For the fruit of all creation, Thanks be to God. For His gifts to ev'ry nation, Thanks be to God. For the plowing, sowing, reaping, Silent growth while we are sleeping, Future needs in earth's safekeeping, Thanks be to God.
This makes a lovely table grace or devotional hymn during a worship service. Sung to the Welsh hymn tune AR HYD Y NOS, it does a good job of reminding us what Jesus taught us to pray: “Our Father, who is in heaven… give us this day our daily bread.” This first verse is all about our day-to-day living and thanking God for providing for our most basic needs. The poetry is by Fred Pratt Green and written in 1970. So it’s been around for awhile, but since hymn choices in a worship service are very often guided by tradition and tastes, there’s a good chance this is still an unfamiliar text.
My husband LOVES growing little plants all over the house, and our son has taken up the fascination. To him, it’s MAGICAL. A few weeks ago my husband nabbed some squash seeds before we ate the squash, and planted them. Because he wanted to show Theo the different growth every morning. When we watch it, we see but dirt. And then, the next morning, that hopeful seedling springs up. My two year old saw it with fresh eyes that pulled us into the drama as well. I’m thankful when I can enter into his point of view, and see simple things in new ways. I can forget that we’re likely not going to get too far with this sprout, that it’s just a short-term experiential learning opportunity, it’s not going to produce fruit for us to eat… There I go again. Thinking too much about it. Sometimes that’s ok though.
Verse two is about our response in the world to God’s providence:
In the just reward of labor, God's will is done. In the help we give our neighbor, God's will is done. In our world-wide task of caring for the hungry and despairing, In the harvests we are sharing, God's will is done.
And verse three is about the gifts of the Spirit
For the harvests of the Spirit, Thanks be to God. For the good we all inherit, Thanks be to God. For the wonders that astound us, For the truths that still confound us, Most of all, that love has found us, Thanks be to God.
This hymn is about both personal thanksgiving and also the blessings of the whole word in a way that reminds us that we are not the only ones deserving of God’s love and care. And it reminds us that in our thanksgiving, we are to actively share and spread the blessings. So I invite you this week to both make a family (whoever counts as “family”: cat, dog, friends) practice of donating food and reading about hunger. Systemic poverty is not something we as Christians should accept, and it is something we can solve. So engage in some research about poverty. Find out about organizations locally and internationally. The Millennium Development Goals (below) are a great place to start.
I hope this song gets you off on the right gratitude foot this week 🙂