Worship in Carlops Sunday 3 October 2021


Harvest (Blended service in Church and on Zoom)


Welcome and lighting of candles     Adam Salter and Galina MacNeacail


Call to worship                                  Patsy Campbell

            In the fading of the summer sun,
            the shortening of days, cooling breeze,
            swallows’ flight and moonlight rays


            In the browning of leaves once green,
morning mists, autumn chill,
fruit that falls, frost’s first kiss


            In the greeting of friends and in the sadness of goodbyes

            In the welcoming of new life,

            and thanksgiving for all who have gone before



Hymn 238             Lord bring the day to pass

1.       Lord, bring the day to pass
          when forest, rock, and hill,
          the beasts, the birds, the grass,
          will know your finished will:
          when we attain our destiny
          and nature lives in harmony.

2.       Forgive our careless use
          of water, ore, and soil –
          the plenty we abuse
          supplied by others’ toil:
          save us from making self our creed,
          turn us towards each other’s need.

3.       Help us, when we release
          creation’s secret powers,
          to harness them for peace,
          our children’s peace, and ours:
          teach us the art of mastering
          in servant form, like Christ our King.

4.       Creation groans, travails,
          futile its present plight,
          bound – till the hour it hails
          God’s children born of light:
          that we may gain our true estate,
          come, Lord, new heavens and earth create.


Readings                    Rennie McElroy

Deuteronomy 24: 19-22

When you reap your harvest in your field and forget a sheaf in the field, you shall not go back to get it; it shall be left for the alien, the orphan, and the widow so that the Lord your God may bless you in all your undertakings.  When you beat your olive trees, do not strip what is left; it 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.


Luke 16: 19 – 31

There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day. At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores and longing to eat what fell from the rich man’s table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores.

The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried. In Hades, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. So he called to him, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.’

But Abraham replied, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony. And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been set in place, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.’

He answered, ‘Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my family, for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.’ Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them.’

‘No, Father Abraham,’ he said, ‘but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’ He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.’


Reflection                  Chris Levison           

What relevance is harvest thanksgiving today? We no longer live by the seasons, food is available all year round, we are not primarily an agricultural society, we are industrial or post-industrial. Food production or rather, agriculture, is the work of a small percentage of the population.

However, is it not true that we are becoming more aware of the fragile balances of nature than we ever have had to be in the past. Ecological responsibility is perhaps the greatest ethical challenge facing humanity. Climate change is indissolubly linked to food production, the husbandry of animals, our consumption of meat, and the way we fly fruit and vegetables round the world so that we are not denied, strawberries at Christmas and mangos, pineapples and bananas all year round.

I want to look briefly at the place of harvest thanksgiving in the seasonal worship and liturgy of the church. In agricultural communities, in Biblical times and up until the industrial revolution, harvest was a very special time of the year. The success or otherwise of the harvest, meant whether or not people, families and communities were going to survive the winter, when the crops didn’t grow. The very question of survival was in the air and it was with relief, if the harvest was good, and trepidation, if the harvest was poor.
Churches have celebrated harvest over many years, with floral decorations – and gifts brought together, then delivered to the community, to the poor, the elderly, the housebound.
I remember church buildings bursting with colourful displays, and laden with food, and after the service, it being sent out to the parish. At times it got rather comical. Generous elderly members, delivering their gifts, then hurrying to be home in time to receive gifts from the church. Sensibly we changed some of that – Christian Aid became a regular recipient, thinking more of the harvest for the whole world. Congregations have in recent times been imaginative. Day centres, foodbanks and community shops have been appropriate recipients of harvest gifts. Places of genuine need.

In Biblical terms, thanksgiving was always linked to justice. Farmers were told to leave the edges of their fields, the extra produce, for the poor, the widows, the aliens, the orphans. Part of the Levitical law. Early indications of an obligation on those who had wealth to share with those who had not. The prophets of the Old Testament raged against the injustice of those who thought they were alright with God but who didn’t care two hoots about the poor. Jesus’ teaching was very much of that same tradition showing righteous anger at such injustice. The story of the rich man, Dives and the poor man Lazarus needs little by way of unpacking. The message is clear; selfishness is short sighted and brings its own unpalatable deserts, and it underlines how difficult it is to get people to change their ways. Interestingly, for the United Nations and our Church of Scotland this coming week has been designated, Challenge Poverty Week.

So where are we today? Grateful I hope for the security of food and warmth and shelter which we have; yet do we possess any of that prophetic anger of Jesus and the prophets? The world is still ill divided, and it is not only internationally but here on our doorstep. Why, we may ask, are there foodbanks needed in the wealthy society in which we live? And why in this day and age are there still families fearful of whether they are going to manage through the winter to feed and stay warm. And why in the face of solid evidence from economic think tanks, are child poverty groups, charities, churches and other faith groups, warning of the inevitable hardships facing hundreds of thousands of families, children and the poorly off. How can we even contemplate taking back the £20 supplement each week which has gone to such families during the pandemic? Forgive me for entering the political arena, but the compassion and justice of God has no boundaries.

Climate change is also a challenge which addresses people with differing urgency, It will affect me a little bit, it will affect my, our grandchildren, greatly, but it is already affecting millions the world over, primarily the world’s poor living on flood plains, in coastal areas and places which do not have the infra structure to cope with sudden and dramatic changes in weather or sea level.

Harvest thanksgiving is still very relevant in the liturgical seasons and lectionary of the church. Thanksgiving linked to a plea and demand for a just sharing of what the earth affords. A harvest which can include, as well as the richness of agriculture, of flowers and fruit and vegetables, but also the produce of industry, of life saving medicines, means of travel and communication, the richness of the arts. And always linked to the need and demands of God’s compassion.

Locally we can still be very aware of the seasons of agriculture, and it is one of the many gifts of living where we do. Local produce is good in so many ways. And even though the industrial world seemed for a while to release us from the dominance of the agricultural seasons, we are increasingly recognising that the world is one. We all affect each other, and the needs of humanity are increasingly interlinked. We are our brother’s keeper, if we want a future. We should celebrate harvest as if our future depends on it, because it surely does.

The world has changed, but some things never change. We must learn to do what we have always done, as if we are doing it for the first time. Amen.


Prayer                        Murray Campbell

Loving God, when we join in prayer, we may feel and say that we are coming together into your presence. We know, however, that in reality we are always in your presence. You are the creator of all that we know and experience: you made us, and the beautiful but fragile world which is our home.

We are blessed to live in a place where it is often possible to look up into the night sky and marvel at the cosmic dance of planets, stars and galaxies, and also to experience the natural rhythms of our rural landscape as the seasons progress. We are in autumn now, and at the time of harvest we give you thanks for the bounty of the fields, the forests, and the seas.
Above all we praise and thank you for the gift of your Son Jesus Christ,
who lived among us, died and rose again,
and taught us to call you Father.

We thank you for the supreme example of love and care for others
shown to us in the life and teaching of Jesus,
and for the guidance of your Spirit as we try to follow his example.
We confess that all too often we wander from that path,
neglecting the needs of others,
and thoughtlessly endangering the life of our planet.

Forgive us, we pray,
and help us to remember that in every circumstance of life
you walk with us, and your Spirit sustains us.

God of grace and mercy,
we bring you now our prayers for others.
We pray for your church in our own community,
as we join with other congregations
to seek new opportunities for worship and service.
We pray for the worldwide church,
in its stand for justice and equality
and its commitment to the poor and underprivileged.
We pray for all those who have the responsibility for leadership
in national and international councils,
that they may find the capacity to transcend short-term pressures
and to build structures for co-operation and peaceful co-existence.
We pray especially for world leaders meeting shortly in Cop26,
that they will be inspired to respond wisely to the challenges of the climate change crisis.
We remember the many communities afflicted by the scourge of armed conflict,
or struggling to repair the damage caused by natural or man-made disasters.
As the Covid-19 pandemic continues to ravage communities across the world,
we remember with gratitude the tireless work of the doctors, nurses,
and other medical staff who battle to save lives and restore health.
We pray that the leaders of wealthy countries like ours will be driven by compassion, shame, or even self-interest to share precious vaccine resources with our suffering neighbours in the underdeveloped world.

Now in a few moments of silence,
we share our prayers for those known to us in special need today.

Finally, we join in the prayer taught to us by Jesus:
Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come.
Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.
For yours is the kingdom, and the power,
and the glory, for ever. Amen.


Hymn 231       For the fruits of all creation   (Tune 562)  

  1.             For the fruits of all creation, thanks be to God,
                for these gifts to every nation, thanks be to God;
                for the ploughing, sowing, reaping,
                silent growth while we are sleeping,
                future needs in earth’s safe-keeping,
                thanks be to God.


  1.             In the just reward of labour, God’s will is done;
                in the help we give our neighbour, God’s will is done;
                in our world-wide task of caring
                for the hungry and despairing,
                in the harvest we are sharing,
                God’s will is done.


  1.             For the harvests of the Spirit, thanks be to God;
                for the good we all inherit, thanks be to God;
                for the wonders that astound us,
                for the truths that still confound us,
                most of all, that love has found us,
                thanks be to God.


Benediction                Chris Levison

Now let us leave this time of worship with eyes open to see the Creator’s hand in all life, in all love.

And blessing of Almighty God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, be with us and all we are called to love, both now and evermore. Amen.


Sung Blessing:          

May the God of peace go with us,

as we travel from this place;

May the love of Jesus keep us,

firm in hope and full of grace.