Earth Sunday is an opportunity for congregations to celebrate and study stewardship of the earth, and to praise and serve God by caring for creation.Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), USA
While Earth Day is set on 22 April, these creation-focused resources might be used throughout the year.
Earth Day resources from Justice Ministries of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) USA
God of all Creation, we come to you in a moment of personal and corporate confession.
We participate in a system which is exploitative and violent and which separates humanity from the rest of Creation.
By acts of omission and commission we cause harm to others.
At times we are guilty of complicity, passivity and denial, at other times of abuses of power.
We hear the cries of both our fellow humans, who are already living in the midst of extreme poverty and hunger,
and the cries of all Creation.
We know we bear responsibility for the pain of both, and we know the impact one has on the other.
We confess our complicity in the plight of all of your Creation, and beg your forgiveness and mercy,
that we may do better to follow the way of you who creates.
Have mercy on the rulers and statesmen who bear the ultimate burden of government.
Have mercy on our nation as we face our share of responsibility.
We recognize that we have allowed the values of consumerism to override the permanence of your Creation,
and cause us to act in ways that damage your Creation and wrap your children in the cycle of poverty.
Have mercy on us all and grant us your forgiveness.
Who planted the sun, the moon and stars in the heavens.
Who created earth, the amazing garden upon which we live.
Who loosened rocks into teeming, welcoming soil.
Who spreads the seeds of all life in the seas, land, and skies – the harvest of which fills our world with beasts that swim, crawl and fly.
Who choose to plant such a dazzling array of flora on the fields and the plains.
Who planted dense forests and open moorland.
Who orchestrates nourishment through clouds, thunder and rain.
Praise the architect of earth and heaven
In whose lush garden we stand today.
For use in personal or corporate devotion focused on creation, perhaps on Earth Day or Trinity Sunday (Year A of the Common Lectionary) when Genesis 1 is read.
Reflecting on the universe
You promised us the earth and you delivered.
You gave us a home – a dwelling of delight; a good place to be.
You gave it to us, saying, ‘Here. This is my gift to you. Live! Make it yours.’
We have made the world in our own image.
We have treated it like we do each other.
The earth needs saving.
26Then God said, “Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the wild animals of the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.”
27So God created humankind in God’s image, in the image of God they were created; male and female God created them.
28God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth.”
29God said, “See, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit; you shall have them for food. 30And to every beast of the earth, and to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.” And it was so.
31God saw everything that was made, and indeed, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.
1 O Lord, our Sovereign, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens.
2 Out of the mouths of babes and infants you have founded a bulwark because of your foes, to silence the enemy and the avenger.
3 When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars that you have established;
4 what are human beings that you are mindful of them, mortals that you care for them?
5 Yet you have made them a little lower than God, and crowned them with glory and honour.
6 You have given them dominion over the works of your hands; you have put all things under their feet,
7 all sheep and oxen, and also the beasts of the field,
8 the birds of the air, and the fish of the sea, whatever passes along the paths of the seas.
9 O Lord, our Sovereign, how majestic is your name in all the earth!
You made us gods in your own image;
gave us power and care of the earth.
But we are slave-takers, God of Freedom.
We have become the Pharaohs of creation and chained the earth to our own self-destruction.
We whisper our fear as a prayer:
‘O God! What have we done?
Is it too late?’
Glory to you, God of creation!
The heavens are the works of your hand.
Infinite galaxies – suns and moons and planets – praise you.
Shooting stars celebrate your beauty.
Black holes proclaim your mystery.
The earth is the work of your hand – your Word made matter.
Mountains declare your grandeur.
Rivers and seas gurgle and thunder your praise.
Trees lift their arms in worship.
Flowers and plants declare your richness.
The earth and water teem with your Life.
And we, your children, mirror your infinite variety.
God of the Universe, glory to you!
Pause before the prayer, allowing God’s Spirit to search your heart. Make your own confession. Pause after the prayer to experience the reality of God’s forgiveness.
What are we mortals that we deserve our time and all future time just for today?
What have we done to demand that our grandchildren’s inheritance ought to nourish us now?
What pretensions to power give us the right to trash the planet; to pass sentence of death on Life itself?
Burst my bubble, Sovereign One. I am dust with delusions of divinity.
Re-make me in your image that I may be, with you, a co-creator of Life rather than an architect of death.
Read the prayers aloud. At each point, pause to reflect and fill in the names of places and people as appropriate.
I pray for your world, O God, that its beauty might be preserved, its variety maintained, its integrity respected.
That pollution and exploitation might cease so that rivers can clap their hands, waste places burst into flower, mountains and hills rejoice, and wild animals live in safety.
That our children of tomorrow will not need a museum to show them the wonders of today.
That they will know the birds, the harvest, the lilies, the sunset in all their beauty.
Convert the hearts of those who ravage the earth.
Strengthen the resolve of those who respect it.
May their voices be heard, their warnings heeded, their example emulated.
Save us from our own destructiveness. Curb our selfishness.
This earth is your gift to us; our children’s future.
Prevent us from destroying what is not our own.
(Based on Evening Liturgy D, A Wee Worship Book, WGWG)
Bless us, Creator of the Universe, with the sun that warms us, the moon above us, the earth beneath us, your image within us, the day that is before us.
we pray for a new spirit of care
to branch out across the earth,
that all nations might act for your creation
in silencing the roar of the chainsaw
in extinguishing the burning of the forests
in purging the pollution of the air
in conserving valuable energy
in stemming the tide of pollution
that our destruction may be transformed
into the spring of new life
We pray for the well being of all creation
in this and future generations.
we know that life will not be saved by signing papers,
but by responsible actions.
Help us each to make our contribution to the future of your world.
David, Moderator of the National Synod of Scotland in the United Reformed Church, wrote this prayer for the Earth Summit, June 1992.
Photo: Colorado waters, Thandiwe Dale-Ferguson
Creator of the Universe,
Lover of all that you make,
We thank you for this marvellous world
Which you have given us for our home.
Help us to show our gratitude
As much by our lives as by our words.
We acknowledge that so often
Our best efforts are tinged with greed,
The desire for more and different things;
And, at our worst we wholly disregard
The needs of others in this world.
Our greed is nothing less than theft
From those who have no power against us –
People, animals and nature’s store.
So much we once have done in ignorance;
In these days we have no excuse.
Continue, Lord, to open our eyes
To the enormity of our deeds,
And our hearts to the suffering and despoiling
Which those deeds have caused.
We ask forgiveness, Lord, from you;
From the children, women and men
Whose hurts have come from us;
And from every animal, plant and rock,
The skies above and the good earth itself,
Which nourishes and sustains us all.
By the power of your Spirit
May we change the way we live,
And follow again your path of healing,
Creator of the Universe,
And Lover of all that you make.
Joyce Dent is a member of the Andover United Reformed Church in Andover, Hampshire UK. Joyce has encouraged the Andover Church to an active Eco-Church.
We gently caress you, the Earth, our planet and our home.
Our vision has brought us closer to you, making us aware of the harm we have done to the life-network upon which we ourselves depend.
We are reminded that we have poisoned your waters, your lands, your air.
We have filled you with the bones of our dead from war and greed.
Your pain is our pain.
Touching you gently, we pray that we may become peace-bringers and life-bringers so that our home in its journey around the Sun not become a sterile and lonely place.
May this prayer and its power last forever.
This prayer was used in an interfaith activity sponsored by the Medway Inter Faith Action group, Kent, United Kingdom.
Created by Sensei Ulrich of the Manitoba Buddhist Temple, Canada.
This worship service has been designed for use in the planting season and can be used for an Earth Day celebration. Click here for the complete service.
Originally posted on Godspace
God bless this garden
Through which your glory shines
May we see in its beauty the wonder of your love
God bless the soil
Rich and teeming with life
May we see in its fertility the promise of new creation
God bless our toil
As we dig deep to turn the soil
May we see in our labour your call to be good stewards
God bless each seed
That takes root and grows
May we see in their flourishing the hope of transformation
God bless the rains
That water our efforts to bring forth life
May we see in their constancy God’s faithful care
God bless the harvest
Abundant and bountiful in season
May we see in God’s generosity our need to share
God bless this garden
As you bless all creation with your love
May we see in its glory your awesome majesty
A service for Earth Sunday or Season of Creation
A worship experience focusing on Eco-justice Impacts and Opportunities
Many of us have similar Sunday morning routines. They include tasks we hardly think about, like turning on a light, taking a shower, and eating breakfast. Yet, our routine actions impact people and places around the world, often contributing to environmental degradation, hunger, poverty, and chronic illness. We can help bring healing to God’s people and God’s earth by examining our routines and changing our habits to live more simply and sustainably. In doing so, we respond to Jesus’ call to feed the hungry, give water to the thirsty, and care for the sick (Matt 25:34-45).
Creator God, we give you thanks for the great abundance and nourishment that you provide us through your Creation and through your great love. As we come together to worship you, reveal to us ways we can honour you and your created world. Inspire our worship and shape our lives to reveal your magnificence. Amen.
Call To Worship
One: Morning has broken!
Many: We gather to greet the new day by praising God.
One: God created us for relationship with God, one another, and the earth.
Many: Let us honour those relationships today and every day.
One: We seek to care for our brothers and sisters around the world and to God’s good Creation.
Many: Let us honour those relationships today and every day.
One: May we commit to new ways of honoring your Creation as a means of sharing Jesus’ transforming love,
Many: And let us seek God’s grace, justice and mercy for all.
Prayer of Confession
Gracious God, forgive us for the ways in which we contribute to the disfigurement and destruction of your Creation. Transform our hearts and minds, that we may place the welfare of your earth and your people before our fleeting desires. Embolden us to give voice to the voiceless in our communities and ecosystems, and grant us divine wisdom that we may replace systems of destruction and oppression with systems of justice and sustainability. Amen.
Suggested Scripture Reading
The spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me; he has sent me to bring good news to the oppressed, to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and release to the prisoners.
* Sending Forth
May we live mindfully through our days, praying for and working on behalf of all whose lives are impacted by our own. Go forth to share the light of Christ with all of Creation. Amen.
*Inspired by the 2012 Encyclical Letter written by the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople.
The National Council of Churches USA Eco-Justice Program develops Earth Day Sunday materials each year to help congregations celebrate and care for God’s Creation. For additional Earth Day resources and eco-justice worship service suggestions visit www.nccecojustice.org.
The Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) USA is a movement for wholeness in a fragmented world. Out of our call to “do justice” (Micah 6.8), we strive to demonstrate the fullness of God’s shalom through living out our faith by caring for God’s creation. From Hawaii and Washington to Virginia and Florida, and everywhere in between, Disciples congregations are caring for creation in unique and inspiring ways. Earth Sunday is an opportunity for Disciples’ congregations to celebrate and study stewardship of the earth, and to praise and serve God by caring for creation. Click here to explore more resources.