The Harvest Offering from the Royal Norfolk Agricultural Association (Prayer)
THE HARVEST OFFERING
The Offering of Soil
We bring the top soil of our fields, symbol of that which you have created and sun and rain have nurtured.
You have laid the foundations of earth: and the heavens are the work of your fingers.
The earth is the Lord’s and all that is in it;
The compass of the world and those who dwell therein.
The Offering of Seed
We bring the harvest of seeds for next year’s crops;
For clover, for hay and corn.
You bring forth grass for the cattle, and all things green for use.
That they may sow their land to yield them fruits of increase
He blesses them so that they multiply greatly.
The Offering of Grain
We bring the harvest of our cornfields, oat and wheat, rye and barley.
You prepare their corn, for so you provide for the earth.
We cannot live by bread alone:
But by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.
The Offering of Animal Produce
We bring the produce of our dairies, together with wool and leather.
You cause grass to grow for the cattle.
You open wide your hand
And fill all things living with your bounteous gifts.
The Offering of Fruit
We bring the harvest of apples and pears and the fruits of bush and hedgerow;
The tree bears its fruit, the fig tree and vine yield their strength.
He gives food to all flesh:
For his mercy endures for ever.
The Offering of Vegetables and Root Crops
We bring the harvest of vegetables: peas, potatoes, mangolds, turnips and sugar beet;
O Lord, you preserve both man and beast; how excellent is your mercy O God.
When you open your hands:
They are filled with good.
The Offering of Flowers and Vineyards
We bring the harvest of flowers and of our vineyards.
The trees bear their fruit, the fig tree and vine yield their fruit.
You bring food out of the earth:
And wine that makes glad the human heart.
The Gift of Resourcefulness
We bring symbols of the machinery we use,
thanking you for your gifts of knowledge and invention, enabling us to use more adequately the resources of nature.
God gives food to those who fear him, he remembers his covenant for ever.
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom:
Those who keep his commandments are of good understanding.
The Offering of Bread
In this loaf of bread we bring the harvest of our lands.
For bread is the source of human strength and the fruit of human hands.
To God, Creator, Redeemer, Judge, we offer back with thanksgiving that which he has given.
Yours, Lord, is the greatness, the power, the glory, the splendour and the majesty: for everything in heaven and earth is yours. All things come from you, and of your own do we give you.
Brothers and sisters; do not forget that the judgement of God is upon us, for any misuse of our stewardship; for any neglect of our land, for all waste and adulteration of our food, and for all injustice in its distribution that we can prevent.
With our thanksgiving therefore let us ask pardon for all failures in our stewardship, and pray God to accept this loaf of daily bread, as a sign of our thankfulness, and of our desire to dedicate both our work and our lives to his obedience.
Praise God from whom all blessings flow,
Praise him all creatures here below,
Praise him above, angelic host,
Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost.
O God our Father, we thank you that once again you have fulfilled your gracious promise that, while earth remains, seedtime and harvest shall not fail. We bless you for the kindly fruits of the earth which you have given for our use. Teach us, when we pray, that it is not by bread alone that we live; and grant us evermore to feed on him who is the true bread from heaven, even Jesus Christ our Lord; to whom with you and the Holy Spirit, be all honour and glory, world without end. Amen.
As our Saviour has taught us, so we pray:
Our Father, who art in heaven…
May God who clothes the lilies of the field and feeds the birds of the sky, who leads the lambs to pasture and the deer to water, who multiplied the loaves and fishes and changes water into wine, lead us, feed us, multiply us, and change us to reflect the glory of our Creator through all eternity. Amen.
(From the Royal Norfolk Agricultural Association’s Harvest Thanksgiving, Norwich Cathedral, September 1995 c. All Year Round (1996), The Council of Churches for Britain and Ireland.)