• Rossendale Circuit

The Earth is The Lord's - Sunday Service 11.10.20

Words by David Burrow


Video Audio Service


Scroll down to view the transcript and click to view directly in Youtube here.


Part 1


Hymns:


MP 106 'Come you thankful people come'

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t3n7IUCdqAM


MP 642 'The Earth is the Lord’s'

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aIJg0R7K0Pk

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rAompuKQZo0 no lyrics but I like it


Part 2


Hymns:


MP 732 'We plough the fields and scatter'

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ccVEjKFkAV4

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=du-5yPKfSRc music only but olde worldey video


MP 23 'All things bright and beautiful'

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iUnQMvwaXlc sung by Julie Gaulke

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IPMA5I3-0Jw songs of praise


Part 3


Hymns:


MP 354 'Jehovah Jireh'

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rPt2z6XJ3cA

MP 497 'O give thanks to the Lord'

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yFge5RiJgEk


MP 153 'For the fruits of His creation'

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



Part 4

Hymns:


MP 796 'You shall go out with joy'

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OH0XbpNY2g8


MP 200 'Great is thy faithfulness'

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



Transcript


*Not always exact to the videos

Call to Worship:


Psalm 24:1-2

'The earth is the Lord’s and all that is in it, the world, and those who live in it; for he has founded it on the seas, and established it on the rivers.'

Pause for a moment and look around you. Look out of the window. What do you see? Rejoice in the wonder and variety of God’s creation.


Photo by Aaron Burden via Unsplash


Check out the colours, and if you can the sounds, textures and the smells. Crunch through the fallen leaves, feel the smoothness of those wonderful conkers which we all used to play with and breathe in the crisp autumn air.

God has surrounded us with beauty.


God is a creative and caring God providing for all our needs.

Take a moment to say ‘Thank you’ to God for loving you and taking care of you.

Festivals are times of celebration and thanksgiving and Harvest is one of my favourites. The middle of October is perhaps a little late to be celebrating the harvest of farm and field but there are many other types of harvest which happen throughout the year. More of that in a few minutes, but let’s concentrate for a moment on the traditional harvest.

As the son of a hill and dairy farmer the annual harvest of grass, which we turned into hay and silage was vital, both to the lives of our animals for their winter feed and the economic survival of the farm. When you’re a small boy playing in the hay such thoughts don’t enter your head but as you get old enough to help with the work reality dawns.


Bringing in the harvest is hard work with very long hours. And we must remember that the harvest is the climax of the work of a year, which begins with ploughing, then the sowing of seed, followed by the nurturing of the crop until finally it’s time to reap what you have sown.


When the last bale of hay was safely in the barn, or the last trailer load of silage was finally brought home it was time to relax and give thanks to God for his provision.

We looked forward to the annual Harvest Celebration with a supper and sale.

The farmers and their families sang their hearts out in praise of all God had done.

Tables groaned under the weight of the homemade cakes, pies and meringues.

And after the supper the young farmers did their best to outbid one another for the fruit and vegetables which had been on display. Money was raised for various charities and everyone went home content.


It was good to gather in the presence of God to celebrate yet another harvest festival.

Hymns:


MP 106 'Come you thankful people come'

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t3n7IUCdqAM


MP 642 'The Earth is the Lord’s'

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aIJg0R7K0Pk

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rAompuKQZo0 no lyrics but I like it

Prayer:


Creator God, you crown the year with your goodness and you give us the fruits of the earth in their season: enable us to use them for your glory, to help those in need and for our own well-being.

God, the giver and sustainer of life, whose Holy Spirit wells up within your Church: by the Spirit’s gifts equip us to live the gospel of Christ.

Make us eager to do your will, that we may share with the whole creation the joys of eternal life.


Amen


Photo by Josh Boot via Unsplash

A prayer of Confession and Thanksgiving:


Almighty God, who in Jesus Christ has given us a kingdom that cannot be destroyed, forgive us our sins.


We enjoy the fruits of the harvest, but too often we take them for granted; forgive us when we have used your gifts carelessly and acted ungratefully.

Open our eyes to Your truth, through your Holy Spirit empower us to do Your will and fill us with the joy of Your kingdom, through Jesus Christ our Lord.


Amen

The Lord’s Prayer


As we know the Psalms are wonderful at expressing how people are feeling, from deep sadness in the laments to the heights of joy and praise. The writers are honest about their relationship. One of my favourite Psalms is Psalm 65. It is a Psalm of thanksgiving for the earth’s bounty. It begins with an exclamation of Praise for all God has done and continues to do, and it ends with a harvest thanksgiving.


Psalm 65


And of course, these meadows needed planting before they could produce their harvest and planting requires ploughing.

Hymns:


MP 732 'We plough the fields and scatter'

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ccVEjKFkAV4

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=du-5yPKfSRc music only but olde worldey video


MP 23 'All things bright and beautiful'

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iUnQMvwaXlc sung by Julie Gaulke

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IPMA5I3-0Jw songs of praise

Read Genesis 2:4b-9, 15-25


God created a wonderful, beautiful garden.


I don’t know about you, but I imagine it being filled with trees, plants and flowers of every colour and hue. The gold medal winners at the Chelsea flower show would have paled into insignificance alongside it.

And into this amazing place God put all the animals and birds and the man and the woman.


God didn’t give Adam and Eve lots of rules or even, as far as we know, ask them to do a risk assessment.


Perhaps if He had they wouldn’t have eaten the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil!


Instead of rules God gave them permission.


Permission to work and care for the garden and to eat the fruit of every tree except the one already mentioned.

God doesn’t invite us to simply hold out our hands and receive from him, but to work with him as co-creators.


Working the soil is widely recognised as being good for you. Listening to the radio I heard a person speaking about how during the summer he has enjoyed not using gloves in his garden; the texture, smell and touch of the soil and the plants gives him a sense of wellbeing that he doesn’t find elsewhere. Even doing the weeding gave him a feeling of job satisfaction. What must it have been like for Adam and Eve to work in a garden that didn’t have any weeds?!


The speaker spoke of the joy he found in tending the plants and watching them grow and flourish.


He recognised that he was working in partnership with the earth and I would also add that he was working in partnership with God, as a co-creator.

Creating a beautiful garden, of any size, is to create a place where the harvest is not simply fruit and flowers but beauty and joy.


Photo Ignacio Correia via Unsplash


The account of creation in Genesis 2 reminds us of this and Psalm 24 takes things even further.

We are no longer speaking of just a garden, but the whole earth and everything in it.

All living things produce a harvest, from sheep and their lambs to the fish in the sea, and today in the UK we have Llamas, goats and even buffalo which produce milk and, I am told, some of the best ice cream ever!

All of this we thank God for, remembering that God is a generous God who loves to pour out his blessings on his people.


God, the creator of the whole earth and everything in it, obviously loves variety, colour and simply creating things purely for the joy of it.

How God must smile when we put our God given gift of creativity into action and produce wonderful music, art, poetry and prose. And what about chefs, designers, architects, photographers and playwrights?

Feel free to add to the list others who also create harvests of beauty, wonder and joy. Pray for these people, perhaps something along the lines of this prayer by Jill Weber,


‘God I pray for those who create and cultivate beauty, joy and wonder. Give them eyes to see the beauty You have created on the earth. May they be bold messengers, carrying beauty through their craft. May they produce a harvest to enrich all our lives’.


Take some time to pray by name for any artists, chefs, poets, musicians, and the rest, that you know, giving thanks for the ways in which they have enriched your life.

As Adam and Eve were planted in the Garden of Eden and invited to work with God as gardeners and stewards, so too you and I have been planted in the places where we live.

One of the challenges of the Harvest season is to focus on where has God planted you – it will probably be in more than one place so try focussing on just one.

And as you focus on that place ask, ‘how can I work with God to enable my home, school, university, workplace, community, to bloom and produce a harvest that glorifies God?’

Paul, in his letter to the Ephesians, reminds us that we have been saved by grace through faith (2:8) and that ‘we are what he has made us, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand to be our way of life.’ (Ephesians 2:10).

God has promised that he has all kinds of wonderful things (good works) prepared for us to get involved with, so that we can work with Him in building His kingdom to produce a harvest of justice, peace, joy and love.

One of my favourite books is Shadow of the Almighty, (which is a quote from Psalm 91). The book is the story of Jim Elliot, who, in 1956, with several of his friends and colleagues were murdered in Ecuador by men of the Waodoni people who they were trying to reach with the good news of Jesus. The Waodoni, also known pejoratively as Aucas (a modification of awqa, the Quechua word for "savages"), were an isolated people known for their violence, against both their own people and outsiders who entered their territory.


Within three years of the tragedy, Elisabeth Elliot, Valerie, Jim and Elisabeth’s daughter, and Rachel Saint, the sister of the pilot who also died, were living in a Waodoni village teaching the Indians about a forgiving Christ and soon a Christian church was established among the Waodoni people. Seeds of faith had been sown and a harvest of souls was reaped.

A further harvest was reaped when, because of the men’s self-sacrifice many more Christians volunteered for the mission field and the work grew.

One of Jim Elliot’s favourite sayings was, “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep, to gain that which he cannot lose.”


Jim Elliot and his friends had been willing to give up, to sow, what they could not keep (their lives) in order to gain what they could not lose (resurrection to eternal life); all for the love of Jesus and a longing that Jesus might receive the harvest of a people from every tongue, tribe and nation (Revelation 5:9-10).


Photo by Warren Wong via Unsplash


In John’s vision of heaven, the 24 elders and the four living creatures


9 They sing a new song:

‘You (Jesus) are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slaughtered and by your blood you ransomed for God saints from every tribe and language and people and nation; 10 you have made them to be a kingdom and priests serving our God, and they will reign on earth.’

That is an awesome harvest!!

We are not all called to travel to dangerous places to reap a harvest of souls.

We are all called, however, to faithfully work with God as His co-creators, through the power of His Holy Spirit, to sow the seeds of His kingdom and reap a harvest.

The seeds we are to sow, are not only seeds of justice, peace, faith, joy and love but also seeds of beauty and wonder.


Seeds that produce harvests that enrich everyone’s life.

So, sow your seeds: tend your gardens, grow beautiful flowers, paint stunning pictures, write inspiring stories, play wonderful music, cook delicious meals – whatever it is that you do – do it!

Sow your talent and produce a harvest that overflows with joy and wonder, that the whole of God’s earth, and everything in it might glorify God and be filled with wonder, love and praise.


Hymns:


MP 354 'Jehovah Jireh'

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rPt2z6XJ3cA

MP 497 'O give thanks to the Lord'

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yFge5RiJgEk


MP 153 'For the fruits of His creation'

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

Prayers of Intercession:


God, creator of all, made known to us by Jesus, among us by your Spirit, we bring to you our prayers for your earth, its life and its people.


We pray for our local and national leaders; may they always make their decisions with regard for the good of the earth and the needs and rights of the poor; give them the humility to work together and the wisdom to make the best decisions in the face of complex problems.


May they sow seeds of justice and reap a harvest of peace.

We give thanks for the numerous signs of your kingdom in creation, for the joy of creativity in all its wonderful forms. We give thanks for all that we enjoy in life, our communities and friendships, freedoms and laughter, and today we particularly give thanks for the gifts of every harvest.

Give us a continual sense of wonder amidst your creation; compassion to respond to the needs of others; courage to take what action we can for justice in your world; and wisdom to choose ways of living which are good for the needs of future generations and the health of the earth.


May we sow seeds of hope and reap a harvest of joy.

We give thanks for the Church, for its worship and its teaching, for all who support us now in our discipleship of Christ and for all who have been an inspiration or companions in the past. By your Spirit give your Church humility to hear your word, courage to work for your justice, grace to share your peace with the earth, and the faith to live and proclaim the gospel.


May your Church sow the seeds of faith and reap a harvest of love.


Other prayers

In the name of Jesus, Amen.

Blessing:

God the Father, who created the world, give you grace to be wise stewards of his creation.


God the Son, who redeemed the world, inspire you to go out as labourers into his harvest. God the Holy Spirit, whose breath fills the whole creation, help you to bear his fruit of love, joy and peace, and the blessing of God almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, be among you and remain with you always.


Amen.

Hymns:


MP 796 'You shall go out with joy'

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OH0XbpNY2g8


MP 200 'Great is thy faithfulness'

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

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