all those having to cope with the ravages of climate change at the same time as the pandemic.

Lord in Your mercy. - Hear our prayer

Help all our leaders to govern with compassion, wisdom and guidance in these difficult times so that as we struggle to avoid a second wave of the virus we can rely on their judgement and believe that they have the best interests of everyone in their hearts. Give them the insight to heal racist and homophobic divisions in our society, and to tackle the imbalance in the mental health, schooling and experiences of families and children. Let us all concentrate on ensuring that the lives of children and young people return to some sort of normality so that they at least can look forward with hope and love in their lives. 

Lord in Your mercy. - Hear our prayer

Let people of all faiths throughout the world be allowed the comfort of worship without persecution. 

We pray for your church and all who work so hard to keep it a vibrant and steadying force. In our benefice we thank everyone who is keeping the Christian flame alive in our hearts, especially William and his team of lay readers, pastoral leaders and church wardens.

Lord in Your mercy - Hear our prayer

Merciful God, we entrust to your tender care those who are ill or in pain, knowing that, whenever danger threatens, you are there to hold them safe. Comfort and heal them and restore them to health and strength.

Be close to those who are suffering, afraid or in isolation. When they feel alone, be their consolation; and when they feel anxious, be their hope; and always in their darkness, be their light. Support the Health Services with your loving strength and inspire the scientists desperately working to find a vaccine for Covid 19.

Help those that mourn loved ones to find a way forward through their grief and let them be comforted by, and believe in, your all-embracing love.

Lord in Your mercy - Hear our prayer

In conclusion we ask you to instil into our shaken souls the belief that all things are possible with your creative love. For strangers to become friends, for science to source solutions and for resources to be generously shared.

Let us channel your perfect love, that knows no borders or boundaries, to cast out all the fear and selfishness that divides one from another so that everyone, everywhere, may have what they need.

Merciful Father, 

accept these prayers, for the sake of your Son, our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen


THE PEACE

Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of goodness.

The peace of the Lord be always with you

and also with you

HYMN - For the beauty of the earth - Rutter - NEH 285

1 For the beauty of the earth,

For the beauty of the skies,

For the love which from our birth

Over and around us lies:

Refrain:

Lord of all, to thee we raise

This our sacrifice of praise.

2 For the beauty of each hour,

Of the day and of the night,

Hill and vale, and tree and flower,

Sun and moon and stars of light: [Refrain]

3 For the joy of ear and eye,

For the heart and brain's delight,

For the mystic harmony

Linking sense to sound and sight: [Refrain]

4 For the joy of human love,

Brother, sister, parent, child,

Friends on earth and friends above,

For all gentle thoughts and mild: [Refrain]

5 For each perfect gift of thine,

To our race so freely given,

Graces human and divine,

Flowers of earth and buds of heaven: [Refrain]

The Preparation of the Table

Yours, Lord, is the greatness, the power,

the glory, the splendour, and the majesty;

for everything in heaven and on earth is yours.

All things come from you, 

and of your own do we give you.

Eucharistic Prayer H 

The Lord is here.

His Spirit is with us.

Lift up your hearts.

We lift them to the Lord.

Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.

It is right to give thanks and praise.

It is right to praise you, Father, Lord of all creation;

in your love you made us for yourself.

When we turned away

you did not reject us,

but came to meet us in your Son.

You embraced us as your children

and welcomed us to sit and eat with you.

In Christ you shared our life

that we might live in him and he in us.

He opened his arms of love upon the cross

and made for all the perfect sacrifice for sin.

On the night he was betrayed,

at supper with his friends

he took bread, and gave you thanks;

he broke it and gave it to them, saying:

Take, eat; this is my body which is given for you;

do this in remembrance of me.

Father, we do this in remembrance of him:

his body is the bread of life.

At the end of supper, taking the cup of wine,

he gave you thanks, and said:

Drink this, all of you; this is my blood of the new covenant,

which is shed for you for the forgiveness of sins;

do this in remembrance of me.

Father, we do this in remembrance of him:

his blood is shed for all.

As we proclaim his death and celebrate his rising in glory,

send your Holy Spirit that this bread and this wine

may be to us the body and blood of your dear Son.

As we eat and drink these holy gifts

make us one in Christ, our risen Lord.

With your whole Church throughout the world

we offer you this sacrifice of praise

and lift our voice to join the eternal song of heaven:

Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might,

Heaven and earth are full of your glory.

Hosanna in the highest.

As our Saviour taught us, so we pray:
Our Father in heaven, 

hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come, 

your will be done,
on earth as in heaven. 

Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins as we forgive 

those who sin against us.
Lead us not into temptation 

but deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power, 

and the glory are yours
now and for ever. Amen.

We break this bread to share in the body of Christ.,

Though we are many, we are one body, 

because we all share in one bread.

Jesus, lamb of God: have mercy on us.

Jesus, bearer of our sins: have mercy on us

Jesus, redeemer of the world: grant us your peace.

All you who hunger and thirst 

for a better life,

for a deeper faith

for a better world,

here is the bread of life;

feed on it with gratitude.

[Please come to the table to receive the bread, respecting the necessary distance.]

Post Communion PRAYER

Stir up, O Lord, the wills of your faithful people:

That they, plenteously bringing forth the fruit of good works,

may by you be plenteously;

through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

Almighty God,

we thank you for feeding us 

with the body and blood of your Son Jesus Christ.

Through him we offer you our souls and bodies

to be a living sacrifice.

Send us out in the power of your Spirit

to live and work to your praise and glory. Amen.

BLESSING
May God who clothes the lilies and feeds the birds of the sky,

who leads the lambs to pasture and the deer to water,

who multiplied loaves and fishes 

and changed water into wine,

lead us, feed us, and change us 

to reflect his glory through all eternity.  

and the blessing of God Almighty, 

Father, Son and Holy Spirit,

be among you, and remain with you always.  Amen

HYMN - We plough the friends and scatter - Wir Pflugen - NEH 262

1 We plough the fields and scatter

the good seed on the land,

but it is fed and watered

by God's almighty hand.

He sends the snow in winter,

the warmth to swell the grain,

the breezes and the sunshine,

and soft refreshing rain.

Refrain:

All good gifts around us

are sent from heav'n above;

then thank the Lord, O thank the Lord

for all his love.

2 He only is the Maker

of all things near and far;

he paints the wayside flower,

he lights the evening star;

the wind and waves obey him,

by him the birds are fed;

much more to us, his children,

he gives our daily bread. [Refrain]

3 We thank you, then, O Father,

for all things bright and good:

the seed-time and the harvest,

our life, our health, our food;

no gifts have we to offer

for all your love imparts,

but that which you desire now:

our humble, thankful hearts! [Refrain]

Go in peace to love and serve the Lord

In the name of Christ. Amen