Though the majority of our population in modern society dwell in an urban settings – cities and towns – it is the farmers who feed the nation. This week sees the annual celebration of all things rural at the Royal Highland Show at Ingliston, outside Edinburgh where competition is just as fierce as in the European Football championships. Farming and rural Scotland come together to celebrate their life and work, and as they do so we in the Sanctuary First community celebrate their achievements and take time out with God, to focus on some of the challenges and issues which beset not only Scottish farmers but agricultural workers across the world:
Our readings and prayers this week will reflect rural challenges and issues, helping us all to realize the true cost of food production in the 21st century.
There are days – thank you Lord - when I rise early, and go about my work with a spring in my step.
When I feel I have the strength and belief in what I’m doing, to accomplish all that must be done.
Like the shepherd on the hill or the folk in the dairy, I feel I have a part to play in the life of this country of ours.
Help me to live today with a care for others – human and animal.
Help me to live today with a belief in my task; a sense of my place in the scheme of things.
Give me a sense of your love around and within me, and remind me Lord, that with the Psalmist I can say, “You have done great things for me, in the life of Jesus Christ, your Son”.
However, there are days – help me Lord – when I meet challenges at every turn.
When I can’t get things done, and no-one seems to have a good word for me.
Like a barley field flattened by rain, all my effort seems a pointless waste of time.
Help me to bring you my failures as well as my successes
Help me to see a way through difficulties, to the possibilities beyond.
Give me a sense of your care and support around and within me, and remind me Lord, that you will continue to do great things for and with me, in the strength of your Holy Spirit.
A song of ascents.
1 When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion,
we were like those who dreamed.
2 Our mouths were filled with laughter,
our tongues with songs of joy.
Then it was said among the nations,
“The Lord has done great things for them.”
3 The Lord has done great things for us,
and we are filled with joy.
4 Restore our fortunes, Lord,
like streams in the Negev.
5 Those who sow with tears
will reap with songs of joy.
6 Those who go out weeping,
carrying seed to sow,
will return with songs of joy,
carrying sheaves with them.