This Week: September 16 – 20

Wisdom of the Harvest Moon 

The season of the harvest moon – September’s lovely moon – approaches. The harvest moon is the full moon nearest the autumnal equinox (September 23  of this year). I have been enjoying over the last few days the moon’s steady growth toward its harvest fullness as it hovers over my Winston-Salem vegetable garden. Just this week, on September 8, Venus danced up close to the moon and together they lit up the sky in their own unique and peculiar ways. I took the photo above on September 9. Much wisdom dwells in those lunar phases we glimpse from earth as the moon makes its way toward September’s harvest. The remembered promise of harvest fullness provides insight and hope as a young moon grows.

September at the School of Divinity has been a season of growth as new and returning students, along with faculty and staff, have entered into the rhythms of classes, chapel services, and community coffee hours and lunches. Perhaps the wisdom of the young moon speaks to our community as the fourth week of classes begins. Seasons of growth and harvest are as common to theological learning as they are to the moon and to the agricultural possibilities it marks here in Winston-Salem in September. That is the work of human communities:  we plant, cultivate, and harvest both in concrete ways that provide physical nourishment and in those less easily articulated ways that provide spiritual nourishment.

The morning prayer included here thanks God for seasons of work and seeks God’s grace and presence as we explore and respond to God’s call to works of justice, reconciliation and compassion. The School of Divinity Board of Visitors will begin their meeting this Monday with this prayer. The September moon will have gone to its daily rest, and the sun will have appeared anew on the horizon. Perhaps readers can pray with the Board and each other virtually, thanking God, the First Laborer, for this season of work and promised harvest.

Morning Prayer
School of Divinity Board of Visitors
Fall 2013

The Lord be with you.
And also with you.
Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love, O God,
That we may rejoice and be glad all our days.


Creator God,
First Worker,
Laborer and Crafter of the universe—
To you be praise and glory.

Creator God,
Painter of the sky,
Whose medium is the air,
Whose canvas is the expanse of all space—
To you be praise and glory.

Creator God,
Polisher of rock
Washed by river and by sea;
Pebble on the beach, boulder on the mountainside—
To you be praise and glory.

Creator God,
Creating us to be
Caretakers of the earth,
Tillers of soil,
Molders of clay—
To you be praise and glory.

Creator God,
You call us to be supporters, teachers, and shapers of ministry students,
Cultivators of theological and pastoral wisdom,
Vehicles of love and peace—
To you be praise and glory.

Take, O God, our daily work, especially the work of these meetings, and use it for the good of your creation. Bless our work, and bless us as workers. Creator, Redeemer, Sustainer—hear our prayer.  Amen.[i]

Reading: Psalm 104

Silent Reflection

Thanksgiving and Intercessions
O God, soon you will bless this place with autumn gifts. On this September morning, anticipating autumn’s gifts, we give thanks. We give thanks not only for the turning of the calendar and the rhythms of the moon and stars but also for the possibilities of a new season. On this September morning, we celebrate your continued work with us and in us in this, a new fall season of harvest gifts.

Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love, O God,
That we may rejoice and be glad all our days.

We thank you, God, for good things that unfold before us as a new autumn approaches…
       For places where the limiting frames of this world are passing away,
       For rivers of healing breaking forth where once were only broken glass and concrete,
       For fountains of hope in desert places…

       (Worshippers offer silently or aloud words of thanksgiving.)

We give thanks.

Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love, O God,
That we may rejoice and be glad all our days.

We proclaim today not just the start of another season of work for this board but we offer up, too, our hopes for a new heaven and a new earth. May the work we undertake in the hours, days and months ahead draw us ever closer to the realization of those hopes.

       (Worshippers offer silently or aloud intercessions.)

We offer these prayers.

Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love, O God,
That we may rejoice and be glad all our days.

And now, O God, teach us to drink fully of the cup of each unfolding moment of this meeting and of each day in this harvest season. Let us drink deeply of the beauty and joy of life’s mysteries as they appear to us around this table, in our offices and studying places, in our homes and in our travels—in our daily work. Expand our vision of the possibilities of theological education as those possibilities connect us to your mercy, justice, and grace. Give us wisdom and courage as we take our places in the vocational formation of women and men for whom faith and a calling have become a decision to lead.

Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love, O God,
That we may rejoice and be glad all our days.[ii]

We praise you, First Worker and Creator of the universe.
Your wisdom opens the gates of the morning
And your understanding orders the changes of time and seasons.
Guide us always to the end of time. Amen.[iii]

The grace and peace of God be with us now and always.


Academic News

Applications for Multicultural Context Courses Due by 12:00noon, September 18
Incomplete Work from Spring 2013 Due September 25
Last Day to Drop Classes October 1


>> View the full edition of This Week online. (available Sunday at 5:00pm)


Blessings on the week ahead,

  Jill Crainshaw
  Associate Dean for Academic Affairs




[i] Paraphrased from Reverend Pam F. Wyley, Lake Bolac Uniting Church, Victoria.
     See Philip Liebelt and Noel Nicholls, eds., Gentle Rain on Parched Earth:
    Worship Resources for Rural Settings
(Melbourne: The Joint Board of Christian
    Education, 1996).

[ii] Paraphrased from Garth House, Litanies for All Occasions (Valley Forge:
       Judson Press, 1989).

[iii]Based on a Jewish Berakah of the Evening.