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Celebrating the Presence of God

Liturgy for a Season Celebrating the Presence of God in His Created World

John Schimminger, St. John’s-Grace Episcopal Church, Buffalo, New York

September 9, 2006

Collect 1 (use for 1 or 2 weeks)
O God, you are the creator and the very breath of all creation. You have created all, seen all and declared all that you have created to be good. Now we pray to you: breathe upon us again, giving us the wisdom to see your face in every flower, in every mountain, in every creature of the sea, the land and the air, in every molecule and every galaxy, in every storm and every sunset, in the Earth which sustains our life, and in every human being. Amen.

Collect 2 (use for 1 or 2 weeks)
O God, you are our Mother and our Father: creating us, nurturing us, teaching us, inspiring us, defending us, raising us up, sending us out, restoring us when we fall, sustaining us with your love and endowing us with the Earth’s abundance. Grant us always your wisdom and strength so that we may grow into our inheritance as your children and faithful stewards of your creation. Amen.

Collect 3 (use for 1 or 2 weeks)
O great God of all creation, you have created us, humanity, and you have given us power greater than any other of your creatures. You have given us a share in shaping the future of your creation itself. We know that you have done this in your infinite wisdom, though we have time and again failed to show wisdom in our use of this power. Deliver us, O God, from our arrogance, from our selfishness, from our ignorance, from our ingratitude. Open our eyes and our hearts to your will for the salvation of all your creatures. Open our eyes and our hearts to a clearer understanding of the work you have given us to do in continuing your great enterprise of creation. Help us to grow into our inheritance as your children and show us the way to being good stewards of your precious Earth. Amen


Prayers of the People

Let us pray to the Lord, the God of all creation, saying, “Open our eyes and our hearts.”

O God, bless the whole of your creation, the immensity of which confounds our imagination. Create in us the capacity for wonder that we may more fully comprehend the holiness of your natural world. Grant us true humility that we may have compassion for every creature you have made.

Open our eyes and our hearts.

Bless all your people throughout the Earth, in every community and nation. Give us the vision to recognize that we are one race and one species, and one only among your numberless creations.

Open our eyes and our hearts.

Bless our Bishops Rowan, Frank (or Katharine) and Michael, all ministers of the church, both clergy and lay people, and all in this gathering today. Help us all to discern our role in your creative work and to undertake our unique ministries within the community of God.

Open our eyes and our hearts.

Bless the Earth with your abundance; with good will among all nations; with civil, political, social and economic justice; and with peace for all peoples of the world. Give us the vision and the will to share the Earth’s abundance fairly with all people, to find and follow the paths of peace.

Open our eyes and our hearts.

Bless the poor, the sick, the hungry, the oppressed, and those in prison. Give us the strength and courage to work for the relief of suffering wherever we find it.

Open our eyes and our hearts.

Bless all those who yearn for meaning and purpose, love and compassion, whether they call these by the name of God or by another name. Give us the humility and the inspiration that we need, that we may  be the incarnation of your love in our actions toward all members of the fellowship of being, both human and nonhuman.

Open our eyes and our hearts.

Bless the lives and good deeds of all who have departed from us in death, especially _____________________. Grant us both the wisdom to remember the lessons they have taught us and the strength to carry on their good works.

Open our eyes and our hearts.

Bless those friends and family members experiencing sickness or other troubles whom we hold within our hearts today, especially _______________________. Help us to remember that it is only in ministering to others that we can truly show our love for you.

Open our eyes and our hearts.

Bless those whose birthdays and anniversaries we celebrate this week, especially ______________________. Help us to remember that in celebrating each other we become closer to you.

Open our eyes and our hearts.

O God the Creator of all, the Spirit of all, the Healer of all, your kingdom and power and glory shall be forever and ever.



Confession of Sin

O God of compassion and love, you have given humanity power beyond that of any other creature. But in our brokenness we have often failed to be good stewards of that which you have given into our care. You have shown us your endless generosity and power in providing to us the many resources of the Earth. But in our spiritual blindness we experience fear and insecurity in the face of this abundance. We struggle to follow your ways of generosity and compassion, but we often lose our way, falling into the sins of greed, gluttony, arrogance, wastefulness, tribalism, racism, classism, nationalism, and other forms of bigotry, deceit, theft, neglect, pollution, wanton destruction, even murder and war – all out of blindness and fear. We forget that the world is yours, and there is more than enough for all.

We neglect the poor, the sick, the old, the dying, the oppressed, the imprisoned – or we allow those in power to neglect them without raising our voices. And we allow the continued abuse of your natural world in order to serve our unholy appetite for ever more acquisition and consumption.

We look upon our failures and our brokenness and regret them. We repent and resolve to take up again our task of caring for your world and all its creatures, including our fellow human beings.

In the name of Jesus the Christ, who has shown us the way of justice and compassion, look kindly upon us and forgive us. Crack open our hearts, O God, and fill them with your spirit, that we may become the face of your compassion in the world. Amen.


The Great Thanksgiving

It is right and a good and joyful thing to give thanks to you always, Creator God, because you have made the world in all its magnificence and abundance. You have given humanity power and responsibility over the Earth, and you have shown us through the incarnation of your love in Jesus Christ the way of reconciliation through faith and compassion.

Therefore we praise you, joining our voices with angels and archangels, with all the company of the heavens, and with all the creatures of the Earth, who forever sing their hymns to proclaim the glory of your name:



The Eucharistic Prayer

O God our Creator, out of nothing but yourself — your Love, your Word, your Breath — you have made the natural world of which we are a part. You are yourself the Wisdom within the natural world. You created the cosmic forces, the energy and the matter of the universe: atoms, molecules, gases, stars and galaxies. In days made out of eons you condensed the Earth from solar dust, cooled it, carved out its oceans, continents, mountains, valleys, plains and plateaus, and brought together the elements of life. Over days made out of ages you brought forth the many species of life upon the Earth: microbes and plants, fishes, insects, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals. Among them you created humankind, endowing us with self-awareness and making us partners in the unfolding of creation.

But we were overwhelmed by our own powers. Our wisdom was insufficient to control our appetites, and we began to despoil the Earth and abuse each other out of fear and greed.

Yet in the fullness of your time you sent into the world the embodiment of your Love in humanity, Jesus of Nazareth, the Messiah, the Christ, who showed us the Way which leads to the reconciliation of all things: the Way of love, compassion, justice, forgiveness and peace.

On the night before he was handed over to suffering and death, he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples saying, “Take, eat: This is my body which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”

After supper he took the cup of wine and, when he had given thanks, he gave it to them and said, “Drink this, all of you: This is my blood of the new covenant, which is shed for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins. Whenever you drink it, do this for the remembrance of me.”

Therefore we proclaim the mystery of faith:

Christ has died.

Christ is with us always.

Christ will come again.

In this sacred rite of praise and thanksgiving we celebrate, O God, the saving work of Jesus by which he has shown us the path of reconciliation. Recalling his life, teaching, death, resurrection and ascension, we offer you these gifts of bread and wine. Breathe upon them now, sanctifying them to be for your people the very presence of your Love in flesh and blood, the holy food and drink of reconciliation with ourselves, each other and your whole creation. And breathe your Spirit into us so that, having partaken of this sacramental meal in faith, we may serve you in unity, constancy, and peace, and may dwell now and always in the joy of your everlasting kingdom.

All this we ask through the Christ, who is the human and cosmic incarnation of your Love.

By Christ, and with Christ, and in Christ, in the unity of your Holy Spirit all honor and glory are yours, Creator God, now and forever. Amen.


Post Communion Prayer

Eternal God, Creator of the world, Mother and Father of humanity, hear us now. You have graciously invited us to be partners in your ongoing work of creation. Through the teaching and example of Jesus you have shown us the way to overcome our fears and to be reconciled to ourselves, one another and your whole creation. And you have fed us with spiritual food in this sacrament of unity. Send us now into your world in peace, and grant us strength and courage to love and serve you, embracing the world with the fullness of your compassion, in the name of the Christ. Amen.


The Blessing

Now may the Peace of God, which passes all understanding, fill our hearts. And may our eyes be opened to the holiness and abundance of his created world. And may the blessing of God who has breathed life into the world, God who is the wisdom within nature, God who is the way of reconciliation, enfold us and remain with us this day and forevermore. Amen.

Topics: Worship & Liturgy. 8 Points: Point 4: Act As We Believe and Point 7: Integrity of the Earth. Seasons & Special Events: Earth Day. Rituals: Communion. Resource Types: Full Service Liturgies.

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