Sing to the Lord of Harvest

Full Text

1 Sing to the Lord of harvest,
sing songs of love and praise;
with joyful hearts and voices
your allelujahs raise.
By him the rolling seasons
in fruitful order move;
sing to the Lord of harvest
a joyous song of love.

2 God makes the clouds drop fatness,
the deserts bloom and spring;
the hills leap up in gladness,
the valleys laugh and sing.
God fills from his great fullness
all things with large increase;
he crowns the year with goodness,
with plenty, and with peace.

3 Heap on his sacred altar
the gifts his goodness gave,
the golden sheaves of harvest,
the souls Christ died to save.
Your hearts lay down before him
when at his feet you fall,
and with your lives adore him
who gave his life for all.

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Scripture References

Confessions and Statements of Faith References

Further Reflections on Confessions and Statements of Faith References

For the source of the harvest, God’s children are called to look to God who with his powerful hand upholds all things, even “...leaf and blade, rain and drought, fruitful and lean years, food and drink...” (Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 10, Question and Answer 27). As a response for the harvest, God’s people are called to give him thanks.

The fourth petition of the Lord’s Prayer also expresses this dependence on God as provider (Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 50, Question and Answer 125).


Sing to the Lord of Harvest

Introductory/Framing Text

He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food
will supply and multiply your seed for sowing
and increase the harvest of your righteousness.
You will be enriched in every way for your great generosity,
which will produce thanksgiving to God through us;
for the rendering of this ministry not only supplies the needs of the saints
but also overflows with many thanksgivings to God.
In joy, we offer our gifts now to God.
—based on 2 Corinthians 9:10-11, NRSV
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two

Call to Worship

Let the nations be glad and sing for joy,
for you judge the peoples with equity
and guide the nations upon earth.
Let all the peoples praise you, O God;
let all the peoples praise you.
The earth has brought forth its increase;
God, our God, has blessed us.
Let all the peoples praise you, O God;
let all the peoples praise you.
—from Psalm 67:4-6, NRSV
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two

Father in heaven, we give you thanks for life
and for all of the experiences that life brings us.
We give you thanks for joy, hope, peace, and answered prayers,
but we also give you thanks in our trials, sorrows, and pain.
We give thanks for our land,
for the beauty of the landscape,
for the riches it provides for our living,
for the people and cultures among us.
Above all things, we give thanks for our hope in Christ,
the life and freedom that will ultimately be ours.
Teach us to cherish all your gifts.
Teach us also to use all these resources
for the good of society and for glory to you.
Through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two

Additional Prayers

Author of all beauty, source of all wonder,
you make the mountains sing for joy and the trees clap their hands with glee.
Inspire us to join with all creation in jubilant praise and thanksgiving
through our Lord Jesus Christ, in whom and through whom all things have their being. Amen.
— Psalms for All Seasons (http://www.psalmsforallseasons.org)

Almighty God,
thank you for the intricate
life-sustaining world you created.
Make us good caregivers.
Help us share the wealth of resources
that you lavishly share with us.
Thank you for the salvation made possible to us
through the life, death,
and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Following our Lord’s example,
help us love the unloved and serve the lowly.
Thank you for the gifts of your Holy Spirit:
the comfort, the encouragement, and the formation
that we experience as evidence of the Spirit in us.
Grow in us an unquenchable desire for you.
Transform us. Make us new in you.
May we daily grow to be more like you.
In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two

Sing to the Lord of Harvest

Tune Information

A♭ Major
Meter D


Musical Suggestion

This tune is rounded barform (AABA') and its melodic variations in the fourth line can challenge a congregation. It would be wise, therefore, to alert the congregation to the change in the melody before they attempt to sing it. A verbal reminder followed by a stanza played through as an introduction should eliminate their uncertainty. A tempo marking of ♩=60 provides the spark the melody requires to be sung in four-measure phrases. The organ registration needs to be bright, and the hymn should be played with a light touch.
Liturgically this hymn may be used in any service celebrating harvest or Thanksgiving. You might consider using it as a congregational response to the reading of Psalm 65, perhaps read from Psalms Now (Concordia). The third stanza, with its emphasis on offering our gifts and our lives for kingdom service, marks the hymn as a hymn of dedication.
Healy Willan's arrangement, published by Concordia, is available in many different editions: SATB (98-2013), SSA (98-1450), SAB (98-1451), and Junior-Senior Combined Choirs (98-1454). The accompaniment, while scored for organ, is also arranged for brass ensemble (97-4501 through 97-4507). I recommend the combined choir edition. While the Junior Choir part is very challenging for a children's choir, it could easily be sung by the women of the adult choir as an added first soprano line. A trumpeter could also play this part as a descant on the concluding stanza. Augsburg has published a SATB anthem by Robert Wetzler incorporating 4 stanzas of the hymn (11-1901). Organists may wish to use the accompaniment of this anthem as a variation from the hymnal harmonization. S. Drummond Wolff has written a concertato for mixed choir, 2 trumpets, organ and congregation (Concordia 98-2137). Stanza 2, set for choir and trumpet, will take advance preparation, but is well worth the effort. Again, organists should note the possibilities for varying their congregational accompaniments using these settings by Wolff.
The range of the melody of this hymn is very accessible to children. Its light and free-flowing character can be communicated well by the quality of children's voices, and they will enjoy singing it. While the text may seem too "wordy" for young children, I would recommend its use by a Junior Choir. Included here is a piano intonation that could serve either as an introduction to congregational singing or as an accompaniment for a children's "anthem," with the opening eight measures serving as the introduction and interludes between stanzas.
Enjoy the sparkle of this hymn as you gratefully express your love and praise in worship! 
(from Reformed Worship, Issue 24)
— Norma de Waal Malefyt

Sing to the Lord of Harvest

Hymn Story/Background

In simple, vivid language derived from biblical images in the second half of Psalm 65, this text thanks the Lord for the harvest (st. 1-2) and offers to God the harvest of our lives (st. 3). Written by John S. B. Monsell in four stanzas, this text was published in Monsell's Hymns of Love and Praise in 1866.
This tune was originally a love song composed in 1575 by Johann Steurlein as a setting of "Mit Lieb bin ich umfangen."
WIE LIEBLICH IST DER MAIEN gets its name from its original use as a setting for Martin Behm's hymn text that began with those words in 1581; text and tune were published together in Gregor Gunderreitter's David's Himlische Harpffen. The Steurlein tune was later set to Monsell's text in W. Garrett Horder's Worship Song in 1905 and popularized through the 1954 anthem by Healey Willan.
The tune is a rounded bar form (AABA) whose melodic variation in the fourth line sometimes confuses congregations. Use bright organ tone on that line to support the tune, but use a lighter touch on other lines. The tune can be sung in harmony by agile voices, but congregations may prefer to sing in unison.
— Bert Polman

Author Information

John Samuel Bewley Monsell (b. St. Colomb's, Londonderry, Ireland, 1811; d. Guilford, Surrey, England, 1875) was educated at Trinity College in Dublin and served as a chaplain and rector of several churches in Ireland after his ordination in 1835. Transferred to England in 1853, he became rector of Egham in Surrey and was rector of St. Nicholas Church in Guilford from 1870 until his death (caused by a construction accident at his church). A prolific poet, Monsell published his verse in eleven volumes. His three hundred hymns, many celebrating the seasons of the church year, were issued in collections such as Hymns and Miscellaneous Poems (1837), Spiritual Songs (1857), Hymns of Love and Praise (1863), and The Parish Hymnal (1873).
— Bert Polman

Composer Information

Johann Steurlein (b. Schmalkalden, Thuringia, Germany, 1546; d. Meiningen, Germany, 1613) studied law at the University of Wittenberg. From 1569 to 1589 he lived in Wasungen near Meiningen, where he served as town clerk as well as cantor and organist in the Lutheran church. From 1589 until his death he lived in Meiningen, where at various times he served as notary public, mayor, and secretary to the Elector of Saxony. A gifted poet and musician, Steurlein rhymed both the Old and New Testaments in German. A number of his hymn tunes and harmonizations were published in Geistliche Lieder (1575) and Sieben und Zwantzig Neue Geistliche Gesenge (1588).
— Bert Polman
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