Welcome to our virtual service of worship at Harvest time.
There aren't any Harvest Festivals in Wales at the moment due to the pandemic Fire Break we're in, but today we have something of a 'Harvest' theme to our online worship.
Dear Lord and loving Heavenly Father who gives life, light and productivity to creation, we give you thanks for your presence in and watchfulness over the created order, providing for what you created, giving life to seed, soil and livestock and feeding us with the harvest of the earth.
Preserve your Creation, the natural world and our food supply from all the rebelliousness and waywardness of humanity and continue to grant us and all your people what we need to be sustained and to prosper.
We pray for Jesus' sake.
You may know this hymn ...
Please watch, pray for and share this seasonal Word for the Week video
Here's a much newer Harvest hymn, but you might recognise the tune if not the banjo, fiddle and harmonica!
The Prayer Prompts
The first wave of the pandemic back in March made us all very aware of the fragility of our food supply and subsequent stories in the news have made us more aware of how much our lives do depend on the fruitful harvest of the earth, and yet farming is often under attack in the media and farming itself is under increasing pressure from economic factors, state regulation, animal and crop diseases and the pace of change.
Let's first give thanks for
the degree of stability in the food supply that we do enjoy in our land
the general affordability of our food
the animal health and food hygiene standards of the systems which ensure that we are ethically and healthily fed to the degree that we are
the levels of health and the life expectancy that our people enjoy as a result
Let us pray that whatever happens in trade negotiations, in Parliament and in the decisions made by those who make decisions throughout the supply chain, our food will remain healthy, local and both environmentally and animal welfare-friendly.
Let us pray for the DEFRA Secretary in Westminster (George Eustace) and the out-going Welsh Government Minister (Lesley Griffiths) asking that their service and the decisions that they make will be characterised by integrity in office, wisdom in deliberation and fairness in the regulations and initiatives that they produce.
Let us pray about the impact of disease on livestock and those who produce our food, particularly arising from the bovine Tuberculosis epidemic that has afflicted both farmed and wild animals increasingly badly since Foot & Mouth disease broke out here in 2001.
Pray particularly for farmers and for vets who have had to deal with particular stress and distress and who continue to do so, enduring the frustration of living with the consequences of the ineffectiveness of the existing control measures to eradicate this dreadful disease.
Please also pray for wisdom for all God's servants called upon to visit, listen to, help and counsel anyone affected by the bTB crisis.
Let us pray for arable farmers who have been particularly badly affected this year by the unusual weather which has brought low yields and now threatens to adversely impact the sowing of next year's winter wheat, barley and oat crops (usually the highest yielding) which threatens next year's harvest unless the Lord intervenes. Very little of the usual October planting has gone ahead. Pray that the Lord will provide!
Let us finally pray for those who stand to be adversely affected by the disruption to trade that will arise if there is a no-deal Brexit for UK lamb producers, beef producers, pork producers, cereal and sugar beet farmers in particular whose exports will not find markets overseas due to tariffs that will be payable under WTO rules.
Let's pray against animal welfare problems that are likely to arise.
Let's pray against the tsunami of bankruptcies, mental health problems and suicides in the farming community that seem probable, that looking back from the future these projections will turn out to have been unjustified 'project fear' predictions and also that whatever happens at the end of the year with Brexit, His servants will serve Him faithfully and well throughout whatever occurs.
Heavenly Father, please watch over us and all the affairs of men in such a way that our needs are met, gratitude arises to you from our hearts and our hearts are inspired to the faithful and true worship of our God - our Creator and our Provider.
For we ask for Jesus' sake.
Let's worship the Lord Who reigns over all our concerns and over all the affairs of mankind
To the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ:
Grace to you and peace.
The Thessalonians’ Faith and Example
2 We give thanks to God always for all of you, constantly mentioning you in our prayers, 3 remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. 4 For we know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you, 5 because our gospel came to you not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction. You know what kind of men we proved to be among you for your sake. 6 And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you received the word in much affliction, with the joy of the Holy Spirit, 7 so that you became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and in Achaia. 8 For not only has the word of the Lord sounded forth from you in Macedonia and Achaia, but your faith in God has gone forth everywhere, so that we need not say anything. 9 For they themselves report concerning us the kind of reception we had among you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, 10 and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come.
Here's a 'Harvest' themed version of an old favourite ...
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Our Father we give thanks for the extraordinary generosity, dedication and partnership we have seen at this difficult time, from food bank staff and volunteers, from local churches, from businesses and from the public.
We lament the suffering we are seeing in our society at this time. People losing loved ones, health, jobs, and businesses. Families struggling to make ends meet.
We mourn the injustices and inequalities made evident by the pandemic, which communities and individuals have been burdened by for many years.
We continue to pray for:
• People experiencing acute poverty: that they would receive the support they need and be able to find positive pathways forwards.
• Food banks: that they would receive sufficient food donations, and that they would be able to respond to every person who needs their support with sensitivity and kindness.
• Our society: for justice and compassion to prevail in political and economic decision-making, so that everyone is protected from poverty and has the chance to flourish.
And that the words of the prophet Amos will be brought to fruit in a great harvest of righteousness before our own eyes: