april 26th, 2020 – earth day

Hey Everyone!  It’s good to be with you through waves and wires. 


In the process of preparing the liturgies, I often think about what it might look like on your other end of this: I sit in the corner of my basement piecing together (with the help of so many people) the liturgies and send it out for you to listen to, in the setting of your life and home.  I sometimes imagine ‘your end’ in the vein of a Norman Rockwell illustration – like all of you are huddled around some old timey radio, which I admit is a little sentimental and actually ridiculous.  But still, for me the idea of us tuning into something together, whatever that truly looks like, helps me feel connected, or more accurately, reminds me that I am a part of a beautiful and diverse community of people.  And that’s a big deal!  And so encouraging.  So wherever you are, I wish you well.


As you know, April 22 is Earth Day, or I guess was Earth Day, except that it will happen again next April 22, so is Earth Day?  Whatever!


Ok, back on track.  Earth Day had its rough formation in 1970 and has since become a worldwide observance.  Simply, Earth Day was born out of the need to intentionally remind ourselves that, as the trustees of the planet, we need to actually take care of the planet through the choices we make and policies we adopt.


Earth Day is a call to action—for all of us—to help to transform the world for a healthier, safer, more just, and more sustainable future.  This of course is quite complex in its working out, but definitely something we need to find ways of engaging.  Incidentally, earthday.org has some really good suggestions, ideas, and resources to help with this.  Kari also put together a pamphlet with a few ideas to get us thinking about how might engage in creation care during the season of Easter Celebration.  You can find that on our Facebook page or download it using the link embedded in the text of liturgy: (click here for Earth Day pamphlet)


So why all the talk about Earth Day?  Well, as I mentioned last week, we are currently in the season of Easter Celebration.  During this season we are considering different aspects and implications of resurrection.  One of those important implications is that through his resurrection, Jesus is working to rebuild, restore, and repair those things which had been fractured by sin.  I would suggest that a summary statement for this work is, that Jesus is making all things new.  (See Revelation 21)  However, ‘all things new’ is not just a reference to humanity, but rather a statement about all of creation being made new.  (See Romans 8)  More to the point, it’s not just that Jesus is doing this by himself – he has invited us to also participate in his work of making all things new.  Actually, he left this task with us, and part of that work involves creation care.


From the beginning, humanity was given the responsibility of looking after, tending to, and caring for creation.  Thomas Berry, who was a priest and geologian, suggested that possessing a deep understanding of the history and function of the universe is necessary to understand and guide our intended function as individuals and as a species. He said that, everything tells the story of the universe. The winds tell the story, literally, not just imaginatively. The birds tell it in their language, the trees in theirs.  The story has its imprint everywhere, and that is why it is so important to know the story. If you do not know the story, in a sense you do not know yourself; you do not know really anything.  I think what he was implying is that if we understand the story we can’t help but understand our role as stewards of creation.  John S. Denker wrote, ‘We need to think theology of ecology because nature is not just our house, it is our body. When we hurt others and nature, we hurt ourselves.’ 


So I thought that today we’d use our liturgy to be reminded of the story of our generous and loving Creator as well as our role as caretakers of the Ecosystem of Christ we affectionately call Earth.
So, here we go…
Let’s pray together:
Almighty God,
     whose Spirit hovered over the waters
   bringing order out of chaos,
     and whose love for all living things 
   is everlasting:


Help us to live in a way which
     cares for your creation,
   marvels at its beauty,
     and shares its resources;
To the glory of your Son Jesus Christ
     through whom and for whom all things  
   were created.
Sarah Butler
All of creation
     beckons us to worship You. 
The grandeur of the universe,
     echoes Your Glory! 
More than spectacular is the work of Your hands! 
Who can match Your brilliance and authority? 
     You set boundaries for the ocean, 
   You raise majestic mountains to touch the sky  
     Sunrise and sunset happens on Your watch 


Holy, holy
     the earth is filled with Your glory 
Who is humankind
     that You are mindful of us?
Though we are finite dust particles,
     You honour us and care for us.
Though we are frail sons and daughters
     You entrust us to look after all you’ve made.
Holy, holy 
     the earth is filled with Your glory. 


Who are we that You even notice us?
   How can it be that our tears and
     dreams matter to You? 
Eternal God, beyond time and space,       
     who are we that You lean in when we draw near? 

Wind and sea obey at Your command, 
     yet You invite us to follow You with a whisper. 
Holy God, You know our hidden sin, 
     yet You offer us new mercies every morning. 


The earth is filled with Your glory 
     lean closer to see it. 
The earth is filled with Your glory
     lean closer to see it.
A New Liturgy

Standing up from crags and clay
     the peaks of earth in full display
They break the lines that break the sky
     that’s full of life, full of life


The chaos of creation’s dance
     a tapestry, a symphony
Of life himself, of love herself
     it’s written in our very skin


All praises to the one who made it all
     who made it all
All praises to the one who made it all
     and finds it beautiful


Soil is spilling life to life
     stars are born to fill the night
The ocean’s score,
     the majesty of sculpted shore


All praises to the one who made it all
     who made it all
All praises to the one who made it all
     and finds it beautiful


Fearfully and wonderfully and beautifully made.
                                                            Lisa Gungor
                                                            Michael Gungor
God of all creation:
   On the first day You made day and night.


Forgive us for taking for granted the 
     dependable patterns of your world. 
Open our eyes to see the beauty of the cosmos
     You created as our home.
On the second day You made the sky.
Forgive us for polluting the air.      
   Help us see how best to restore and
   renew your creation.
On the third day You made the seas and plants.
Forgive us for spoiling the seas.
     Give us resolve to change our hurtful habits.

On the fourth day You made the sun
     and moon.

Forgive us for failing to pause in praise of
     their splendour
Open our lips so that we will sing
     Your praise.

On the fifth day You made swarms of
      living creatures.
Forgive us for seeing their value only in
     terms of serving our interests.
Give us new opportunities to delight in their
      beauty and diversity.


On the sixth day You made humankind
     in Your image.

Forgive us for denying dignity to all Your people.
     Work through us until all know their
   worth as Your creatures.

On the seventh day You rested.

Forgive us for failing to take joy in
     our rest. 
Help us enter Your rhythm of rest,
     even in this day of worship.

Our God Alone (click here for audio link)

Who formed the mountains, and filled the oceans
     our God alone, our God alone
Who took the dust, breathed life in us
     our God alone, our God alone
Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia
     alleluia, alleluia, alleluia


Who came from heaven, for our redemption
     our God alone, our God alone
Who died for sin, that we may live
     our God alone, our God alone
Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia
     alleluia, alleluia, alleluia


Who rose again, death could not win
     our God alone, our God alone
Who is returning, building a Kingdom
     our God alone, our God alone
We will worship, we will worship
     our God alone, our God alone
Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia
     alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

David Gungor

Our world belongs to God-
    not to us or earthly powers,
      not to demons, fate or chance.
   The earth is the Lord’s!
God formed the land, the sky and the seas,
     making the earth a fitting home
       for the plants, animals,
   and humans God’s self created.

The world was filled with color, beauty, and variety;
   it provided room for
      work and play,
      worship and service,
      love and laughter.

O magnify the LORD with me
  let us exalt God’s name together!
                                 Our World Belongs to God
                                        Calvin Institute of Christian Worship

This world is enchanted
     lean closer to see it
This world is enchanted
     dare to breathe it in
   dare to breathe it in


Give us new eyes to see
     give us new hearts to feel
Give us new lungs to breath
     the wonder underneath
Dare to breathe it in
     dare to breathe it in
Born and born again


Lord of creation,
     your world shows us your glory,

Give us eyes to see your glory in all
     that you have made,   
 from the beauty of a sunset
    to the pattern of a snowflake.
Give us minds to understand
     something of your purpose in creation
   and the humility to take our place as
    co-workers serving you in caring for your creation.
Give us hearts to love you by loving all your works,
     and the tenderness to nurture life in all its fullness.
Through Jesus Christ,       
who is alive with you and the Holy Spirit,  
   one God now and for ever.
This world is enchanted
     lean closer to see it
This world is enchanted
     dare to breathe it in
   dare to breathe it in
Give us new eyes to see
     give us new hearts to feel
Give us new lungs to breathe
     the wonder underneath
Dare to breathe it in
     dare to breathe it in
Born and born again
                                                Aaron Niequist
A Rocha

Lord God, Father of Creation,
     you made all that exists from nothing:   
   spoke into existence each bird and tree,
      designed the detail of each butterfly and flower,
    made us from dust, one part of your world.
Lord God, Saviour of the World, 
  you keep watch over all,
    you sustain all creation by your word,
      you came to bring healing to creation.
Lord God, Spirit of Life,
     you breathe your image into human beings.
  Inspire us with love for your creation.
Teach us how to better
     care for your world.
  Blessed God, Father, Son, and Spirit,
    we praise you for all you have created.
Forgive us for taking
     your works for granted.
  Empower us with ability to fulfil our task—
   to act justly, live simply and walk humbly with you, our God,
      in the garden of your Creation.
  Through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Dave Bookless, A Rocha UK

All Creatures (click here for audio link)

All creatures of our God and King
     lift up your voice and with us sing
   O praise him, alleluia
Thou burning sun with golden beam
     thou silver moon with softer gleam
O praise Him, o praise Him
     alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Thou rushing wind that art so strong
     ye clouds that sail in heav’n along
   O praise him, alleluia
Thou rising moon in praise rejoice
     ye lights of evening find a voice
O praise Him, o praise Him
     alleluia, alleluia, alleluia
Let all things their Creator bless
     and worship Him in humbleness
   O praise him, alleluia
Praise, praise the Father, praise the Son
     and praise the Spirit three in one
O praise Him, o praise Him
     alleluia, alleluia, alleluia
Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia, alleluia
Lasst Uns Erfreuen
St. Francis
David Crowder and Brent Milligan
May God bless us with wisdom    
to care for the earth.
And may the Lord who established
   the dance of creation,
      who marvelled at the lilies of the field,  
   who transforms chaos to order,
lead us to transform our lives, and the Church,    
    to reflect God’s glory in creation.
Sylvia Walker

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