Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Beat Your Swords to Ploughshares!

St Andrew's Kirkby Malzeard
Plough Sunday 2012

Plough Sunday ushers in the start of the farming year. At St Andrew's Kirkby Malzeard we marked Plough Sunday last week. This annual service is a celebration of the work of farmers and an opportunity to pray with them for the work that they do. A plough is blessed, prayers are said for the cycle of preparation, growth and harvesting, and the community comes together to commit their work to God and to remember that farmers are co-operating in God's work of sustaining the created order. It was a turly joyful occasion. The church was packed, there was a full choir, we welcomed the Mayor of Harrogate, Councillor Les Ellington and Mrs Ellington, and the Highside Longswords danced, using traditional steps and music which are unique to the village of Kirkby Malzeard. Over coffee, as well as meeting lots people from St Andrew's and the local community, I spoke to visitors who had come specially from as far away as Wakefield and York. As someone said, 'Rowan Atkinson ought to see the church in action like this!' A big thank you to everyone who took part - and also for the lovely lunch, afterwards. The Plough Sunday address can be read on my 'sermons' page.   

Read about the Highside Longswords on

Every good and perfect gift comes from you, O Lord.
For fertile soil, for the smell of newly-turned earth,
We give you thanks, O Lord.
For keen, cold, frosty winter days and nights,
We give you thanks, O Lord.
For the tractor's hum and the gleam of a cutting edge
We give you thanks, O Lord.
For the beauty of a clean-cut furrow and the sweep of a well-ploughed field,
We give you thanks, O Lord.
Blessed are you, Lord, for all your gifts to us.