Saturday, February 25, 2006

A BOOK I CAN'T BRING MYSELF TO SELL

Imagine: An ag newspaper titled Breeder's Gazette that offers to its readers every month not just information about supplements for cattle, but written prayers. And not just any prayers, but prayers specifically written for farmers.

Like the family farm itself, a magazine that addresses both the practical and spiritual needs of farmers sounds like something from a distant, bygone era. Brian recently brought home an old book called The Farmer Gives Thanks, which is a 63 page collection of these prayers that appeared in the Breeder's Gazette in the 1940's and 50's.

The editor of the Breeder's Gazette, and the author of the prayers, was Samuel R. Guard. His name appears on the book without any credentials. There is no "Reverend" before his name, no "Ph.D" or "M. Div." after it. There is no author blurb. In the preface he says, "With my own eyes I have seen a old farmer at the supper table, surrounded by his children and grandchildren, his wife there at yon end between the hired man and the high chair, and with my own ears I have listened to his grace. All you have to do to write a book like this is to listen."

And oh how he listens:

For lively new creatures with pink noses that this old farmer helped into a glistering but beautiful world last night, we thank thee, Lord.

Thy children are fussing again, our Father, and we who are left on this patch of black earth here are in sore need of bright courage and stout faith.

Strengthen us for any struggle, Lord.

Temper this wind to the lamb that is shorn.

If the crocus bloom, can Johnny-jump-up be far behind?

Make us patient, but well-prepared.

Amen

Bright little crocuses scampered clear across the dooryard to tell the forsythia bush; dewy daffodils nodded all day to the sugar maple tree; the red buds wouldn't wait for their new garments of green--nor we, to thank thee for the spring.

The lambs jump higher than the old ewe's back; the pink-nosed pigs nudge for dear life; the calves take to the creek as the ducklings to the pond; while we thy children in thine own image claim anew the covenant of thy bow in the cloud.

Preserve us from flood of war as thou didst Noah from the waters of the flood.

Help us to plow deep, harrow fine, and to seed as if every seed were to bear bread to be broken by the Lord himself.

Amen

I could, I suppose, do a Google search on Samuel Guard and learn about the man behind the prayers. For now I'm content to listen to the voice of the farmers through these prayers. And to keep this book on my personal library shelf, not in my business inventory.
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2 Comments:

Blogger Mimi said...

What neat prayers! That book sounds so lovely, I'd not sell it either!

10:27 AM  
Blogger Kim Taylor said...

Really interesting post. I believe farmers really deserves our support and prayers.

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12:19 AM  

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