I posted a version of this poem rather after all the harvest festivals last year, so I thought I’d post this shorter version again in case it’s any use to anyone planning harvest songs-of-praise type services in which you need multiple readings!
We bring the spare we do not really need
(for surely God will honour all we bring
although it cannot make up for our greed).
And place into Christs’s hands our offering:
“Turn water into wine again,” we say,
“and multiply my token loaves and fish
to feed another hungry crowd today.”
Our gifts, we know, will put some flesh
on words of charity. Then into those
twelve empty baskets, let us place the gifts in us
that need to be increased and shared
with greater generosity than we may be prepared
to offer on our own account.
For we are God’s most rich and splendid bounty,
sown as seeds in every place
the human race:
the crowning glory
of the ever-evolving creation story.
We thank God that he does not only separate the wheat from tare,
but takes our very best then turns us into far more than we are.
Again with apologies and thanks to whoever wrote Psalms 22 and 139.
My God, my God, why do I forsake you?
When your salvation was so near,
so near to the words of my distress?
O my God, you cry to me in the daytime,
but I have not answered,
by night also, but instead I took my rest.
Yet you are the Holy One of Israel,
enthroned on their praises,
my forebears trusted in you
and you delivered them.
But as for me I am a worm and no man,
worthy of the people’s scorn.
Why do those who see me not laugh me to scorn?
Why do they take pity on me, saying,
“If only she would trust in God,
for God delights in her, and will deliver her.”
For it is you that took me out of the womb,
and laid me safe upon my mother’s breast.
On you was I cast ever since I was born,
you are my God even from my mother’s womb.
And you are never far from me,
even when trouble is near at hand,
especially when trouble is near at hand.
But instead I run to the mighty oxen,
and to the fat bulls of Bashan.
I have poured out myself like water,
and I have put my own bones out of joint.
I have turned the heart of flesh you gave me
into a heart of stone.
My mouth and my tongue are free
Yet I chose to choke on the dust of death,
And have not called on you for help.
I have joined with the hounds and with the pack of evildoers,
And I have pierced your hands and your feet.
I cannot look on as your bones accuse me,
While I cast lots for my own life.
And yet you are not far from me,
You are still my strength when I call upon your name,
Deliver my soul from myself,
My poor life from the snares that I have laid myself,
For you have always answered me:
My God, my God, why have you never forsaken me?