PRIEST: [Standing at front, ready to receive gifts]
When the people of Israel had settled in the land that God had provided, there was a ritual that they performed every year to remember their story, and to remind themselves that the earth belongs to God.
Every year they take some of the first fruits of all that has been produced from the soil of the land and put them in baskets. They then process together to the sacred gathering place.
ISRAELITES: [walk toward front with baskets]
NARRATOR 1: When they arrive at the sacred gathering place, the Israelites say these words before the priest:
ISRAELITE ONE: A wandering, landless Aramean was my ancestor who with all my ancestors went down into Egypt and lived there and became a great nation, powerful and numerous. [Set basket before priest]
ISRAELITE TWO: But the Egyptians treated us badly and made us suffer, making us work hard. [Set basket before priest]
ISRAELITE THREE: Then we cried out to the God of our ancestors, who heard our voice and saw our misery, toil, and oppression.
God rescued us and brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand, and with great and wonderful signs and miracles. God brought us to this place – this beautiful land, a land flowing with milk and honey. [Set basket before priest]
ISRAELITE FOUR: Now we bring the first fruits of the soil that you, O God, have provided. [Set basket before priest]
NARRATOR 1: Then the Israelites feast. They party! Think of our own [name of local lively annual event] Festival!
Israelites smile and party!
Everyone is invited – even the refugees, the immigrants, the unclean, the homeless and the strangers who live in God’s land together. All rejoice in the good things that God provides.
ALL ISRAELITES (together): Thanks be to God!
NARRATOR 1: And so they rejoice in the good things God provides.
NARRATOR 2: So, we, too, rejoice in the good things God provides in our lives. And in gratitude we give.
Today’s special offering, our [annual Harvest offering/ local offering], supports ___________. This organization [insert name] demonstrates the Christian message of loving God by loving our neighbours through prayer, action, and financial support.
Let us give generously with grateful hearts.
As the ancient Israelites brought their gifts, please come forward with your gifts.
Harvest Offering is collected at this time.
[Actors return to their seats as people come forward with offering.]
By Ana & Tod Gobledale for Harvest Sunday, UK
Harvest Drama (from Deuteronomy 26:1–11)
Open Table Service — Harvest: celebrating abundance — Ana Gobledale, UK
Aho Mitakuye Oyasin, all my relations — Lakota Nation, North America
A child’s prayer of thanks — Thandiwe Dale-Ferguson, Colorado USA
Thanksgiving Hymn — George Stuart, Australia
Thanksgiving — Oct, Canada; Nov, USA
Thanksgiving prayer — Ana Gobledale, UK
God of Covenant (on reading Deuteronomy) –Merryl Blair, Australia