St Mary Magdalene Chancel

Weekly Online Service
11 October 2020 Harvest Festival

Please find below our service for this week. You can also click on the PDF button to open and download a copy of the printed generic Service booklet.

You will find an opening hymn - words are included. This is followed by the service. Finally there is a closing hymn. Please feel free to follow along in whichever way you feel most comfortable. Words in bold are for everyone to join in.

Hymn

Come, ye thankful people, come

Come, ye thankful people, come,
raise the song of harvest-home:
all be safely gathered in,
ere the winter storms begin;
God, our Maker, doth provide
for our wants to be supplied;
come to God’s own temple, come;
raise the song of harvest-home!

All the world is God’s own field,
fruit unto his praise to yield;
wheat and tares together sown,
unto joy or sorrow grown;
first the blade and then the car,
then the full corn shall appear:
grant, O harvest Lord, that we
wholesome grain and pure may be.

For the Lord our God shall come,
and shall take his harvest home;
from his field shall purge away
all that doth offend, that day;
give his angels charge at last
in the fire the tares to cast,
but the fruitful ears to store
in his garner evermore.

Then, thou Church Triumphant, come,
raise the song of harvest-home;
all be safely gathered in,
free from sorrow, free from sin,
there for ever purified
in God’s garner to abide:
come, ten thousand angels, come,
raise the glorious harvest-home!

Service Audio

In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit

All say Amen.

Grace, mercy and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ be with you

and also with you.

Almighty God,
to whom all hearts are open, all desires known,
and from whom no secrets are hidden:
cleanse the thoughts of our hearts
by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit,
that we may perfectly love you,
and worthily magnify your holy name;
through Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Prayers of Penitence

God so loved the world that he gave his only Son Jesus Christ to save us from our sins, to be our advocate in heaven, and to bring us to eternal life.

Let us confess our sins in penitence and faith, firmly resolved to keep God’s commandments and to live in love and peace with all.

Almighty God, our heavenly Father,
we have sinned against you
and against our neighbour
in thought and word and deed,
through negligence, through weakness,
through our own deliberate fault.
We are truly sorry and repent of all our sins.
For the sake of your Son Jesus Christ,
who died for us, forgive us all that is past
and grant that we may serve you in newness of life
to the glory of your name.  Amen.

Almighty God,
who forgives all who truly repent,
have mercy upon you,
pardon and deliver you from all your sins,
confirm and strengthen you in all goodness,
and keep you in life eternal;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Gloria in Excelcis

Glory to God
Glory to God
Glory to the Father

Glory to God
Glory to God
Glory to the Father

To him be Glory
For ever.

To him be Glory
For ever.

Alleluia, Amen.

Alleluia, Amen.
Alleluia, Amen.
Alleluia, Amen.

Glory to God
Glory to God
Son of the Father

Glory to God
Glory to God
Son of the Father

To him be glory
For ever.

To him be glory
For ever.

Alleluia, Amen.

Alleluia, Amen.
Alleluia, Amen.
Alleluia, Amen.

Glory to God
Glory to God
Glory to the Spirit

Glory to God
Glory to God
Glory to the Spirit

To him be glory
For ever.

To him be glory
For ever.

Alleluia, Amen.

Alleluia, Amen.
Alleluia, Amen.
Alleluia, Amen.

The Collect of the Day is said or sung.

Almighty and everlasting God, increase in us your gift of faith that, forsaking what lies behind and reaching out to that which is before, we may run the way of your commandments and win the crown of everlasting joy; 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.

Amen.

The Old and New Testament Readings

Deuteronomy 8: 7-18 - Read by Adeola Shyllon

For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land, a land with flowing streams, with springs and underground waters welling up in valleys and hills, 8 a land of wheat and barley, of vines and fig trees and pomegranates, a land of olive trees and honey, 9 a land where you may eat bread without scarcity, where you will lack nothing, a land whose stones are iron and from whose hills you may mine copper. 10 You shall eat your fill and bless the Lord your God for the good land that he has given you.

11 Take care that you do not forget the Lord your God, by failing to keep his commandments, his ordinances, and his statutes, which I am commanding you today. 12 When you have eaten your fill and have built fine houses and live in them, 13 and when your herds and flocks have multiplied, and your silver and gold is multiplied, and all that you have is multiplied, 14 then do not exalt yourself, forgetting the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery, 15 who led you through the great and terrible wilderness, an arid waste-land with poisonous snakes and scorpions. He made water flow for you from flint rock, 16 and fed you in the wilderness with manna that your ancestors did not know, to humble you and to test you, and in the end to do you good. 17 Do not say to yourself, ‘My power and the might of my own hand have gained me this wealth.’ 18 But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you power to get wealth, so that he may confirm his covenant that he swore to your ancestors, as he is doing today.

This is the word of the Lord.

Thanks be to God.

2 Corinthians 9: 6-15 - Read by Aniru Shyllon

The point is this: the one who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and the one who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. 7 Each of you must give as you have made up your mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 8 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. 9 As it is written,

‘He scatters abroad, he gives to the poor;
    his righteousness endures for ever.’

10 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. 11 You will be enriched in every way for your great generosity, which will produce thanksgiving to God through us; 12 for the rendering of this ministry not only supplies the needs of the saints but also overflows with many thanksgivings to God. 13 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, 14 while they long for you and pray for you because of the surpassing grace of God that he has given you. 15 Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!

This is the word of the Lord.

Thanks be to God.

The Gospel

Luke 12: 16-30 - Read by Elizabeth Ranson

All sing: Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia!

The Gospel reader says

Hear the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to Luke

All say: Glory to you, O Lord.

Then he told them a parable: ‘The land of a rich man produced abundantly. 17 And he thought to himself, “What should I do, for I have no place to store my crops?” 18 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. 19 And I will say to my soul, Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.” 20 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?” 21 So it is with those who store up treasures for themselves but are not rich towards God.’

22 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. 23 For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. 24 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! 25 And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life? 26 If then you are not able to do so small a thing as that, why do you worry about the rest? 27 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. 28 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! 29 And do not keep striving for what you are to eat and what you are to drink, and do not keep worrying. 30 For it is the nations of the world that strive after all these things, and your Father knows that you need them.

This is the gospel of the Lord.

All say: Praise to you, O Christ.

All sing: Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia!

Sermon

‘Thanks be to God for all his indescribable gifts!’

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Harvest vegetables and fruits

Not so many years ago, when we visited the greengrocers, we would find, a small assortment of locally grown produce, various root and leaf vegetables, a selection of apples, pears, and possibly some plums. The vegetables tended to be those which you could grow in the garden, greenhouse or on the allotment. They were usually in a few weeks earlier than you could expect from your own home-grown produce.

Everything had its season, and we could look forward with eager anticipation to the first strawberries of summer, or the arrival of the cauliflower, cucumber or tomatoes. These seasonal delights; meant that each season held its own favourites for the lover of fresh food.

But how things have changed?

Now I’m not necessarily saying that this is a bad thing, and that we should go back to the “good old days”. For one thing it’s opened up some new markets for smaller countries to export the crops that they can grow and we can’t; and let’s pray for a fair-trade price to be paid within the exchange; but all this does mean for children growing up today the whole concept of a Harvest Festival really doesn’t mean as much perhaps as it did to my Grandparents. Silage gathered into round bales wrapped with polythene doesn’t have the same mystique as the sight of a combine harvester and fields of gently waving golden corn. And by the time the churches get around to celebrating Harvest, most of the crops have already been safely gathered in for some time!

However, this is not the same for all countries. We’ve all seen those horrific pictures on our TV screens of the problems throughout the world; especially some African countries with a total lack of rain. In some cases, the seed hasn’t even managed to germinate, let alone get anywhere near ripening.

What celebrations there must be in such countries when the conditions are favourable and sufficient crop is harvested to ensure that families won’t go hungry throughout the winter months. In countries such as these, there is little chance of a shortfall being made up by importing produce; other than charitable aid which might come after the peoples’ plight has reached the ears and eyes of the world’s media.

So, if there is no really defined time in late September when we can breathe a long sigh and say that the harvest is safely gathered in, why do we still continue to have Harvest Festivals?

It seems a question worth asking - I mean, is it simply tradition - a throwback to the Victorian lifestyle with echoes of Constable’s Haywain? Under normal circumstances, is it a chance to fill a few pews at a point in time between Easter and Christmas? If we no longer rely on a satisfactory harvest in this country to supply our needs in the way that our forefathers did in the past, then why all the fuss?

I’m afraid it doesn’t even help, if we look back at the history of the Festival itself, after all, throughout the ages people have given thanks for the maturing of crops that would sustain them through the following months. And of course, like many other ancient customs, harvest rituals - such as the offering of the first fruits to the gods - were taken over by the early church in an attempt to water down the influence of the traditional pagan beliefs.

By the Middle Ages the first corn from the harvest was made into the Eucharist bread on August 1st, Lammas Day. (Lammas means loaf/bread mass) When the harvest had been gathered in, “Harvest Home” would be celebrated in a farmer’s house. It was customary to use the last sheaf of grain to make a corn dolly, based on the belief that the corn spirit was contained within the dolly. When the feasting was over it was taken back to the farmhouse and kept there until the next Harvest Supper.

The corn dolly is still in evidence in the decorations of some churches today; and in my opinion, a rather unwelcome remembrance of harvest’s pagan past! This may all sound a bit depressing, but the closer we look at the harvest that has been handed down by the established church from its pagan past, the less it seems to have relevance to our modern world.

The modern British tradition of celebrating Harvest Festival in late September or early October, began in 1843, when the Reverend Robert Hawker invited parishioners to a special thanksgiving service at his church at Morwenstow in Cornwall.

But to understand the real significance of the Harvest Festival, it seems to me that we have to go back much much further, back to the real biological roots of our Christian Faith within the Old Testament and among the Jewish people and their relationship with their one true God.

From very early times the Jewish year was punctuated by Festivals. The “Feasts of the Lord”. Some were timed to coincide with the changing seasons, reminding the people of God, of his constant provision for them and also allowing them to return by way of an offering, a token of all that he’d given them. Others celebrated some of the great events of Israel’s history, and the ways that God had intervened to help his people when they were in need.

All were occasions of joy and celebration reflecting on all the good things that God had given to and done for his people, as well as times where the people could come close to God and ask for his forgiveness and cleansing.

We know that the Festivals were never intended to be observed out of mere formality and empty ritual. The prophets warned the people against reducing these Festivals to that level. The real purpose was spiritual; a great and glorious meeting together of God and his people. Among the various Festivals that the Jews celebrated are two which seem relevant to our Harvest Festival.

The first was the Feast of Weeks, which we can read about in Leviticus Chapter 23. Celebrated fifty days after the beginning of Passover, it was essentially an agricultural celebration at which the first fruits of the harvest were offered to God. The priest offered two loaves of bread made from the new flour, along with animal sacrifices. The Festival later became known as Pentecost - from the Greek word meaning “fiftieth”.

Doesn’t life get confusing? Now it seems as though we ought to be having our Harvest Festival on Whit Sunday!

The second Festival which I want us to think about is that of the Feast of Ingathering (or Tabernacles), which is an Autumn Festival held at the end of the fruit harvest. This was the most popular and joyful of all the Festivals lasting a full seven days. Celebrations included camping out in gardens and on roof-tops, in tents or huts made from the branches of trees. These tents (or booths or tabernacles) were and still are a reminder of the time that the people lived in tents after the Lord brought them out of Egypt and led them towards the Promised Land. We can just imagine what fun it must have been (and still is) for the children, and such a great opportunity for parents to teach their children the history of their great Faith in the one true God.

The Festival included a ceremony in which water was poured out and prayers offered for good rains for the coming season. It’s also suggested that it was during such a ceremony that Jesus stood up and declared ‘Let anyone who is thirsty come to me, and let the one who believes in me drink. As the scripture has said, “Out of the believers heart shall flow rivers of living water” ’ (John 7:37-38)

May I suggest that it’s somewhere between these two Jewish Festivals, The Feast of Weeks and the Feast of Tabernacles that we can look for the real significance of our Harvest Festival today.

In a time when it’s difficult to relate to the Victorian print depicting harvests of old, and Constable’s ‘Haywain’ is only a fading copy on the wall these days. Many inner-city children wouldn’t recognise peas or broad beans if they saw them growing in a field, so maybe we should be looking for a deeper Spiritual meaning.

In this way the offerings we bring, the fruit and vegetables, the beautiful flowers and foliage (with which we would under normal circumstances be decorating our churches with today); can still remind us of all the good things that the Lord has given to us, and for which we can too easily become complacent. And while we’re saying thanks for the food we eat, what about the gas and electricity that is used to cook the food, the petrol that gets us to the supermarket, the homes within which we eat; the water that runs so freely when we turn on our taps; there are so many things in our lives that we should be grateful for.

Jesus’ words remind us that our needs are not just met by a constant supply of broccoli and sweetcorn. Jesus had a way of taking the ordinary things of life and bringing out of them a tremendous truth. Jesus seizes the opportunity in the way that only he could; any thirsty soul was invited to find deep and lasting refreshment through Faith in him. The blessing which Jesus offered was to be made available through the Holy Spirit; which had not yet been given in a new way yet to believers.

The Spirit had been active in the world from the beginning of time, but was not given to the believers in the full Christian sense until Pentecost, after Jesus had died, risen and ascended to His Father in heaven. (Jesus of course was the first fruits of the resurrection to eternal life, opening the gateway for us all). And there of course is another link to the first of our Festivals; which was the celebration of the first fruits but held when we now celebrate Pentecost.

I’m drawn to the conclusion that the overriding need of Christians in today’s world is to be constantly reminded of all the good things, both spiritually and materially, that our one true God offers to his people, in the same way that the people of Israel used those two Festivals to thank God not only for the provision of a sufficient harvest, but also for the fact that their God was constantly acting in their best interests. God’s love for his people could look beyond all the bad things they had done, all the times that they strayed from following him, and yet he still provided for their needs.

For that reason, I believe we should include a jug of fresh water alongside all the gifts we usually have on display, a jug of water reminds us of the Spiritual food without which we couldn’t function as effective Christians. For it was the gift of the living water, the Holy Spirit, to the believers in the book of Acts that was the starting point, the birth of the church, and without which we wouldn’t be worshipping today, giving thanks to God for all his love for us.

So, it is then two of our festivals, Pentecost and Harvest are seemingly linked by purpose and aim, and enable us now to thank God for all his good gifts. For the food we eat, for our material needs, for the meeting of our Spiritual needs. And with so much to give thanks for, our Harvest Thanksgiving should never be a mere formality or ritual. It will be as the prophets intended, a great and glorious meeting between the one true God and His people!

Even though we may not be able to all meet in Church today to celebrate the Harvest Festival, because of the Coronavirus epidemic, we can all still link up Spiritually by praying at home with our thanks-giving for all God’s gifts to us; including the gift of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

Or as St Paul says to the Corinthians:

Thanks be to God for all his indescribable gifts!

Amen.

The Rev’d Jackie Fish, St Mary Magdalene, Enfield, 11/10/2020

Service Audio

The Nicene Creed

We believe in one God,
the Father, the Almighty,
maker of heaven and earth,
of all that is, seen and unseen.

We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,
the only Son of God,
eternally begotten of the Father,
God from God, Light from Light,
true God from true God,
begotten, not made, of one Being with the Father;
through him all things were made.
For us and for our salvation
he came down from heaven,
was incarnate from the Holy Spirit
and the Virgin Mary, and was made man.
For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate;
he suffered death and was buried.
On the third day he rose again
in accordance with the Scriptures;
he ascended into heaven
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again in glory
to judge the living and the dead,
and his kingdom will have no end.

We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life,
who proceeds from the Father and the Son,
who with the Father and the Son
is worshipped and glorified,
who has spoken through the prophets.

We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.
We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.
We look for the resurrection of the dead,
and the life of the world to come. Amen.

The Intercessions 

The Intercessions list has been circulated with petitions for the Church, The World, The Community, Our Keyworkers, The Sick and the Deceased. The Diocesan Cycle of Prayer is found at:

London Anglican Cycle of Prayer

This or another response may be used:

Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

In the power of the Spirit and in union with Christ, let us pray to the Father.

Almighty God, our heavenly Father, you promised through your Son Jesus Christ to hear us when we pray in faith.

Strengthen N our bishop(s) and all your Church in the service of Christ, that those who confess your name may be united in your truth,
live together in your love, and reveal your glory in the world.

Bless and guide Elizabeth our Queen; give wisdom to all in authority;
and direct this and every nation in the ways of justice and of peace;
that we may honour one another, and seek the common good.

Give grace to us, our families and friends, and to all our neighbours,
that we may serve Christ in one another, and love as he loves us.

Comfort and heal all those who suffer in body, mind, or spirit …;
give them courage and hope in their troubles; and bring them the joy of your salvation.

Hear us as we remember those who have died in the faith of Christ …; according to your promises, grant us with them a share in your eternal kingdom.

Rejoicing in the fellowship of all your saints, we commend ourselves and the whole creation to your unfailing love.

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

The Peace

We are the body of Christ.
In the one Spirit we were all baptized into one body.
Let us then pursue all that makes for peace and builds up our common life.

The peace of the Lord be always with you.

and also with you.

A sign of peace may be exchanged.

As our Saviour taught us, so we pray.

Service Audio

Collect

We praise and thank you, O Christ, for this sacred feast: for here we receive you, here the memory of your passion is renewed, here our minds are filled with grace, and here a pledge of future glory is given, when we shall feast at that table where you reign with all your saints for ever. Amen.

The Blessing

The peace of God,
which passes all understanding,
keep your hearts and minds
in the knowledge and love of God,
and of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord;
and the blessing of God almighty,
the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,
be among you and remain with you always. Amen.

The Dismissal

Go in peace to love and serve the Lord.

In the name of Christ.  Amen.

Recessional Hymn

Great is thy faithfulness

Great is thy faithfulness, O God my Father,
there is no shadow of turning with thee;
thou changest not, thy compassions they fail not;
as thou hast been thou for ever wilt be:

Great is thy faithfulness! Great is thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see;
all I have needed thy hand has provided)
great is thy faithfulness) Lord) unto me.

Summer and winter, and springtime and harvest,
sun, moon and stars in their courses above,
join with all nature in manifold witness
to thy great faithfulness, mercy and love:

Great is thy faithfulness! Great is thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see;
all I have needed thy hand has provided)
great is thy faithfulness) Lord) unto me.

Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth,
thy own dear presence to cheer and to guide;
strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow,
blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside!

Great is thy faithfulness! Great is thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see;
all I have needed thy hand has provided)
great is thy faithfulness) Lord) unto me.

Material from Common Worship 2000 is included in this service and is copyright © The Central Board of Finance of the Church of England.