Thought for the month of September: Harvest

The harvest is here:
earth’s bounty we bring!
And as we draw near,
God’s mercies we sing.
From greenhouse and garden,
allotment and store:
these love-gifts we offer
and praises outpour.

A harvest we bear –
our talents and time.
A calling to share:
such is God’s design.
As people of Jesus
we honour his name;
through our love for neighbour
his love we proclaim.

God’s harvest shall come,
when all is fulfilled:
death’s forces succumb,
and violence be stilled.
Then all that has breath
in Creation restored
shall bow down in worship:
One Harvest, one Lord!

Copyright © Dominic Grant
Permission is hereby freely granted to reproduce material for one-off or occasional use in non-commercial settings only, provided that the appropriate copyright attribution is included.

Contributed by Reverend Janet Conway

Thought for the month July 2021: Everywhere abundance

God of abundance, thank you for the abundance on earth,
thank you that nature points to your glorious generosity;
the hundreds and thousands of leaves on a tree,
the blossoms that drip off a branch in all their splendour,
insects that buzz about, filling the air with their dance,
bees that dart about bringing life on their wings,
birds that lavish their song on all with ears to hear.

God of abundance,
thank you for the abundance of your love –
a love that holds us all in life,
a love that encompasses all we do,
a love that allows us to thrive in all things.

Amen

Prayer by Reverend Nadene Snyman (from ‘Conversations’ the URC Prayer handbook for 2021)

Minister’s letter June 2021: “They will soar on wings like eagles”

My Dear Friends,

As we try to get back to “normal” church life after lockdown, one particular Bible verse keeps coming into my mind – it’s this famous verse from Isaiah 40: 31*.

Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.

This famous verse encapsulates our new-found energies and our utter exhilaration at even the simplest things in life that we would have normally taken for granted. Other versions of the Bible say ‘those who wait on the Lord’ will renew their strength. Christians like ourselves who seek to walk the Jesus way probably know and understand from experience what it means to ‘Wait on the Lord’ and what it means to ‘Hope in the Lord’. Waiting on the Lord implies prayer and patience, whereas Hoping in the Lord implies prayer and eager anticipation – two sides of the same coin, perhaps? Though different, these two versions accurately reflect aspects of our faith-filled trust as we have longed for new strength.

The imagery of soaring on wings like eagles is one that I hope will inspire us all for many months to come. May we soar to new heights in all we attempt in Christ’s name. As we emerge from lockdown, I imagine some of us will be feeling exhausted, others are stir-crazy, others again may be anxious about venturing forth. Isaiah calls us to remember who God is! God is never weak or tired, his love is everlasting. As the bible says in Isaiah 41: 31*:

For I hold you by your right hand – I, the Lord your God. And I say to you, ‘Don’t be afraid. I am here to help you.

My prayer is that, henceforth, we may never tire of doing good, and that we may live as thankful people who resolve never again to take so much for granted. In the words of G.K. Chesterton, ‘When it comes to life the critical thing is whether you take things for granted or take them with gratitude’. May God bless us all, and may we remember always to count our blessings one by one, and to pray for those less fortunate than ourselves.

Reverend Anthea Wickens

*  Copyright notice: The Holy Bible, New International Version® NIV ® Copyright © 1973 1978 1984 2011 by Biblica, Inc TM Used by permission, All rights reserved worldwide.