Worship Materials: Ecology, Caring for the Earth

From the Celebrating Mystery collection

THEME                 Protecting Our Mother.  Celebrating the Cosmos

THOUGHTS FOR REFLECTION

  1. The earth may be our mother but we can be her mid­wife or her funeral director.
  2. Nature is a web of interdependency not a series of separate hierarchical layers.
  3. An anthropocentric view of life i.e. viewing human beings as   separate from and over and above the rest of nature lies behind much of the ecological destruction that human beings have and are creating in this world.
  4. When we seek to capture the earth, its creatures or other human beings we take ourselves hostage.
  5. When we purchase a piece of land, we do not just buy a quantity of soil, we are gifted an ecosystem. Treat that system with reverence.
  6. A first step to rehabilitating our attitude to the earth would be to stop calling the earth “dirt” and thinking of it in terms of making us “dirty”.
  7. What we do to the earth we do to our spirits. For our spirits are the spirit of the earth.
  8. When the earth bleeds human beings die. So watch the rivers for the brown blood of Earth’s soil.
  9. The current rape of the earth springs from a diseased spirituality.
  10. The primary transaction is not between capital and labor but between human beings and nature.
  11. The balance sheet of the earth is even more important for our survival as human beings than the balance sheet of national or global economies.
  12. As the branches are linked to the vine, so we are bound together with all other living creatures in the love of God.
  13. To be at one with God is to be at one with the life-force of all that we call ‘living’ and of all that we call ‘non living’, since these are but two different expressions of the same life force, alternative forms of the same cosmic rhythm.
  14. When the trees of the woods shout for joy, do we hear their song, the song of creation (Psalm 96:12) or are we too busy calculating their economic value?
  15. Could the hills be the arms of the valleys raised in praise, the mists of the valleys be the tears of the earth?
  16. Our relationship with the earth should be organic and symbiotic rather than mechanical, hierarchical and parasitic.
  17. In order to save the earth we need cosmic sensitivity rather than ideological purity.
  18. When the halo of the person and the halo of the Cosmos merge then the radiance of the circle is restored
  19. Only those with sick minds would resort to killing their mother yet we are systematically killing Mother Earth.
  20. Earth’s mothering is the source of life for both our body and our spirit.
  21. Individualistic Capitalism as much as State Capitalism (Communism) is a one way trip to ecological hell.
  22. One of our false gods is a mobile one with four wheels and a gasoline tank.
  23. The wreath that surrounded the dead city was a rubber tyre and the incense stick a smoking exhaust!
  24. Life sings in the silence,
    Life grows from the dark,
    Life stirs in the stillness.
  25. Nature is becoming like a looted tomb. The shell remains but the body has gone.
  26. In exploiting the Earth we are endangering our children’s future for we are the future eaters and the great destroyers.
  27. The earth will be saved when accountancy becomes accountability.
  28. When we rape the earth we consign the children of the people of the land to oppression.
  29. Greening is not just an issue, it is a way of thinking and a way of life.
  30. The land is both our mother and our lover.
  31. Like the trees the human spirit that aspires to heaven must first be rooted in the earth.

 

PRAYERS

  1. O God who has placed us within the interwoven fabric of nature, help us to appreciate the beauty of your handiwork. Enable us to discern your artist’s hand and heart within the mountains and valleys, the rivers and the plains, the sea, the sky and vast array of plant and animal life which Earth sustains.
  2. O Divine Artist and Pain-bearer, open our hearts both to the destruction which we have inflicted upon nature and also to the pain which we have heaped upon your heart as its creator. Help us to weep with the fallen trees, mourn for exterminated species, be revolted by the rape of Earth itself and in so doing commit ourselves to the cause of promoting sustainable use of the world’s resources and the preservation of habitat for all earth’s plants and creatures.
  3. O God, source of all true humility, help us to abandon the notion that human beings are independent of the rest of nature and that nature alone exists for our benefit. Give us the courage to acknowledge that we are but part of a complex web in which our professed superiority over other creatures should lead us to become the advocates and helpmates of the less powerful members of Earth’s Community.

 

HYMNS

We are one with the creatures. (BL)

When skin becomes the surface of the earth. (BL)

From the womb of Mother Earth(BL)

The world within. (BL)

Who claims to own this piece of land. (BL)

All life’s many cycles. (BL)

Charge our hearts with wonder. (BL)

We give thanks for the plants. (An ecological grace.) (BL)

We are children of the Cosmos. (BL)

The cosmos in all its wonder. (BL)

When I am the earth. (BL)

Come let us think. (BL)

In nature as in Jesus. (BL)

 

This world is full of death and resurrection.

www.methodist.org.nz/resources/hymns/boundlesslife

Gift of the solar fire.

www.methodist.org.nz/resources/hymns/boundlesslife

Throughout this land.

www.methodist.org.nz/resources/hymns/boundlesslife

One justice for land and people.

http://www.methodist.org.nz/resources/hymns/the_mystery_telling

Sing of a sacred circle.

http://www.methodist.org.nz/resources/hymns/the_mystery_telling

All things of earth. (SE/MU)

We come from the Cosmos. (SE/MU)

 

Come join the cosmic family. (STS1)

Every plant reveals the cycles. (STS1)

Let the whole of the cosmos. (Benedicite)(STS2)

Spirit felt in raging waters. (STS2)

Singing the Sacred Vol 1 2011, Vol 2 2014 World Library Publications

SONG

I will walk the Circle of the Earth. (BL)

SONG FOR TEENS

All things are connected. (SYSJ)

RESPONSES & CHANTS.

May the fire in us. (BL)

Life for the creatures. (BL)

Thank you God. (BL)

We are one with the creatures. (BL)

 

POEMS

GREENING

One tree is not a forest

but one tree can make a forest

therefore take time

give yourself space

that your spirit may green

and flourish.

 

EARTH, AIR, FIRE AND WATER

The sound of the spirit is the wind,

the warmth of the spirit is the fire,

the healing of the spirit is the water,

the womb of the spirit is the earth

 

MAYBE

Maybe

when

the last river is dammed,

the last wilderness exploited,

the last forest tree felled,

the last swamp drained,

we will discover that the god

of individualism,

competition and

free enterprise is a Baal

but then

it will be

too late.

 

REGENERATION

Like fires

that cremated

irreplaceable

flora and fauna,

rage and guilt

burnt my heart

but cannot

rewrite history

until earth becomes our placenta

and this raped soil our tabernacle;

for liberation grows from the land,

nurturing from the womb of nature

and without beauty or feeling

justice and wisdom

are consumed

by those incinerating gods

Profit, Power and Paternalism.

 

I THINK I MAY HAVE KILLED

I think I may have killed that gecko in evicting if from “my” space. But who said that space was “my” space and not the gecko’s space? Is not all space “our” space for mutual sharing? Maybe “yes” maybe “no”. Certainly I do not want to share my intestinal space with some over zealous virus seeking to evangelize my innards and so distort my natural balance into some “one way” disequilibrium.

 

RUBBISH

Nature has no rubbish;

the so called ‘litter’

of fallen leaves

is the seedbed

of the forest’s

new life

 

THE CREATION COVENANT

Voice 1. The universe in its awesomeness, reflects the loving, dreaming and shaping of the Divine Artist, who looks upon what has been created, sees how good it is and celebrates its life.

Voice 2. Scripture affirms the value of human beings, within nature’s intertwining tapestry, for we who are formed from the cosmic dust, have the breath of God within us.

Voice 3. Each of us is Adam and Eve, responsible for nurturing the life and resources of this greening planet.

Voice 4. Each one of us like Noah and his wife, is entrusted with the survival of the species.

Voice 5. Each of us is called by God to nurture and protect this land’s sacred soil, water, vegetation and wildlife for generations yet unborn.

 

All:         WE COMMIT OURSELVES TO JOIN WITH YOU, O GOD

TO NURTURE THE PLANTS AND THE ANIMALS,

THE ELEMENTS,

THE SACRED WOMB OF SEA AND SOIL.

WE OFFER TO YOU,

OUR ABILITY TO CREATE AND

OUR POTENTIAL TO RELEASE

PEOPLE’S LOVING ENERGIES

FOR THE BENEFIT OF ALL CREATION.

WE SING WITH YOU THE SONG OF THE UNIVERSE!

WE DANCE WITH YOU THE DANCE OF LIFE!

WE ARE YOURS,

AND YOU IN US ARE HOPE

FOR THE RENEWING OF NATURE

THROUGH THE HEALING OF THE NATIONS.

MAY THIS LAND OF OURS BE BREAD AND WINE FOR US ALL.

 

FOCUS FOR ACTION

  1. What view of nature does our worship reflect?
    Is nature something which we only refer to on Special Sundays such as Harvest Festival, or is it the framework within which all liturgy, all worship occurs? In other words is our worship anthropocentric or Eco-centric?
  2. What is the particular environment I live in saying to me about Gospel values and the Christian Way?
    What are the appropriate images we should use if we are to return to the parabolic manner of teaching of Jesus: That is to say, how can the plant and animal life in our own area be used symbolically to illustrate the truth of the Gospel in the way that Jesus used the fig tree, the yeast and the mustard seed?
  3. Could we ask ourself what is the color of the soil of our spirit?
    Is it the same as the color of the soil of the land of our birth?

Celebrating Mystery Logo 

LOGO NOTE: At the heart of the mystery all the separate boxes disappear and all is one, all is love.

Text and graphic © William Livingstone Wallace but available for free use.

 

 

 

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