2nd December 2022
Those who sow in tears shall reap with joyful shouting.
He who goes to and fro weeping, carrying his bag of seed,
Shall indeed come again with a shout of joy, bringing his sheaves with him. Psalm 126:5-6
In Scandinavia a sheaf of wheat or other grains is saved and put out at Christmas for the birds. If lots of birds come, it is said to presage a good harvest. Maybe it is a reminder that generosity is frequently reciprocal.
A reading from Deuteronomy 24:10-21
When you reap your harvest in your field and have forgotten a sheaf in the field, you shall not go back to get it; it shall be for the alien, for the orphan, and for the widow, in order that the Lord your God may bless you in all the work of your hands. When you beat your olive tree, you shall not go over the boughs again; it shall be for the alien, for the orphan, and for the widow. “When you gather the grapes of your vineyard, you shall not go over it again; it shall be for the alien, for the orphan, and for the widow.
As we prepare for Christmas amidst a rush to buy all that we want and more, let us pray for those from whose labour we gain:
We pray for shop staff and shelf stackers, warehouse workers and delivery drivers:
May their work be rewarding and well rewarded.
We pray for factory hands and machinists, for assemblers and packers:
May their labour be rewarded, their safety ensured.
We pray for farmers and growers, labourers and pickers:
May the fruits of their work be savoured and not be wasted.
We pray for the soil and the water table:
May what is extracted be replaced, may their good health be sustained.
We pray for agricultural live stock – birds, animals and fish:
May they be raised with love and respect, and at their life’s end with dignity and care.
May we as consumers, always show out thanks and respect for the work of others.
May we be measured in what we buy,
may we be conscientious in caring for what we have,
and may we be generous in passing forward all that we can share.
Go forth into the world in peace.
Be of good courage.
Hold fast that which is good.
Render to no one evil for evil.
Strengthen the fainthearted.
Support the weak.
Help the afflicted.
Show love to everyone.
Love and serve the Lord,
rejoicing in the power of the Holy Spirit;
and may the blessing of almighty God,
the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,
be with us all. Amen.
From the Book of Common Prayer