Sunday Worship Guide
September 2021 Kinlochleven and Nether Lochaber Parish Churches
Opening Words The earth has yielded its increase; God, our God has blessed us.
Hymn We plough
the fields and scatter
gifts around us
He only is the
We thank Thee
then, O Father,
Prayer Almighty and most gracious God we praise you the Lord of all life, the Creator of all that is. You are the Lord of the harvest. We give thanks for the ingathering of the crops and produce. You crowned the year with gladness. We gladly offer prayer in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ and to his glory, Amen.
Scripture Psalm 104: 1, 10-18, 31-34 Bless the Lord, O my soul. O Lord my God, you
are very great. You make springs gush forth in the valleys; they
flow between the hills, 11 giving drink to every wild
animal; the wild asses quench their thirst. 12 By the
streams the birds of the air have their habitation they sing among the branches.13 From
your lofty abode you water the mountains; the earth is satisfied with the
fruit of your work. 14 You cause the grass to grow for
the cattle, and plants for people to use, to bring forth food from the
earth, 15and wine to gladden the human heart, oil to make the face
shine, and bread to strengthen the human heart. 16The trees of
the Lord are watered abundantly, the cedars of Lebanon that he
planted. 17 In them the birds build their
nests; the stork has its home in the fir trees. The high hills area refuge
for the wild goats and the rocks and for the coneys. 31May the glory
of the Lord endure for ever; may the Lord rejoice in his
works. 32who looks on the earth and it trembles, who touches
the mountains and they smoke. 33I will sing to the Lord as
long as I live; I will sing praise to my God while I have my being.
34 May my meditation be pleasing to him, for I rejoice in the Lord.
Message This psalm is appropriate for Harvest Thanksgiving. It speaks of God’s pleasure in the works of his hands, and gives a rich tapestry of the wonders of creation. The reformer Calvin described creation as ‘the theatre of God’s glory’.
At harvest thanksgiving we give thanks to God for the gifts of the harvest, for food that sustains us and fills our shelves. Good food is necessary for good health. It also makes us glad. It strengthens the heart. Perhaps we are aware that some foods can lift the spirits, oatmeal being a case in point.
This psalm could be a commentary on the creation narrative of Genesis 1. God blesses that which he has made, and causes it to be fruitful, and ‘he saw that it was good’. The psalmist tells us that God rejoices in all his works.
Living where we are we have daily reminders of the glories of God’s handiwork. We have splendid examples in the mountains and sea lochs. We rejoice in God’s handiwork, and God rejoices in it. Isn’t it quite a thought, that we can look across or up Loch Leven and say, ‘O Lord isn’t this marvellous!’ And we can know that he, the Lord, sees it and enjoys it too.
It is a few years since wild goats inhabited the local mountains. The ‘conies’ on the rocks were a bit like rabbits. At Onich there are rabbits. We may not see storks in our fir trees, but the ornithologist sees much to delight in.
The eye of faith looks at creation and sees evidence of a Creator. Faith sees and rejoices. However creation itself does not teach us of Christ and the gospel.
Our response is not to be worship of the creation, but worship of the Creator. Our grateful hearts are a meditation that is pleasing unto Him.
We should be mindful of the special place that we have in God’s plans. In some sense we are the crown of His creation. We have a particular calling to voice creation’s praise, to serve God, enjoy him and glorify him, and forever.
We do good to remember that the God who brings order into his creation can also bring order into our lives, lives that can become disordered.
Harvest festivals were originally a dedicating to God of the first fruits. We have a harvest of crops, fruits, forest, livestock and marine life. There is also a harvest of righteous deeds, of loving actions, and of lives given over to the Lord’s service. We can be part of this. And God takes pleasure in this too.
Prayer We thank you Lord that you are indeed the Lord of sea and sky, of land and all that is in it. The earth is yours. Thank you for making us and for all you want us to be and to do. Help us to spread beauty and loveliness all around us. We sum up our prayer in the words you taught us, saying Our Father…. Closing Words May God’s blessing be upon us, the blessing of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, Amen.