Prayers for Creation

20th January 2023

Trust in the Lord and be doing good; dwell in the land and be nourished with truth.
 Let your delight be in the Lord and he will give you your heart’s desire.
Psalm 37:3-4

You Lord are the bread of life;

feed us with your wisdom.

Our meat is to do the Father’s  will;

guide us in all we do

Whenever we eat or drink

Let it be to the glory of God.

A reading from Matthew 25: 34-36 (The Message)

“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Enter, you who are blessed by my Father! Take what’s coming to you in this kingdom. It’s been ready for you since the world’s foundation. And here’s why:

I was hungry and you fed me,
I was thirsty and you gave me a drink,
I was homeless and you gave me a room,
I was shivering and you gave me clothes,
I was sick and you stopped to visit,
I was in prison and you came to me.’” 


A canticle:
My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord,
my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour; •
he has looked with favour on his lowly servant.

Praise to you O God, for the rich creation of this world 

for which you have created humans to be the gardeners.

From this day all generations will call me blessed; •
the Almighty has done great things for me
and holy is his name.

You have blessed us with fruit bearing trees and plants, 

ensuring food throughout the seasons.

He has mercy on those who fear him, •
from generation to generation.

Your wisdom guides those who, in each generation, 

are honest and humble enough to seek it.

He has shown strength with his arm •
and has scattered the proud in their conceit,

Yet each generation sees the damage 

caused when there are those who disdain your will. 

Casting down the mighty from their thrones •
and lifting up the lowly.

Raise the spirits of those who work at the grassroots, 

give them strength to overcome the deceits of big business.

He has filled the hungry with good things •
and sent the rich away empty.

Bless the work of food banks and charities that feed the hunger, 

and teach those with wealth to be sacrificial in their giving.

He has come to the aid of his servant Israel, •
to remember his promise of mercy,

Help nations and communities to work together

for justice and for peace. 

The promise made to our ancestors, •
to Abraham and his children for ever.

May generations to come reap the harvest,

not of our greed, but of your grace .

Amen.

Trust in the Lord and be doing good; dwell in the land and be nourished with truth.
 Let your delight be in the Lord and he will give you your heart’s desire.
Psalm 37:3-4

Counting on …day 1:020

20th January 2023

Cut food waste! A third of all the world’s food goes to waste and adding up the waste of resources in producing and transporting food that ultimately goes to waste plus the carbon footprint the food that then goes onto rot, accounts for about 8% of global emissions. 

Here in the UK households throw away 4.5 million tonnes of edible food every year.

For more information – 

https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20200224-how-cutting-your-food-waste-can-help-the-climate

Counting on…1:019

19th January 2023

Eating seasonally avoids the need to import blueberries from Peru, grapes from South Africa, green beans from Kenya, avocados from Mexico -and such items usually come by air. Eating seasonally allows us to support local growers of produce and to enjoy a greater variety of fruit and vegetables. Seasonal produce is often only available for  a short time span which is why it may not be stocked by supermarkets who favour the simplicity of produce that is available all year round. Eating seasonally means we can look forward to certain delights – Seville oranges in January  Jerusalem artichokes in late winter, forced rhubarb (also late winter), watercress in the spring, asparagus in June, discovery apples in July, cob nuts in the autumn and so on.
Eating seasonally helps improve biodiversity and encourages the growing of heritage crops.

Counting on…1:018

18th January 2023

In September Oxfam runs a Second Hand September campaign, but you don’t have to wait till then to check out your local charity shops. January is often when people are having a clear out or passing on unwanted gifts. You may find just the things you were looking for – it will stop something going to landfill, support and worthy cause, and give you lots of pleasure!

As a follow on you might like to sign Transform Trade’s (previously known as Traidcraft) calling for a fashion watchdog to ensure better accountability in the fashion trade.

Counting on ….day 1:017

17th January 2023

Clothes and the fashion industry contributes about 10% of all global carbon emissions. These stem from the production of synthetic materials as well as the large footprint of growing cotton; shipping and manufacturing; and the trend towards fast fashion. People buy more clothes than ever but wear them less often. Barely worn clothes plus a large number of unworn clothes (those that have overnight become unfashionable) end up in landfill. With cheaply made clothes, replacement is cheaper than repair. As clothes are often made from a mixture of different material types, recycling is not straightforward and can be expensive. 

But change can and is happening. Buying clothes that are made to last, maintaining and repairing clothes, rewearing or swopping clothes, buying from vintage and second hand sources, altering and adapting clothes to new circumstance, all helps to reduce the carbon  – and environmental- footprint of what we wear. 

I still wear a skirt that was my mother’s, a kilt which was second hand when I had it as a child, and my wedding dress (for dances not weddings!)

For more information –

 https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20211105-how-carbon-might-go-out-of-fashion https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2020/01/fashion-industry-carbon-unsustainable-environment-pollution/

Counting on …. day 1:016

16th January 2023

The things we use around our homes, particularly appliances and electrical equipment, all come with a carbon footprint both in their manufacture and in their use. When we buy new ones we can get information as to how energy efficient they are in use. We can information from the Ethical  Consumer, Which guides etc as to how ethically they have been made ( for example the sourcing of raw materials,  pay and working conditions of employees etc), and about the longevity and repairability of the item. The longer lived an item is the better use it makes of resources.   When considering energy use of items, we may opt for a manual rather than an electric version – eg a hand worked coffee grinder, a hand whisk etc. 

For further thoughts – https://greentau.org/2021/09/10/the-green-tau-issue-16/

Epiphany: Baptism of Jesus

15th January 2023

Reflection (readings below)

The Gospel story today is full of drama. Be amazed! Be in awe! This is an epiphany moment – the breaking of the true nature and identity of Jesus. In this moment earth and heaven are in perfect communion. Jesus is anointed with the Holy Spirit. Jesus is openly declared to be the Chosen One, the very unique and beloved Son of God. 

This is the chosen servant imagined in the words of Isaiah. This Chosen One would be as a covenant to the peoples, through whom salvation will be accomplished. Isaiah and the other prophets were all clear in their messages that salvation required justice. Salvation would be achieved through that justice that brings  healing for sick, sight to the blind, release for  prisoners and those trapped in darkness. 

I think that we and the churches too easily forget the importance of seeking justice – perhaps because  we can’t quite imagine how we can do this. Looking around our world there seems to be so much injustice. We only have to open our newspapers or turn on the television, to know that even in our own relatively affluent country, there are people who cannot afford to both eat and heat their homes; that there are people in employment who have to rely on food banks – and that includes nurses and teaching staff. We might have to read a little further and we would discover people who can either find an NHS dentist nor afford private treatment, farmers who cannot make a profit growing the food we eat, or people locked up 23 hours of the day because the prison system cannot afford sufficient staff.  

How indeed can we bring about justice in these situations? We can – as many churches do – support food banks. We can – as many of us do – donate winter fuel allowances to help run warm hubs. But justice needs more – system change. Change that will build in rather than exclude justice. Change that will equality and fairness the touch stone. Change that will always protect the vulnerable.

No one says that such change is easy to bring about. It can take  time and perseverance – something Isaiah clearly recognised. It will involve the transformation of the many systems that control our economic and social lives. Such change happens when opinions change, when tipping points are reached. The change often begins at the grass root level, and then grows. As Christians and church communities, we can call out and highlight injustice where we see it. We write to our bishops and our MPs and ask for change. We can be fact finders and information spreaders, ensuring that the truth about injustices and the need for justice becomes widespread. We can become campaigners and activists! We can, as St Paul, says be preachers of the Gospel –  empowering the good news of justice that underpins salvation and following the example of Jesus, God’s Chosen One. This is an awesome calling!

Isaiah 42:1-9

Here is my servant, whom I uphold,
my chosen, in whom my soul delights;

I have put my spirit upon him;
he will bring forth justice to the nations.

He will not cry or lift up his voice,
or make it heard in the street;

a bruised reed he will not break,
and a dimly burning wick he will not quench;
he will faithfully bring forth justice.

He will not grow faint or be crushed
until he has established justice in the earth;
and the coastlands wait for his teaching.

Thus says God, the Lord,
who created the heavens and stretched them out,
who spread out the earth and what comes from it,

who gives breath to the people upon it
and spirit to those who walk in it:

I am the Lord, I have called you in righteousness,
I have taken you by the hand and kept you;

I have given you as a covenant to the people,
a light to the nations,
to open the eyes that are blind,

to bring out the prisoners from the dungeon,
from the prison those who sit in darkness.

I am the Lord, that is my name;
my glory I give to no other,
nor my praise to idols.

See, the former things have come to pass,
and new things I now declare;

before they spring forth,
I tell you of them.

Psalm 29

1 Ascribe to the Lord, you gods, *
ascribe to the Lord glory and strength.

2 Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his Name; *
worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness.

3 The voice of the Lord is upon the waters;
the God of glory thunders; *
the Lord is upon the mighty waters.

4 The voice of the Lord is a powerful voice; *
the voice of the Lord is a voice of splendour.

5 The voice of the Lord breaks the cedar trees; *
the Lord breaks the cedars of Lebanon;

6 He makes Lebanon skip like a calf, *
and Mount Hermon like a young wild ox.

7 The voice of the Lord splits the flames of fire;
the voice of the Lord shakes the wilderness; *
the Lord shakes the wilderness of Kadesh.

8 The voice of the Lord makes the oak trees writhe *
and strips the forests bare.

9 And in the temple of the Lord *
all are crying, “Glory!”

10 The Lord sits enthroned above the flood; *
the Lord sits enthroned as King for evermore.

11 The Lord shall give strength to his people; *
the Lord shall give his people the blessing of peace.

Acts 10:34-43

Peter began to speak to them: “I truly understand that God shows no partiality, but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him. You know the message he sent to the people of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ–he is Lord of all. That message spread throughout Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John announced: how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power; how he went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him. We are witnesses to all that he did both in Judea and in Jerusalem. They put him to death by hanging him on a tree; but God raised him on the third day and allowed him to appear, not to all the people but to us who were chosen by God as witnesses, and who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one ordained by God as judge of the living and the dead. All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.”

Matthew 3:13-17

Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan, to be baptised by him. John would have prevented him, saying, “I need to be baptised by you, and do you come to me?” But Jesus answered him, “Let it be so now; for it is proper for us in this way to fulfil all righteousness.” Then he consented. And when Jesus had been baptised, just as he came up from the water, suddenly the heavens were opened to him and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased.”

Counting on…day 1:014

14th January 2023

How we get from A to B has a significant impact on our carbon footprint. This chart shows the relative carbon footprint of different modes of transport.

For further details see their full report – https://ourworldindata.org/travel-carbon-footprint 

Additional thoughts – https://greentau.org/2021/08/21/green-tau-issue-13/

Counting on … day 1:013

13th January 2023

As we switch from being a fossil fuel society to renewable energy supplier, both we domestically and commercial energy suppliers will increasingly be producing and/ or using green electricity. You can already become part of this change – and thus be active in reducing your carbon footprint – by switching to a green energy supplier. Ethical Consumer recommends Ecotricity, Good Energy and Green Energy UK as the most sustainable green energy suppliers. 

Prayer for Creation

Friday 13th January 2023

Trust in the Lord and be doing good; dwell in the land and be nourished with truth.
 Let your delight be in the Lord and he will give you your heart’s desire.
Commit your way to the Lord and put your trust in him, and he will bring it to pass. Psalm 37:3-5

You Lord are the bread of life;

feed us with your wisdom.

Our meat is to do the Father’s  will.

guide us in all we do

Whenever we eat or drink

Let it be to the glory of God.

Reading Mark 6: 38-44 ( from The Message)

But he was quite serious. “How many loaves of bread do you have? Take an inventory.”

That didn’t take long. “Five,” they said, “plus two fish.”

 Jesus got them all to sit down in groups of fifty or a hundred—they looked like a patchwork quilt of wildflowers spread out on the green grass! He took the five loaves and two fish, lifted his face to heaven in prayer, blessed, broke, and gave the bread to the disciples, and the disciples in turn gave it to the people. He did the same with the fish. They all ate their fill. The disciples gathered twelve baskets of leftovers. More than five thousand were at the supper.  

Table Piece

Around the table, smallest to largest, 

youngest to oldest – comfortable and companionable.

Bread, first mixed and kneaded, 

shared together at the table.

Wisdom, debated and pondered,

gathered from around the table. 

Gentle chiding, loving acceptance, laughter –

differences reconciled at the table.

Thanks given, prayers said, hands clasped 

a place of worship at the table.

Kith and kin, friends – all welcome: love 

a community built around the table.

Prayers

We give thanks O Lord, for the food we have to eat, 

for the opportunities we have to eat together, 

for the times we gather to share and  learn together, 

and for the joy of worshipping at your table. 

We pray Lord, for all who struggle to get food to eat, 

all who lack the companionship of friends and family, 

all who are exploited and all who are fall prey to disinformation, 

and for all who have yet to feel included at you table. 

Stir us Lord, to respond with generosity and determination 

to feed the hungry, 

to transform the inequalities of society, 

to reach out to those starved of love,

and to nourish all with your word.

Amen.