11: November ~ Blessing of Food

 

Harvest festivals are an ancient practice. The great American feast of Thanksgiving follows that tradition. It reminds us that another year’s work of growing food is over. We are thankful for all we can store to get us through the winter and continue to enjoy our land’s abundance and variety. We also take time to remember God who has given us so much.

As all are seated at table for this meal of giving thanks, we begin with prayer.

Opening Prayer

Let us pray: Creator who sustains all your creatures with food, drink and friendship, we enjoy this moment of special pleasure. We acknowledge your gifts and your goodness. We thank you this day, for you have blessed us beyond measure. From us as people filled with praise, filled with faith in you, filled with the generosity you have shown to us. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

 

Song of Praise: Psalm 65:10-14

Response: To you we owe our hymn of praise, O God of Zion.

 

You visit the earth and water it,

make it abundantly fertile.

God’s stream is filled with water;

you supply their grain.

Response: To you we owe our hymn of praise, O God of Zion.

 

Thus do you prepare it:

you drench its plowed furrows,

and level its ridges.

With showers you keep it soft,

blessing its young sprouts.

Response: To you we owe our hymn of praise, O God of Zion.

 

You adorn the year with your bounty;

your paths drip with fruitful rain.

The meadows of the wilderness also drip;

the hills are robed with joy.

Response: To you we owe our hymn of praise, O God of Zion.

 

The pastures are clothed with flocks,

the valleys blanketed with grain;

they cheer and sing for joy.

Response: To you we owe our hymn of praise, O God of Zion.

 

Reading: Leviticus 26:2-6

The Reward of Obedience

Keep my sabbaths, and reverence my sanctuary. I am the Lord. If you live in accordance with my statutes and are careful to observe my commandments, I will give you your rains in due season, so that the land will yield its crops, and the trees their fruit; your threshing will last till vintage time, and your vintage till the time for sowing, and you will eat your fill of food, and live securely in your land.

I will establish peace in the land, and you will lie down to rest with no one to cause you anxiety. I will rid the country of ravenous beasts, and no sword shall sweep across your land.

 

Selective Readings from Scripture

Exodus 34:22

You shall observe the Feast of Weeks, the first fruits of wheat harvest, and the Feast of Ingathering at the year’s end.

 

Leviticus 19:9-10

When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap your field right up to its edge, neither shall you gather the gleanings after your harvest. And you shall not strip your vineyard bare, neither shall you gather the fallen grapes of your vineyard. You shall leave them for the poor and for the sojourner: I am the Lord your God.

 

Deuteronomy 16:14-15

You shall rejoice in your feast, you and your son and your daughter, your male servant and your female servant, the Levite, the sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow who are within your towns. For seven days you shall keep the feast to the Lord your God at the place that the Lord will choose, because the Lord your God will bless you in all your produce and in all the work of your hands, so that you will be altogether joyful.

 

Amos 9:13

“Behold, the days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when the plowman shall overtake the reaper and the treader of grapes him who sows the seed; the mountains shall drip sweet wine, and all the hills shall flow with it.”

 

John 4:36

Already the one who reaps is receiving wages and gathering fruit for eternal life, so that sower and reaper may rejoice together.

 

Revelation 14:15

And another angel came out of the temple, calling with a loud voice to him who sat on the cloud, “Put in your sickle, and reap, for the hour to reap has come, for the harvest of the earth is fully ripe.”

 

Silent Reflection, or invite sharing of thoughts.

 

Closing Blessing

(Each person lifts a dish of food or glass of drink.)

Blessed are you, Lord our God. You have lavishly provided for us the fruits of the earth. As you have always promised your faithful people, you fill us with good things. Bless us as we share this food, knowing that we will share with you in the eternal celebration one day. We prayer to you as one voice: “Bless us, O Lord, and these Thy gifts, which we are about to receive from Thy bounty, through Christ our Lord. Amen.”

Praise to our God who gives life and joy!