This week our Spirit Play children celebrate a Harvest Communion. Here’s the ritual that they participated in:
I think this might be the Thanksgiving basket. When our church celebrates Thanksgiving, we also have a Harvest Communion, so this might be the Harvest Communion basket, too. Because this involves the work of the church, I will ask some people to help me, unlike when a story is usually told.
The Minister asks: “what happens later this week?” The people answer: Thanksgiving! Then the Minister asks, “what do we do on Thanksgiving?” And the people answer! (eat, sleep, play games, give thanks, travel long distances)
When we have the Harvest Communion, we sit in a circle around a circular table. This is so we can see each other as we share the feast. The Minister has asked for worship helpers before the service and she calls them by name.
_______ and _______, would you lay the tablecloths on the table?
This cloth is like our church. It is rectangular, like our church building. It has lots of threads going one way and lots of threads going another way. Those threads are like the different people’s lives in our church, going this way and that way, but intersecting here, making something wonderful, fine, special, and completely different.
_______, would you set the candle in the middle of the table and light it with our felt flame. This candle is like the warm light of our hearts, of our friends and family. The candle reminds us of the chalice we light each week as the sign and symbol of our faith. We light our light so that people everywhere can see that we welcome everyone to our table, that this table belongs to everybody.
_______ and _______, would you take these trays and place them on the table. These are trays of cornbread. Corn grew on this land for many centuries before the Europeans came to this valley. There are lots of types of corn: hard and sweet, corn that grows is wet years and corn that grows in dry ones, tall corn and short corn, thin corn and fat corn, red, blue, yellow, purple, maroon, brown, black, and orange corn. There’s a color of corn for every color of the rainbow and for each of the seven promises we make each other. Corn reminds us of how wonderful and diverse this amazing world of ours is.
_________ and __________, would you take this pitcher and these apples and put them on the table? This is a pitcher of apple cider. Apples grew and spread on this land with the arrival of Europeans to this valley. There are lots of different types of apples. The seeds from an apple don’t guarantee that the same kind of tree that bore them will grow up just like its parent, kind of like people. Apples come tart and sweet, small and large, red, orange, yellow, green, russet, spotted, speckled, striped, and everything in between. Apples remind us of how wonderfully rich and diverse this amazing world is, and that is takes all kinds to make excellent pie, cider, and fresh eating.
We celebrate the harvest of the land. We hope the rich gifts of that harvest will sustain us through these cubes of cornbread and these cups of apple cider. Corn and apples are symbols of local abundance, because both grow right here in the Mohawk Valley. We celebrate the ways these gifts grow together and sustain us. We hope that in remembering these amazing gifts of sun, rain, and earth we will in turn nurture and sustain this planet. These gifts require the labor of many hands to grow, to harvest, to grind, to press, to bake, to bottle, to transport, to sell, to prepare, to serve. Our religious work requires many hands to nurture each other and to heal and restore this world. Let us join our working hands together.
We lift our hands and hearts together,
In gratitude for this marvelous abundance
Of life, of love, of hope.
We suing forth our gratitude to one another,
For the earth’s precious gifts,
For the farmers’ toil and care,
For the farmworkers’ harvesting, culling, and culturing,
For the truckers and engineers hauling this food over miles,
For the store workers stocking, cleaning, and selling,
For the people who prepared this marvelous meal,
For the chance to be, once again, with one another,
We give thanks.
May this feast nourish us!
May we in turn nourish this world!
Day by day, step by,
Hope and grateful for the past, the present and the future.
Amen and Blessed Be.
As the napkins, cornbread and cider come to you, please take a napkin, a piece of cornbread, and a cup of cider. Or you can pass and say no.
Now when you eat and drink, taste the cornbread, taste the cider, and let those tastes guide you to what you are thankful for. <silence>
What thanks would we like to share?<share thanks>
Our hearts are full of thanks, our hearts are full of thanks, our hearts are full of thanks. May the congregation lift our thankful hearts to the sky and, together, as one body, say, thank you! <thank you!>
- I wonder if you have ever seen or heard any of this before?
- I wonder which part of this lesson is the most important?
- I wonder which part you like the best?
- I wonder where you might be in this lesson?
- I wonder what you do on Thanksgiving?
- I wonder why we end saying “thank you”?
- I wonder why we celebrate a Harvest Communion?
- I wonder why we serve cornbread?
- I wonder why we serve apple cider?
- I wonder why we pray holding hands?
- I wonder if this lesson reminds you of any of our Unitarian Universalist Promises?
- I wonder where the Spirit of Love and Mystery might be in this lesson?