It seems that ‘thank you’ letters are going out of style in our digital world, even though they are wonderful to write and receive.
Letter writing has never featured prominently as a way of saying ‘thank you’ for the harvest. Yet a letter, written by Paul to the church congregation in Philippi, provides a clue about an appropriate thanksgiving for the harvest: Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say Rejoice.
Paul also tells them, Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
Our part of God’s creation isn’t well-treated by humankind, and the effects of this are visible in scarred, overused landscapes, experienced in polluted air, waters empty of fish, and the issue of plastic in the oceans. We also know that farmers are a community under pressure, seeking to reduce costs and increase yields, while trying to obtain a fair price for their product.
In the Old Testament, the people take some of the first of the harvest to the priest at the place where they believe God dwells, they recite the story of their rescue from slavery, and of coming into the land which ﬂows with milk and honey, and finally they bow down before their God.
At this time of the year, in the northern hemisphere, we say an appropriate ‘thank you’ to the Lord of Harvest and God of Creation.
As we reﬂect on the work of human hands in partnership with God, we unite in solidarity with farmers and express the hope that everyone may eat and drink, both for sustenance and pleasure. We also accept responsibility for looking after our environment.
We thank God for the harvest in our prayers, our praise, and our practical action – a good response for every day of the year.
You have given us
a world of beauty,
and we have spoilt it.
A world to feed us,
and so many go hungry.
A world of riches,
and we are unwilling to share.
A world to care for,
and we think only of ourselves.
Forgive us, gracious God,
every time your heart is saddened
by our selfishness,
every time we have no thought
for others, no cares but ours.
Enable us to see this world
as a gift from you
that can be shared,
and those who live on it
as our neighbours.
We ask this that your name
may be glorified
through the beauty of this world
and the service of our lives.