All Age Worship for Harvest


based on the Medieval Cycle of the Year


The Medieval Cycle of the Year



At Harvest we often just think about the harvest that has been collected, rather than the whole process of ploughing, sowing, gathering and laying in food for the winter months.

This was the pattern of the year for many generations in the past, and still is for a vast number of people around the world.

The cycle of the medieval farming year or the Labours of the Months was often in the calendars found in the medieval devotional book, The Book of Hours. One of the most famous sets of pictures is found in Très Riches Heures du Duc de Berry. A typical set of pictures would be:

January - feasting
February - sitting by the fire
March - pruning trees, or digging
April - planting, countryside, picking flowers
May - hawking, courtly love
June - hay harvest
July - wheat harvest
August - wheat threshing
September - grape harvest
October - ploughing or sowing
November - gathering acorns for pigs
December - killing the pig, baking bread

This harvest festival service is based on the medieval labours of the farming year and thanks God for His all year round provision and His continuing blessing in the processes involved, whilst remembering that many people still struggle against adverse harvest and weather conditions.

Pictures of the medieval farming year from the Très Riches Heures du Duc de Berry can be found on the net but may be subject to reproduction copyright.

Preparatory Artwork



Medieval Cycle of the Year Picture


Draw a large circle, then an inner circle to create a wheel shape

Divide this wheel shape into 12 equal sections and cut up

Decorate each of these sections with collage pictures representing the activities for each of the months of the medieval cycle of the farming year (see below).

Mount these pictures round in a circle

Draw a smaller circle to go in the middle. Decorate each of the four quadrants of this circle with Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter images and place in the centre of the large circle opposite the required season.

Medieval Cycle of the Year Hats


The children wear hats during the service to represent the different months (see below). These can be made with a card headband (perhaps matching the different months) with symbols attached e.g. fruits in September

All Age Service


Opening hymn:

We plough the fields and scatter

Liturgy of the word


Bible Reading 1: Ecclesiastes 3 v 1 -4


For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;

Winter




Reader 1:

Winter a time of darkness, cold and snow

January:
A time for looking back over the old year
A time for looking forward to the new year

Action:

Children (or child depending on numbers) come to the front, each wearing plain white masks facing front and back


Reader 2:


February:
A time to sit by the fire in the warm.
A time to wait for the warmth of spring and new growth.

Action:

Children come to the front carrying bundles of sticks and wearing flame hats

Prayer:

Lord of the Harvest we thank you for… Lord of the harvest we pray for …….

Response:

Lord of the Harvest, hear our prayer

Bible Reading 2: Genesis 8 v 22


God promised Noah, as long as the earth endures,
seed time and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter,
day and night shall not cease.

All sing:


To every thing turn, turn, turn
To everything turn turn turn (Chorus)

A time to be born, a time to die. A time to plant, a time to reap
A time to kill, a time to heal. A time to laugh, a time to weep

(Chorus)

Action:

Children make a circle at the front and circle round singing as the congregation sing the above song

Spring



Reader 1:

Spring: A time of lighter, warmer days

March:
A time to get ready for the new crops
A time to plough and prepare the bare earth

Action:

Children come to the front with a hand plough, wearing hats with furrows on the top



Reader 2:



April:
A time for new growth and new life
A time for green shoots to sprout through the earth.

Action:

Children come to the front enter carrying plants, wearing hats with plants on their heads


Reader 1:


May:
A time away from the fields while the crops grow
A time for recreation and sometimes for battle

Action:

Children come down to the front with bows and arrows or rolling hoops, wearing hats with feathers.

Prayer:

Lord of the Harvest we thank you for… Lord of the harvest we pray for …

Response:

Lord of the Harvest, hear our prayer

Bible Reading 3: Psalm 104 v 1, 14- 15, 24, 27-30


You cause the grass to grow for the cattle, and plants for people to use,
To bring forth food from the earth, and wine to gladden the human heart,
Oil to make the face shine, and bread to strengthen the human heart.

All sing:


To every thing turn, turn, turn
To everything turn turn turn (Chorus)

A time to dance and a time to mourn, a time to cast away stones
A time to gather stones together

(Chorus)

Action:

Children make a circle at the front and circle round singing as the congregation sing the above song

Summer



Reader 2:

Summer: A time of sunshine and warmth.

June:
A time for cutting the hay.
A time for storing up food for the animals.

Action:

Children come to the front of the church bringing hay, wearing hats with straw/hay on


Reader 1:



July:
A time for the harvest.
A time for cutting the ripened wheat.

Action:

Children come to the front carrying wheat, wearing hats with wheat on


Reader 2:


August:
A time for threshing, for beating the wheat.
A time for storing the grain for flour.

Action:

Children come to the front carrying a basket and a stick, wearing grain hats

Prayer:

Lord of the Harvest we thank you for… Lord of the harvest we pray for …

Response:

Lord of the Harvest, hear our prayer

Bible Reading 4: Luke 12 v 16-19


Then Jesus told them a parable:
"The land of a rich man produced abundantly. And he thought to himself, "What shall I do, for I have no place to store my crops?"
Then he said, "I will do this:
I will pull down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul,
"Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry."
God said to him, "You fool! This very night your life is being demanded of you. And the things you have prepared, whose will they be?"
So it is with those who store up treasures for themselves but are not rich towards God."

All sing:


To every thing turn, turn, turn
To everything turn turn turn (Chorus)

A time to love and a time to hate, A time of war a time of peace
A time to embrace, And a time to refrain from embracing

(Chorus)

Action:

Children make a circle at the front and circle round singing as the congregation sing the above song

Autumn



Reader 1:

Autumn: A time for shorter days and cooler weather.

September:
A time for trees to bear fruit.
A time to pick the apples pears plums and grapes.

Action:

Children come to the front carrying basket of fruit, wearing fruit hat


Reader 2:



October:
A time to fatten the pig on acorns.
A time to celebrate the harvest.

Action:

Children come to the front carrying a "Pig" and acorns, wearing acorn hats


Reader 1:


November:
A time kill the pig for meat.
A time to salt and preserve for the winter store.

Action:

Children come to the front bringing sausages, wearing butchers apron and hat

Prayer:

Lord of the Harvest we thank you for… Lord of the harvest we pray for …….

Response:

Lord of the Harvest, hear our prayer

Bible Reading 5: 2 Corinthians 9 v 6 – 9


The point is this:
The one who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and the one who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.
Each of you must give as you have made up your mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.
And God is able to provide you with every blessing in abundance, so that by always having enough of everything, you may share abundantly in every good work.

All sing:


To every thing turn, turn, turn
To everything turn turn turn (Chorus)

A time to gain and a time to lose, A time to rend, a time to sew
A time to love, a time to hate, A time for peace, it's not too late

(Chorus)

Action:

Children make a circle at the front and circle round singing as the congregation sing the above song

Winter


Reader 2:

Winter: A time of darkness, cold and snow

December:
A time for celebrating Christ’s birth
A time for feasting and festivity
A time to rejoice and be thankful

Action:

Children come to the front carrying a Boars head, wearing holly hats

Bible Reading 6: Psalm 104 v 24, 27-30


Oh Lord, how manifold are your works! In wisdom you have made them all:
The earth is full of your creatures. These all look to you to give them food in due season;
when you give to them they gather it up; when you open your hand, they are filled with good things

All sing:


To every thing turn, turn, turn
To everything turn turn turn (Chorus)

Action:

Children make a circle at the front and circle round singing as the congregation sing the above song

Prayer:

Lord of the Harvest we thank you for… Lord of the harvest we pray for …….

Response:

Lord of the Harvest, hear our prayer

Closing Prayer / Blessing



Final hymn:



Possible hymns:     When God made the garden of creation;      Now we sing a harvest song;      Lord of the harvest, Lord of the Field.
These are all in the book "Complete Come and Praise"

Carolynn