Sunday, April 21, 2013

Some scripture for Earth Sunday

A few years ago, I visited my girlfriend's United Church on the Sunday nearest to Earth Day, and the service made me cry... in joy that her community would center their liturgy on the needs of the beautiful earth God has given us, and in sorrow for the way we have taken creation for granted, using its resources thoughtlessly and causing pollution and disaster. The prayers prayed didn't let us off the hook for humanity's inhumanity to the earth, but it was still a beautiful and hopeful service that touched me deeply.

In looking at my missalette, which contains the liturgy for this Sunday, I can't find an extra single word of prayer or concern for our planet other than the lukewarm stuff that is usually there. It's Good Shepherd Sunday, so you'd think it wouldn't be that hard to connect Christ's care for his sheep with our own care for God's creation. I guess pastors that are aware will do so, but I'm disappointed that our Canadian liturgical resource ignores Earth Day altogether. I know, it's a secular occasion -- but the earth is a sacred trust that believers of all stripes could celebrate together in our worship, and my church is missing an important opportunity. Even in Monday's liturgy, on Earth Day proper (April 22), there is no special mention of or prayer for creation. St. Francis would not be amused.

For my readers, I offer a little bit of scripture to pray with this Earth Day, taken from chapters 42 and 43 of the book of Sirach. Have a Happy Earth Day, and don't forget to do good things for our little blue planet every day!

I will now call to mind the works of the Holy One,
    and will declare what I have seen.
By the word of God, creation was made;
    and all God’s creatures do God’s will.
How desirable are all God’s works,
    and how incredible they are to see!
 All these things live and remain forever;

    each creature is preserved to meet a particular need.
All things come in pairs, one opposite the other,
    and God has made nothing incomplete.
Each supplements the virtues of the other.
    Who could ever tire of seeing God’s glory?
The pride of the higher realms is the clear vault of the sky,
    as glorious to behold as the sight of the heavens.
The sun, when it appears, proclaims as it rises
    what a marvelous instrument it is, the work of the Most High.
At noon it parches the land,
    and who can withstand its burning heat?
One who tends a furnace works in burning heat,
    but three times as hot is the sun scorching the mountains;
it breathes out fiery vapors,
    and its bright rays blind the eyes.
Great is God who made it;
    at his orders it hurries on its course.
It is the moon that marks the changing seasons,
    governing the times, their everlasting sign.
From the moon comes the sign for festal days,
    a light that wanes when it completes its course.
The new moon, as its name suggests, renews itself;
    how marvelous it is in this change,
a beacon to the hosts on high,
    shining in the vault of the heavens!
 The glory of the stars is the beauty of heaven,
    a glittering array in the heights of God.
On the orders of the Holy One they stand in their appointed places;
    they never relax in their watches.
Look at the rainbow, and praise God who made it;
    it is exceedingly beautiful in its brightness.
It encircles the sky with its glorious arc;
    the hands of the Most High have stretched it out.

Thank you, God, for our beautiful earth, which you have made. Help us to respect and love it as we should.

1 comment:

  1. I love your St. Francis comment :) So true!

    We truly do have a wonderful planet. It inspires awe in me every single day. Happy Earth Day!


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