Every heart its tribute pays, every tongue its song of praise; sin and sorrow, guilt and care, brought to Him who answers prayer; there by grace may humankind full and free forgiveness find; called and chosen, loved and blest, in His presence be at rest.
Ever while His deeds endure our salvation stands secure; He whose fingers spun the earth, gave the seas and mountains birth, tamed the ocean, formed the land, spread the skies with mighty hand: far-off shores revere His name, day and night His power proclaim.
Year by year the seasons ‘round sees the land with blessing crowned, where caressed by sun and rain barren earth gives life again; sunlit valleys burn with gold, nature smiles on field and fold, gifts of God in plenty poured: all things living, praise the Lord!
This Psalm is full of praise for God’s promises which are constant, as is God’s love for Creation, for ourselves and all within it. Set here to a well- known harvest hymn tune, I find myself reassured by this confident statement of faith. Even our shortcomings can be brought to God, for God’s grace is overflowing with love, just as God provides for the Earth to be fertile.
As I write this reflection, the news is full of wildfires as temperatures soar in some areas, whilst others are flooded with too much rain falling too quickly. The balance of nature which the psalmist praises is threatened and we are uneasily aware of how delicate this balance is and how easily it is upset.
Yet the Bible also has stories of flood and famine – times when many doubted that God either cared for God’s people or that God had power to bring rain to parched lands, or alternatively to cease the flood.
In times of uncertainty, singing God’s praises and reminding ourselves of the love God pours out on each one of us is a good thing to do. Even as we confess our failure to care for creation as God would have us do, yet with God’s help we can take action to address the challenges of climate change which benefits all creation, not just ourselves.
Yet the familiarity of a tune which we have heard at Harvest for many years should not lull us into a sense that we can carry on and things will get back to normal. We can indeed trust in God’s providence and God’s mercy – but we must trust whilst also working to heed the warning signs, for the good of the whole of creation and not just ourselves.
Generous God of Creation We praise you for scientists and innovators who have warned us of the danger of our greedy exploitation of your gift to us. We confess our failure to act has affected others much more than ourselves. We pray for your guidance as we find ways to alleviate the problems we have caused. We see your hand in the beauty of your creation and we praise you
The Reverend Helen Everard, Minister Wonersh URC & Chaplain to the Moderators of General Assembly