Sunday, September 28, 2014

Shaking the Trees - a Harvest Celebration

With uniformed organisations – ask them to have a look at what they can see in the porch … and remember as many things as they can …

It’s great to welcome everyone to our celebration of Harvest – let’s all stand as we welcome our uniformed organisations

Welcome uniformed organisations

Our year has a pattern to it – just as the school year begins in September, I always think of our year at church starting in September and at the end of the month each year that I can remember we have celebrated harvest thanksgiving.  This year, Shirley, our worship ministry leader asked people to request some of their favourite harvest hymns – between both services we have managed to use all of them.

And so we begin with a favourite hymn for harvest …

292      We plough the fields and scatter

Opening Prayer from the Harvest Sheet
Heavenly Father,
You have given us the green earth,
The wide seas,
The arable lands and the pastures,
The forests and the rivers.
You have created plants
that will grow in rocky places
and you have given your people
the inventiveness to survive. 
You accept all of us as your children
in spite of our differences. 
We thank you for all that you have given us.
May we begin to hunger and thirst
for justice and peace.
In the name of your son, Jesus Christ.
The Lord’s Prayer

Celebrating God’s Creation

For me harvest is a celebration of the wonder of God’s creation – it’s great to have things that have grown – not just flowers – a great welcome in the porch – a challenge – how observant were you as you came in.

Can you tell me ten things that were in the wonderful display in the porch?

What else can you see?  - a reminder of the wonders of God’s creation.

And this is something to celebrate.

Judi wanted us to celebrate – her choice of songs was to catch that spirit of celebration in all we do – so Hy-Spirit are going to lead us in two songs of celebration – as we celebrate God’s creation around us

Hy-Spirit Songs – Come on and celebrate
                        O give thanks to the Lord

One of the age old customs that I associate with Harvest is to give a special gift – and that is something that goes way back to the mists of time.  In the Old Testament as the people settled in the land – they were to bring an offering to say thank you to God.

Reading;  Deuteronomy 26:1-3 and 10-11

In those passages there is a call to think of other people.   But all too often we fail to do just that.  Maybe we need to say sorry – that’s what we are going to do in our next prayer, a prayer of confession.

Prayer of Confession

Lord God,
You have given us this world
and all the beautiful things in it.
You have given enough
for all your people to share.
But we have created imbalance.
We who have plenty have wasted our resources and left others with nothing.
We see images of want in distant lands,
and we feel sad but helpless.
We see conflict
and say there is nothing that can be done.
We pretend to be too insignificant
to make a difference.
We do not love our neighbours as ourselves.
Forgive us our sins
and teach us not to make excuses.
Teach us to speak out in situations of injustice
and to work together
so that all may share in a plentiful harvest.
In the name of Jesus Christ.

That’s what we do at Harvest as we invite people to bring gifts of packaged food that can be used in CCP’s  Foodshare.

Thinking of Others – CCP Foodshare

Song:  At harvest time

Richard to reflect on what olive trees need to grow – water, tender care … and patience – as it’s 8 years before they bear fruit and have olives.

Maybe a thought for us to take to heart – things sometimes need tending, and patience before they happen.

Then a bit of fun with the children …

When apple trees bear their fruit how do you harvest the apples?

When pear trees bear fruit how do you harvest the pears?

When plum trees bear fruit how do you harvest the plums?

Maybe get three people out to be an apple tree, a pear tree, a plum tree …

And then a fourth – when olive trees bear fruit how do you harvest the olives …

Listen carefully to this reading from the Bible – and see if you can spot how it’s done

Reading Deuteronomy 24:17-22

You have to shake the olive tree

That gives me something to think about.

Sometimes if we want something to be done … or something to happen we have to shake things.

Can you think of something that needs shaking so that something can be done – and maybe that’s something we can each commit to doing

Make an affirmation of faith
Harvest service sheet

Whenever we see a seed of hope planted

We trust you, Lord to make it grow

When we see fragile green shoots reach for the light

We reach for you
as our protector and guide

When we climb strong branches and view the world you have made

We remember your olive branch of peace

When green leaves shelter us from rain

We have faith
that you will bring justice to the oppressed

When we shake the tree and harvest the fruit of the branches

We look forward to a future of plenty of all

When we plant the seeds again, in a never ending cycle of renewal

We celebrate
the promise of salvation and eternal life.

Offering for our Harvest Collection
and Dedication

282      God whose farm is all creation

Prayers of Concern

CP 650 Now sing we a song of the harvest

Words of Blessing
From the Harvest Service sheet

May God the Father,
who is the source of all growth,
the provider of refreshing rain,
nourishing the earth and warm sunlight,
pour his blessings on us and all his children, and send us out in the power of his spirit
to live and work for his praise and glory.

Let us go in peace
to love and serve the Lord.


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