A worship service based on Psalm 65

Praising

Praise is due to you,
O God, in Zion;
and to you shall vows be performed,
O you who answer prayer!
To you all flesh shall come.

Praise to God, immortal praise (HWB 91)

For the fruit of all creation (HWB 90)

You are holy (STS 34)

As rain from the clouds (STJ 40)

Proclaiming: Opening the Word

Sermon Options:

  • an appreciation of the divine gift of the cycles of nature,
  •  stories from the congregation or outside of experiences of harvest, plenty, drought, natural disasters and healing of the earth,
  • stories of development workers who have helped others to grow their own food, or (4) stories of hunger and food needs.

You visit the earth and water it,
you greatly enrich it;
the river of God is full of water;
you provide the people with grain,
for so you have prepared it.
You water its furrows abundantly,
settling its ridges,
softening it with showers,
and blessing its growth.

(An ending challenge for this part of the service:)

from Deuteronomy 24:

When you reap your harvest in your field and forget a sheaf in the field,

you shall not go back to get it…

When you beat your olive trees,

do not strip what is left…

When you gather the grapes of your vineyard,

do not glean what is left…

all this shall be for the alien, the orphan, and the widow.

Remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt;

therefore I am commanding you to do this.

Praying

… thanksgiving:

Begin by reading STJ 148, then give space for a period of free prayers of thanksgiving, for God’s providence, for the earth and its seasons and rhythms, for gifts received from God’s hands.

… confessing:

Sing Beauty for brokenness (STJ 115)

… intercession:

Begin by reading STJ 150, then give space for a period of free prayers of intercession, for individuals, places, situations where hunger is present and/or justice is lacking.

Offering

STJ 147

God, whose giving knows no ending (HWB 383)

Sending

You crown the year with your bounty;
your wagon tracks overflow with richness.
The pastures of the wilderness overflow,
the hills gird themselves with joy,
the meadows clothe themselves with flocks,
the valleys deck themselves with grain,
they shout and sing together for joy.

God, whose farm is all creation (HWB 391)

God of the fertile fields (HWB 390; can be sung to tune, Come, thou Almighty King)

Let all creation dance (STS 122)

adapted from Psalm 104 (congregation’s response in italics):

You, our God, are clothed with honor and majesty,

wrapped in light as with a garment.

May your glory endure forever!

   We will bless you, Lord!

At your word, the earth brings forth food,

wine to gladden the human heart,

oil to make the face shine,

and bread to strengthen the human heart.

   We will bless you, Lord!

We look to you

to give our food in due season;

when you open your hand, we are filled with good things.

   We will bless you, Lord!

We will sing praise as long as we have being.

   We will bless you, Lord! AMEN!

 

HWB: Hymnal: A Worship Book

STJ: Sing the Journey

STS: Sing the Story

Ken Nafziger is professor of music at Eastern Mennonite University.

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