"A Village Church With A Heart For The World"

Christ United Church

12 Perth St., PO Box 113, Lyn, ON, K0E 1M0
(613)498-0281 (Phone)   (613)498-2589 (Fax)


 lynunitedchurch@cogeco.net                   www.lynunitedchurch.com                  Follow on Twitter:  @Ch1United
 

If you wish to watch todays service on YouTube the link is:  https://youtu.be/X-f1yTb3uFE


Worship Leader:  Fred Vickery                                                                          Music Director:  Tim Hallman

RURAL LIFE SUNDAY, MAY 22, 2022

Music Used in this Service:
VU 520 We Plough the Fields (Public Domain)
VU 291 All Things Bright and Beautiful (Public Domain)
The Farmer’s Song
VU 227 For the Fruit of all Creation (OneLicense 30684)
Blessings (OneLicense 1172)
Welcome/Announcements/Birthdays

Call to Worship:  (read together)
Taken from the earth...
Like lumps of clay.
Made from the soil…
Like lumps of clay.
Molded and fashioned..
Like lumps of clay.
Worked and re-worked...
Like lumps of clay.
People of God, look around you!
Look and see what God has made…
creations of beauty! The birds of the air, the fish of the sea... creations of joy!

Every star, every planet, every atom,...creations of love!

As part of this love-given, joy-filled, beautiful creation, let us give thanks to the Potter who gave us life and form— Alleluia

Lighting of the Christ Candle
O God, as light comes from this candle,
May the blessing of Jesus Christ come to us,
Warming our hearts and brightening our way.
May Christ our Saviour
Bring life into the darkness of this world,
And to us, as we wait for his coming.   Amen

Hymn:  VU 520 “We Plough the Fields”

Opening Prayer:
Creating God, provide us with all that we need to grow into who you have created us to be: As the womb of the earth nourishes seeds, may we be nourished by this gathered community and the assurance of your holy presence. As the sun provides energy, leading seeds to transformation,  may we find the courage to embrace new life through the example of Jesus. As water refreshes and replenishes growing seedlings, may we be restored by the movement of the spirit.  In times of drought, protect us from harmful attitudes and actions and lead us again to abundant life.  Amen

Scripture from the New International Version of the Bible:
Genesis 2:4-24
The Creation
4 In the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens, 5 when no plant of the field was yet in the earth and no vegetation of the field had yet sprung up—for the Lord God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and there was no one to till the ground, 6 but a stream would rise from the earth and water the whole face of the ground— 7 then the Lord God formed man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being. 8 And the Lord God planted a garden in Eden, in the east, and there he put the man whom he had formed. 9 Out of the ground the Lord God made to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food, the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

10 A river flows out of Eden to water the garden,

15 The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to till it and keep it. 16 And the Lord God commanded the man, “You may freely eat of every tree of the garden, 17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall die.”

18 Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper as his partner.” 19 So out of the ground the Lord God formed every animal of the field and every bird of the air and brought them to the man to see what he would call them, and whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name. 20 The man gave names to all cattle and to the birds of the air and to every animal of the field, but for the man[c] there was not found a helper as his partner. 21 So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept; then he took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. 22 And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. 23 Then the man said,

“This at last is bone of my bones     and flesh of my flesh; this one shall be called Woman,     for out of Man this one was taken.”

24 Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and clings to his wife, and they become one flesh. 

Hymn:  VU 291 “All Things Bright and Beautiful” (vs 1-3-5)

Reflection:  Rural Life
The farm I  spent my early years on as a child was first owned by my grandfather and then his son, my dad, who spent his short life of 53 years working on that same farm.

Lillies (not too far from here) is one of those small rural community areas that are so common in every country setting.  Sometimes not an actual grouping of houses near to each other, but rather several farms spread over a larger area.  Each farm was and still may be operated by a different family, but they were all connected in the sense that if aid was needed by one farm, it was willingly given by others.  They were joined together in a mutual respect and loyalty for each other as farmers.

On farms of the past everyone living on the farm worked long hard hours every day and the work is never ever finished.  They grew and raised food not only for their own family, but with the hope to sell some of their products to others who do not make a living in agriculture.

When a farmer goes to work in the field he, more than likely takes with him hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of equipment.  All this to raise a crop he hopes will be plentiful, but over which he has very little control.  Weather conditions, and market conditions have a direct and immediate effect on farm income.  The farm investment is tremendous, and the debt may be with the farmer all the years he works the land.

Farms have traditionally been passed down from one generation to the next and that is still a fact today, but because of those extremely high costs involved with farming, the long challenging hours of work and the uncertainty of a good financial return, fewer children of a farming couple desire to take on that responsibility.  When the family farm is passed from one generation to another it is more than land and cattle but a deep sense of pride of the work of their forefathers and foremothers that is passed on as well.  It is a tradition carried on with devotion and love.

In this area, there are many different sizes of farms, from the smaller family run traditional dairy farm to the very large dairy, poultry and vegetable farms.  The smaller size farm is usually run by family members and the larger company style farm may be family owned but operated by many employed men and women.  All these farms add a great deal to the economy of this area, and we are better off for their being here.

 I don’t think I could have been a farmer.  I would have had to be mechanically inclined, able to take all the smells and accept death of animals as something that goes with the job. 

But here are some things I recall about living on the farm as a child.

I remember my sister and I walking through the fields or back to the woods, picking berries along the way.  We played in the creek nearby or in the watering hole maybe half mile from the house in water the cattle walked through and did “their business”, wading in the water and dodging cow pies was fun. Running through the corn fields playing hide and seek.  Eating apples off the tree, or carrots and peas right out of the garden - dirt and all.  Playing in the hay mow.   Licking cow salt.  In the spring there was always plenty of water running right down the driveway.  Hours were spent playing in these rivers.  The swing hanging from the tree in the yard.  And our really great friend, our dog.  Lassie was the name of one dog we had, because he or she was a collie, just like the TV show we used to watch at four o’clock on Sunday at Grammas. And what about the outdoor facilities - a two seater at that, with the Eatons or Sears catalogue right at hand.  Just a few of those memories that pop into mind now and then when I think about the farm.

Mom didn’t seem to keep my sister and I surrounded by some protective bubble to keep us from mishaps.  I don’t remember having to work, other than filling the woodbox or making my bed every morning.  I do know that Dad was always in the barn, or on the fields, seeing him basically at meal times.  Mom, well she also worked every waking hour of her day.  Housework, garden work, barn work.  And no doubt work looking for and after her twins. 

Sunday was the day of rest, at least in theory.  Farm animals never have learned to look after themselves on Sunday or at least one day a week.  Mom,  and her children would go to church, maybe their only day away from the farm for the week.  Dad, would sometimes go with his family to church, but he still had daily barn work to complete.  In the afternoon it was out to Grammas at Glen Elbe - the farm on which my mother was born.

I think we appreciate now,  the very hard work at which our parents and grandparents laboured to survive and raise their families.  Did they enjoy the work?  It was their lively hood.  I believe that the most difficult decision a farmer and his wife have to make, is when to give up farming.  In most cases it is all they have ever done.   They may leave their farm, but their farm never leaves them.  They worked all their lives to build, care for and improve their business.

Today, we may all have a small garden at home or maybe flower beds to care for.  If you do, then you very likely enjoy getting down on your knees, digging in the soil, planting, weeding or cultivating, but getting back up might be a challenge for some, including myself,.  Getting your hands covered in soil.  It is supposed to be relaxing and gives you time to reflect about what is going on in your life.   I recently read that soil can be an antidepressant. The smell of mycobacterium vacae, a microorganism found in soil, compost and leaf mold, lights up neurotransmitters that release serotonin - a mood-lifting hormone.  So, if you’re feel a bit down, go out and dig around in the soil - bare hands of course.

The fresh air, the sunshine, the satisfaction of watching seedlings emerge from the soil, the plants growing, producing flowers or vegetables gives a sense of accomplishment.  We also know that God makes all this happen, we just give him a helping hand.  He provides the soil, the sunshine, the rain.  We just use what he provides for us and we provide the tools. 

This applies to the farmer as well, only on a much, much larger scale with bigger fields and bigger tools .

Haven’t you looked at the seeds you plant and are in awe how a plant producing a carrot, a tomato, or an ear of corn can eventually come from such a tiny piece of dry material.  You’ve heard the bible story of the mustard seed.  If you have seen a mustard seed it is so very very tiny.  Small as the head of a pin.  I planted a few mustard seeds some years ago.  Only one grew to maturity.  It was a huge plant and it all came from a dot size seed.  God can surely pack a powerful punch.

Everyone should be a steward of the land.  Farmers must take good care of their land so their crops and animals will survive and thrive.  God has provided them and us with the basic materials, it is everyone’s obligation to treat God’s gifts with care.

Paul Harvey  an American radio broadcaster had a segment on his show he called The Rest of the Story.  You likely have heard or read this particular story  -  So God Made a Farmer. 

On the eighth day, God looked down on his planned paradise and said, "I need a caretaker."

So, God made a farmer.

God said, I need somebody willing to get up before dawn, milk cows, work all day in the fields, milk cows again, eat supper and then go to town and stay past midnight at a meeting of the Farm Bureau. So, God made a farmer.

I need somebody with strong arms to wrestle a calf, yet gentle enough to deliver his own grandchild. Somebody to call hogs, tame cantankerous machinery, come home hungry and have to wait until his wife is done feeding visiting ladies, then tell the ladies come back soon. So, God made a farmer.

God said, I need somebody willing to sit up all night with a new born colt and watch it die and then dry his eyes and say maybe next year. I need somebody who can shape an ax handle from a persimmon sprout and shoe a horse with a hunk of car tire. Who can make harness out of a hay wire, feed sacks and shoe scraps. Whose planting time and harvest season will finish his 40 hour week by Tuesday noon. Then, with the pain from tractor back, he will put in another 72. So, God made a farmer.

God had to have somebody willing to ride the ruts at double-speed to get the hay in ahead of the rain clouds and yet stop in mid-field and race to help when he sees the first smoke from a neighbour's place. So, God made a farmer.

God said, I need somebody strong enough to clear trees and heave bales, and yet gentle enough to wean lambs and pigs and tend the pink combed pullets. And who will stop his mower for an hour to splint the broken leg of a meadowlark. So, God made a farmer.

 

It had to be somebody who would plow deep and straight and not cut corners. Somebody to seed, weed, feed, breed, and rake and disc and plow and plant and tie the fleece and strain the milk and replenish the self-feeder and finish a hard weeks work with a five mile drive to church. Somebody who would bale a family together with the soft strong bonds of sharing. Who would laugh, then sigh and reply with smiling eyes... When his son says he wants to spend his life doing what Dad does! So, God made a farmer.
Amen

 Choir:  Farmer’s Song

Offering Invitation:
Each Sunday we bring our offering of thanks to God, for the blessings he has given, our wonderful rural setting in which we live, for the food on our tables and the love of family and friends.  As God has provided for us, his flock, let us give thanks to him for his love and care.  Your support is important for the work of this church in your community and our world.  A donation plate as previously mentioned is located at the street entrance to the church.

Dedication Prayer:
We thank you God, for the circle of life:
the cycle of receiving and giving
and the cycle of seed time and harvest.
Bless the gifts we give to your church,
trusting in their future promise.
Amen.

Pastoral Prayers and the Lord’s Prayer:
Creating God, For the care that we can give and receive as your creatures, we give you thanks. Thank you for your care of those enduring pain in body or mind. For the care of those suffering grief at the loss of loved ones.  We ask for your care and protection over our church and its people.  Give wisdom to our leaders in government who keep our country safe and free. 

Loving God, we pray for the farming community as they continue to work hard to bring us food. Bless them as they sow crops and care for livestock. Surround them with your love so they may know they are cared for and valued. Help us to be thankful for the food they produce.

We gather these prayers with the prayer Jesus taught us……The Lord’s Prayer).
Amen.

Hymn:  VU 227 “For the Fruit of All Creation”

Commissioning and Benediction:
Go, appreciating the beauty and promise of all things sacred. Go, knowing that we cannot hold on to the glimpses of beauty that we experience.
Go, thankful for the gifts such beauty brings.
And may the deep nourishing soil of God’s grace, the radiant warmth of Christ’s love, and the restoring power of the Spirit be with us all, as we spread God’s glory, wherever we are planted. Amen.

Hymn:  “Blessings”  written by Paul Rumbolt

May God bless each of us today and always.  Go with the love of God in your heart.  Enjoy the rest of today and the coming week.   Amen