The Craft Group will meet at 2pm on Monday. Yetholm Kirk.
The weekly coffee morning at Yetholm is from 10.30-12noon on Tuesday mornings.
The Prayer Group meet at Linton on Tuesdays at 6.30pm. All welcome.
The Worship committee meets at Yetholm on Wednesday 19th October at 1.30pm.
Our Cheviot Churches’ retreat will be on Holy Island on Saturday 22nd October. Please confirm with Trish Gentry whether you are going and if you need transport/ can you offer a seat in your car.
Yetholm Guild meet on Tuesday 25th at 2pm. Speaker – Rev Colin.
The Berwick Male Voice Choir will be singing on Saturday 29th October at 7.30pm in Yetholm Kirk for church funds. Entry by donation.
There will be a retiring collection for the Pakistan Flood appeal after the service.
Call to Worship You care for the land and water it The streams are filled with water to provide the people with corn You drench its furrows and level its ridges you soften it with showers and bless its crops You crown the year with your bounty The whole earth is filled with awe at your wonders
Hymn 154 – O Lord my God
Prayers of adoration and confession Generous God. We come this day with thanksgiving, wonder and joy, reminding ourselves of the richness of your creation and acknowledging your faithfulness in providing for all our needs and far beyond. You have blessed us beyond our deserving.
For the beauty of the seasons, the constant cycle of day and night; for the coming of autumn with the trees changing colour to yellows and orange and bronze, we praise you. You have blessed us beyond our imagining.
For the miracle of growth, the wonder of life and the variety of harvest, we praise you, generous God.
Forgive us when we have sullied the beauty you have made, when we have disrupted the cycles of earth and climate, when we have broken our connection with your world. In your generous love, help us to work for the renewal of the earth.
Lord of the Harvest, Bless the labours of our hearts and hands; Bless the fruits of our cooperation and community. Awaken us to your longing for a different world, Where all are welcomed, valued and appreciated. Give us grace to discern your presence in one another, that together we may come to the eternal harvest of your grace, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen
Readings – Jeremiah 31:27-34 Luke 18: 1-8
Hymn 103 – Fill your hearts with joy and gladness
Prayer of Illumination Generous God, As you scatter the seed of love and kindness and truth to bring about your harvest, so may that seed germinate and take root in us. May it grow into a rich harvest of lives that delight in your truth, that show love in action and that care for all with whom we share this earth. Amen.
Reflection Farmers are busy people. I see them out in their tractors, early in the morning, late at night, but they know what they are doing to bring forth the harvest of oats and barley and broccoli, of cattle and sheep and hens. They are professionals and have embraced new technology ever to improve the yield – though a lot still depends on the weather.
But there are other harvests as well. The harvest of the sea; the harvest of the ground. I was speaking at the Morebattle & Hownam Guild last week and showing them a gemstone, a pink tourmaline. One of my church members in Zambia was a young guy called Amon, and he was a jeweller. I sat with him once as he took what looked to me like a small rock and started to polish it, and it transformed into a beautiful gem. He then shaped it, creating the facets on the gem. It was wonderful to watch – but he was a professional. He knew his job and did it well and brought forth a beautiful harvest.
As a child, I remember watching the blacksmith at his forge – I think he was shoeing a horse. He used his skills to do a good job. I number of people here have a teaching background, imparting knowledge and life-skills to youngsters and watching the harvest, as they made something of their lives. But then we are all good at something, whether it is writing reports or baking scones or preparing the bread and wine for communion. We have tasks and we strive to do them to the best of our abilities. What is the harvest of our hands and minds?
The book of Ecclesiasticus is in the Apocrypha, which we sometimes find in the middle of our bibles. The writer talks about a craftsman at work, ‘setting his heart on finishing his handiwork’, for these occupations ‘maintain the fabric of the world’. The craftsman is passionate about what he does. Yet so often we overlook or undervalue what people do. That is why it was so good during the first Lockdown to clap for the NHS and other keyworkers.
We all have our part to play and all of us are involved in maintaining the fabric of the world. But sometimes it goes wrong. The writer of Ecclesiasticus delighted in human beings maintaining the fabric of the world through our skills, but we have damaged the fabric through our faults, through our wars, through our lack of action over climate change, so we still need to persist in crying out and doing something about Ukraine, about the forgotten war in Yemen, about the floods in Pakistan and other instances of extreme weather, about those in our country who struggle to get by. That is when we need people like the widow in our parable today, crying out for justice. Not just moaning about her problems but seeking redress and not giving up. In the Bible widows were often depicted as helpless, but this widow lived her life in technicolour, as one commentator described her. It can be an awkward parable to interpret because it is as if we need to keep praying for any hope of God turning an ear. This isn’t the picture of God I have. Rather I imagine God as the widow, ever reminding us of what we need to do and to be as God’s people of justice and compassion.
That’s why Jeremiah talks about the new covenant. The old covenant given to Moses had been broken again and again; this time the covenant would be written on our hearts, so we would instinctively know what to do and how best to serve.
It is why Jesus was born as a human being, to know what we go through and redeem us, even to the point of dying for us on the cross of Calvary. A God who loves us so much, who persists to the point of sending his own Son to redeem our world. At communion this morning we ponder that sacrifice and all that it means, that God loves us and promises to be our God, and that we be God’s people.
Hymn 623 – Here in this place
Prayers of Dedication & Intercession To the table of Christ we bring this offering, gained by using God’s gifts, and we give ourselves to be Christ’s body in the world. To this table we bring bread and wine, made by people’s work in an unjust world, where some have plenty and many go hungry, some are applauded and many despised.
Peace-making God, we bring before you our troubled world, where too often there is conflict rather than reconciliation, war rather than peace, oppression rather than justice. We pray for countries and governments across the world in need of new beginnings and new ways forward. In the silence we remember those countries and peoples particularly on our hearts and minds today.
Loving and merciful God, we give you thanks that you hear our prayers, both spoken and unspoken. Receive now all that we have offered in words and silence, that it may be your will that is done, and your kingdom that comes. In Jesus name we pray. Amen
Invitation to Communion
Hymn 659 – Put peace into each other’s hands
Hymn 229 – We plough the fields and scatter
Benediction God the Father, who created the world, give you grace to be wise stewards of his creation. God the Son, who redeemed the world, inspire you to go out as labourers into his harvest. God the Holy Spirit, whose breath fills the whole of creation, help you bear his fruits of love, joy and peace. And the blessing of God Almighty, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit be with you all, now and forevermore. Amen