Sunday, 4th October: Harvest Festival

Welcome to today’s online worship offering using the same readings, prayers and reflection that will be shared in church plus some musical offerings including one specially recorded by our choir for Harvest and a very special Harvest organ voluntary from our organist and choirmaster.  It takes about forty minutes to fully participate in this offering so we hope you can find some quality time to interact with it. Thank you for sharing in this worship with us.

Our Sunday school Harvest Collage

The Prayer for Today: The Collect

Eternal God, you crown the year with your goodness and you give us the fruits of the earth in their season: grant that we may use them to your glory, for the relief of those in need and for our own well-being; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Hymn: Come Ye Thankful People Come

First Reading: 2 Corinthians 9:6-15

The point is this: the one who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and the one who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.  Each of you must give as you have made up your mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.  And God is able to provide you with every blessing in abundance, so that by always having enough of everything, you may share abundantly in every good work.  As it is written, “He scatters abroad, he gives to the poor; his righteousness endures forever.”

He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness.  You will be enriched in every way for your great generosity, which will produce thanksgiving to God through us; for the rendering of this ministry not only supplies the needs of the saints but also overflows with many thanksgivings to God.  Through the testing of this ministry you glorify God by your obedience to the confession of the gospel of Christ and by the generosity of your sharing with them and with all others, while they long for you and pray for you because of the surpassing grace of God that he has given you.  Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!

Anthem: God in such Love for us

God in such love for us lent us this planet,
Gave it a purpose in time and in space;
Small as a spark from the fire of creation,
Cradle of life and the home of our race.
[Chorus] Thanks be to God for its bounty and beauty,
Life that sustains us in body and mind:
Plenty for all, if we learn how to share it,
Riches undreamed of to fathom and find.
Long have our human wars ruined its harvest;
Long has earth bowed to the terror of force;
Long have we wasted what others have need of,
Poisoned the fountain of life at its source.
Earth is the Lord's; it is ours to enjoy it,
Ours, as his stewards, to farm and defend. 
From its pollution, misuse, and destruction,
Good Lord deliver us, world without end!

Gospel Reading: Luke 12:16-30

Then he told them a parable: “The land of a rich man produced abundantly.  And he thought to himself, ‘What should I do, for I have no place to store my crops?’  Then he said, ‘I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods.  And I will say to my soul, Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.’  But God said to him, ‘You fool!  This very night your life is being demanded of you.  And the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’  So it is with those who store up treasures for themselves but are not rich toward God.”

He said to his disciples, “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat, or about your body, what you will wear.  For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing.

Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them.  Of how much more value are you than the birds!  And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life?  If then you are not able to do so small a thing as that, why do you worry about the rest?  Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these.  But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will he clothe you—you of little faith!  And do not keep striving for what you are to eat and what you are to drink, and do not keep worrying.  For it is the nations of the world that strive after all these things, and your Father knows that you need them.

Hymn: Look at the World

Today’s Reflection: from Rev. Suzanne Johnson, our Curate.

Anthem: Praise God for Harvest-time, sung by our ‘virtual choir’

Today’s Prayers

 We plough the fields and scatter, the good seed on the land, but it is fed and watered, by God’s almighty hand.

Dear Lord, we are celebrating our Harvest Festival with flowers decorating our Church and food at the Font for those in need.   It is also the Feast Day of St. Francis of Assisi a man of simple faith, true devotion to God and his fellow man, and a lover of nature.

We thank you for the fruits of the harvest which have been in abundance this year, we thank those who have worked the land, we must never take their work and produce for granted, we must share it unselfishly.

Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer

 We pray for our family of St. Nicolas, as we come week by week for our services, we pray for those unable to attend but have other means of taking part.  We pray for children back at school and for those who teach and have responsibility for the young.

Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer

May those who hold high office in our land guide us in these uncertain times, we pray for them and for world leaders.

 Dear Lord we pray for ourselves, but also for those who have a greater need; those in pain, grieving over a loss, the refugees, the hungry, the frightened and the lonely. Help us to see that when we look around, we have so much to be thankful for and a great responsibility for those in need. 

Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer

We remember in love, who have died in recent days, may light perpetual shine upon them.  

Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer

Dear Lord, give to us and all your people at these times of anxiety, serenity. In these times of hardship, courage, in these times of uncertainty, patience, and at all times a quiet trust in your wisdom and love, through Jesus Christ our Lord.    

Merciful Father, accept these prayers for the sake of your Son, our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.

Harvest Song: Lord of all the Harvest

Notices for this Week

Our Harvest Appeal: This year we are supporting the Slough Food Bank. To donate money (without fees and with the option of gift aid), go to CAFOnline and click ’Find a Charity’ and put Slough Food Bank in.  For more information about the work of Slough Food bank, visit its website.

Bishop Steven’s letter to us all: Our Bishop has been reflecting on our position and has made a 7 minute video suggesting how we might move forward through the coming winter.  The core of his message is this:

Final Hymn: All Creatures of our God and King

All creatures of our God and King
Life up your voice and with us sing,
Alleluia, Alleluia!
Thou burning sun with golden beam,
Thou silver moon with softer gleam,
O praise Him, O praise Him,
Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia!

Thou rushing wind that art so strong,
Ye clouds that sail in Heaven along,
O praise Him, Alleluia!
Thou rising moon in praise rejoice,
Ye lights of evening find a voice,
O praise Him, O praise Him,
Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia!

Thou flowing water, pure and clear, 
Make music for thy Lord to hear, 
Alleluia, alleluia!
Thou fire so masterful and bright, 
That givest man both warmth and light, 
O praise him, O praise him, 
Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia!

Dear Mother Earth, who day by day
Unfoldest blessings on our way,
O praise Him, Alleluia!
The flowers and fruits that in thee grow,
Let them his glory also show:
O praise Him, O praise Him,
Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia!

Let all things their Creator bless
And worship Him in humbleness,
O praise Him, Alleluia!
Praise, praise the Father, praise the Son
And praise the Spirit, three in one,
O praise Him, O praise Him,
Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia!

A Harvest Blessing

May God the Father, 
who clothes the lilies of the field 
and feeds the birds of the air, 
provide us with all we need for life in its fullness. 
And the blessing of God Almighty,
the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit,
be upon us and remain with us always.

Organ Voluntary: A Harvest Voluntary from Neil Matthews, our Music Director and Organist. How many Harvest Hymns can you hear in this music?