A Bitter Sweet Harvest

Harvest Thoughts at the Bandstand

We were greeted in the bandstand with a display of harvest goods, both locally grown (Barbara’s veg) and some Fairtrade items. These were intermingled with some thoughts on our “Sweet Harvest” and they included;

justice, equality, Fairtrade,  locally produced, organic, people valued, respect for people, animals and the earth, fair wages, fair prices for farmers, freedom foods, environmental care, good working conditions, workers free to join unions.

This was in contrast to our thoughts on the “Bitter Harvest” which included things like;

reduced biodiversity, environmental degradation, chemical contamination of soil and water, death of the oceans, animals mistreated, injustice, intimidation of workers, the power of multinationals, tax avoidance, supermarket price wars, poverty wages, mass sackings, poor working conditions, long hours, slave labour, wage cuts, unions banned, factory fishing and exploitation of people, living things and the environment.

Opening Prayer.

God, the Holy Spirit,

You are the restless wind of love that sweeps through the world.

You blow where you will, breaking down barriers,

Stirring hearts to change, making all things possible.

Make us restless for change – even impossible change.

Come, Spirit of God,

Sweep through our world bringing great change.

May the harvest of your goodness bring justice and hope.

And, for us, transformation in our praying and living,

So all may share in the harvest of your blessings.

Amen.

Wendy, Tony and Grayden added thoughts on mistreatment of animals and people in the production of our food in the west.

We read the Beatitudes from Matthew 5 – focusing on “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for justice, for they shall be filled”

Brian McLaren says – “Many English translations use the word righteousness instead of justice, but justice is a better rendering. Righteousness suggests personal piety or religiosity, but the Greek work does not carry that connotation.”

Cheap food, cheap clothes – this doesn’t mean their cost was cheap. It means someone else absorbed the difference between the price we paid and the actual cost. Our everyday choices have implications for the lives and well being of people all over the world. Our food and clothing choices have consequences for both the people who produced them and for the planet.

Prayer of Forgiveness.

When we are unkind to people,

When we are careless with animals,

When we choose the cheapest or easiest,

When we don’t care about the consequences of our choices,

When we waste energy and water,

When we lack respect for the Earth,

When we are complacent and overcome by apathy.

Forgive us, Father and reconcile us to yourself,

To one another and to the Creation.

May the wind of the Spirit blow through our lives

Helping us to be good stewards of Creation,

Now and forever.

Amen.

We read Psalm 65 verses 9 – 13

Thanksgiving for Harvest.

May we always walk gently upon the Earth, in right relationship,

Nurtured by your love,

Open to the wind of the Spirit,

Taking only what we need,

Always open to the needs of others,

Making choices that bring wellbeing,

Living with generosity,

Striving for justice,

Honouring all with reverence,

Reconciling and peacemaking,

Mindful of those who will come after,

Recognising our proper place as part of your creation.

Grant us the strength and courage, Lord,

For such a radical transformation into your Kingdom.

Amen.

Prayer for sharing the bread and wine we used Harvest Reflection form Edward P. Echlin author of Earth Spirituality, Jesus at the Centre

Closing Prayer.

Come, Holy Spirit,

And breathe into the lives of all who celebrate harvest,

That the gifts of the earth may be for all people,

Especially those who experience poverty and exploitation;

And those who fear the uncertainties of climate change.

Breathe into our own lives and communities,

That we may be transformed by your power,

To live in justice and generosity.

So may we truly celebrate your harvest.

Here and now and forever in your Kingdom.

Amen.

(Liturgies with thanks from Christian Aid and Christian Ecology Link )

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