Give Thanks for the Farmers
by Rev Jacky Quarmby 2 October 2022
Reading: Mark 4: 26 – 29
Jesus said, “This is what the kingdom of God is like. A man scatters seed on the ground. Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how. All by itself the soil produces corn - first the stalk, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear. As soon as the grain is ripe, he puts the sickle to it, because the harvest has come.”
Jesus in his parable makes farming seem very simple, “Scatter the seed and then go to bed and sleep.” It reminds me of a story that I once heard:
Mr Jones had the loveliest garden in the village and every time the Vicar passed by he would call out to Mr Jones, “Your garden is a thing of beauty. You and the Lord make wonderful partners.”
This went on for days and weeks and months – until Mr Jones began to be annoyed with the Vicar. So the next time the Vicar turned up and said, “Good morning, Mr Jones, lovely garden. You and the Lord make wonderful partners,” Mr Jones replied, “That may well be true Vicar. But you should have seen the garden when the Lord had it all on his own!”
Farming is hard work – there is choosing the right crop for the soil type and position of the field, there is harrowing and preparing the soil, there is planting and fertilizing the crop – and then there is the long anxious wait, hoping and praying for the rain and the sunshine to make the crop grow.
Finally, if the weather has been kind, there is the harvesting. That can create more anxiety. Will the farmer find enough workers to harvest the crop and will the crop be the right shape or the right size to satisfy the supermarkets?
Even with God’s help, it’s a hard and unpredictable life being a farmer. So let’s take the opportunity this harvest time to give thanks for the work of the farmers, who provide us with our daily bread – and to pray for them as they grapple with the challenges of farming in today’s world.
Hymn: Praise God for the harvest of orchard and field
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we thank you for those who work hard in the countryside throughout the year,
for the strength and skill of farmers and workers on the land
and for all who work to provide our food day by day.
We pray for all in the farming community who face an uncertain future and for those who have been forced to leave their farms as they could not make a living.
We pray for those in farming who are suffering from anxiety and depression.
Loving God, give hope and courage to all who are fearful
and bless the work of Agricultural Chaplains as they seek to bring help and hope.
For we ask these prayers in the name of Jesus. Amen
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