Weekend 3rd/4th October
Slide Rev Eryl Parry
Bore da, good morning! A very warm welcome to the harvest service, here on line, from the Bro Celynnin Ministry Area. We’re so pleased that you have joined us. Of course, this year is like no other, and I’ve brought you up to a place that I’ve loved to come and pray.
It’s right on the edge of Conwy town, where I can see the estuary and the beauty of God’s world, as well as pray for the people there.
But also, you can see up the valley, and I’m standing in the middle of farmland – so no doubt you can hear the farmer working and his cows mooing here too. How appropriate for harvest weekend!
Back to video
In a year that’s needed our prayers so very much, we can also thank God for his goodness in a place like this. So let’s join together now, and sing a great hymn of praise.
Music video with subtitles
Slide Colossians 1:3-6, 9-14; 2:6-7
A reading from St Paul’s letter to the Colossians
In our prayers for you we always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, for we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love that you have for all the saints, because of the hope laid up for you in heaven.
You have heard of this hope before in the word of the truth, the Gospel that has come to you. Just as it is bearing fruit and growing in the whole world, so it has been bearing fruit among yourselves from the day you heard it and truly comprehended the grace of God.
For this reason, since the day we heard it, we have not ceased praying for you and asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of God’s will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so that you may lead lives worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, as you bear fruit in every good work and as you grow in the knowledge of God.
May you be made strong with all the strength that comes from his glorious power, and may you be prepared to endure everything with patience, while joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has enabled you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the light.
He has rescued us from the power of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.
This is the word of the Lord. Thanks be to God
Slide Rev David Parry
Talk on this link
It’s definitely Autumn here in the Conwy Valley but is it really our Harvest Festival? This is such a strange year and one of the minor strangenesses is that we can’t sing as we always have in my memory, ‘We plough the fields and scatter’ (or any other Harvest hymn). Though we will gather, some of us, we can’t do most of the things we would normally do and that our ancestors have done for many centuries.
Of course, that’s a trivial, superficial thing really. Farming has continued. There has still been a Harvest. And thank goodness, otherwise we would all be starving. Yet nevertheless trying to find a way to give thanks, for Diolchgarwch, for a festival of thanksgiving, doesn’t come easily when we’re beset with so many troubles and when the future seems so uncertain.
Which is why I find St Paul’s words to the church in Colossae (the words in our text today) so helpful. He doesn’t really know this church – it’s not one of the ones that he planted – but as he’s heard about them so he gives thanks to God with his colleagues constantly in prayer for the good things that he knows they’re sharing together.
And he writes to remind them that there are things to be thankful for: their mutual love, their compassion for each other, the faith that has changed their lives and helped them to follow Jesus Christ and, supremely, that they do have a future. A hope in this world and in the world to come secured by the gift of Jesus Christ.
So go on then. You need to write your ‘thankyou letters’. I know you don’t want to. I know it’s hard but take up the pen and paper and think about what there is to be grateful for.
Over the past six months, how have you survived? Whose friendship, kindness, whose thoughtfulness has helped you? Who’s served you, delivered things to you, grown food, made things possible for you? Who’s made sure that when you flicked a switch the light came on? And more than all of this, who’s working to keep people well and to heal them when they’re sick?
As we stir up in ourselves that thankfulness we look beyond the people and the situations to the God who is the source of all good things: of neighbourliness, of altruism, of wisdom, of hope.
I believe that as we come closer to God in this Harvest season, as we give thanks to him, soon it stops being grudging and becomes natural. And the more that we walk with the God without whom we cannot live, the more we will find that thankfulness bubbles up in us – that we are “abounding in thanksgiving.”
I thank God for you and I thank God for his Son Jesus Christ. Amen.
So let us pray.
Lord of the years, we thank you for our memories of harvest services of the past. The singing of familiar hymns, the gathering and displaying of produce, the convivial fun of harvest suppers and so many gifts shared. We thank you for the way you have always provided for us. We rejoice in the greatness of your love and the assurance of your faithfulness. So, we come now in prayer, for you are God of the past and present, and the God who takes care of our future.
God of abundant life, hear our prayer.
We thank you for all those who work to safely supply the food on our tables, even through a pandemic. Protect those working in all weathers in our fields and on the seas, those driving on our motorways, working in factories and serving us in shops. Save us from selfish actions when we buy more than we need. Forgive us that some in our society still go hungry, and stir us all to live more responsibly so that nothing goes to waste.
God of abundant life, hear our prayer
Father of all compassion, we remember those now who are feeling anxious and lonely, especially with the turning of the seasons combined with the return to rising levels of coronavirus. Help us to live as a caring community, seeking to listen to one another and to reach out in your ways of love. We hold a moment of silence now as we lift the names of those on our hearts to you, the very source of life and love. (silence)
Offrymwm ein gweddïau
(We offer our prayers)
gan ofyn am gael bod yn weithwyr ffyddlon
(in the desire to be faithful labourers)
yng nghynhaeaf Teyrnas Crist. Amen.
(for the harvest of Christ’s Kingdom. Amen)
Audio track (BBC Recording)
Slide: ‘Great is thy faithfulness’
composed by William M. Runyan (1870–1957)
words by Thomas Chisholm (1866–1960)
played by Chris Roberts
recorded at St Mary’s Conwy
Final slide: Church in Wales, caruconwy.com website and logo