Prayers for Creation

 9th September 2022

For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea. Habakkuk 2:14

You Lord, are the source of all good things: 

We praise you.

You call us to tend and care for your creation: 

May we strive to do your will.

You have made us as brothers and sisters with all that lives: 

May we live together in peace.

A reading from Genesis 1:1-2, 9-10, 20, 31

In the beginning when God created[a] the heavens and the earth,  the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep, while a wind from God swept over the face of the waters. And God said, ‘Let the waters under the sky be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear.’ And it was so. God called the dry land Earth, and the waters that were gathered together he called Seas. And God saw that it was good. And God said, ‘Let the waters bring forth swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the dome of the sky.’ God saw everything that he had made, and indeed, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.


As the oceans encompass the earth, 

so the Lord’s love encompasses creation.

As the seas fill the depths, 

so the Lord’s love fills the hearts of all.

As the waves constantly wash upon the shore, 

so the Lord’s love constantly washes upon our souls.

As the oceans are home to many creatures, 

so the Lord creates a home for every living thing. 

As the seas produces a rich harvest, 

so the Lord provides food so that all may eat. 

As the waves embody the energy of the sun and wind, 

so the Lord energises the world.

More than the sounds of many waters, than the mighty breakers of the sea, the Lord on high is mighty. Psalm 93:4

Prayers for Creation 

Friday 22nd July 2022

And the Lord God brought forth of the ground all manner of trees, fair to behold, and pleasant to eat. Genesis 2:9

You Lord, are the source of all good things: 

We praise you.

You call us to tend and care for your creation: 

May we strive to do your will.

You have made us as brothers and sisters with all that lives: 

May we live together in peace.

A reading based on an idea by Jesus as recorded in Luke’s gospel. 

There once was a sojourner who going about their daily business, was beset by disaster upon disaster: floods and drought, heatwaves and colds snaps, hunger and thirst. Politicians, as they passed, turned to look the other way. Church leaders buried their noses in their prayer books. The wealthy found money a quick way out. 

Yet  in the midst of it all, were the trees. They kept on breathing in carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen; they even helped clean the air of pollutants. They collected rain with leaves to slow its fall, and collected more between their roots, reducing the risk of flooding. Their leaves provided shade and as they released moisture, so they cooled the air. They caught energy from the sun and turned it into useful materials, food and even medicines. They welcomed other visitors, fauna and flora. They offered green spaces that calmed the anxious and the weary. 

Who was the good neighbour to the sojourner?

Holy God, 

we have not loved our neighbours as ourselves. 

We have ignored the plight of others. 

We have not stood in solidarity with those who need help. 

Rather we have spurned those who are our neighbours.

We have cut them down in their prime.

We have cut away at their roots 

and have poisoned their lifeblood. 

Have mercy.

Have mercy,.

Heal us and have mercy. 

A reading Leviticus 23:39-41 (The Message) 

On the fifteenth day of the seventh month, after you have brought your crops in from your fields, celebrate the Feast of God for seven days. The first day is a complete rest and the eighth day is a complete rest. On the first day, pick the best fruit from the best trees; take fronds of palm trees and branches of leafy trees and from willows by the brook and celebrate in the presence of your God for seven days—yes, for seven full days celebrate it as a festival to God. Every year from now on, celebrate it in the seventh month.

God of the oak and the tamarisk, we praise you.

God of the palm tree and the olive, we praise you.

God of the fig tree and the vine, we praise you.

God of the cedar and the myrtle, we praise you.

For the wonder and beauty of trees, we praise you.

For leaves and shade, for seeds and fruit, we praise you.

For rootedness and stability, we praise you.

For maturity and heritage, we praise you.

For carbon absorbed and oxygen released, we praise you.

For community and interconnectedness, we praise you.

God of wisdom, 

teach us to understand and value 

the world you have created. 

Teach us to recognise that what you create is one family, 

that all its people, its plants and creatures, 

are our brothers and sisters.   

Teach us to love them as our neighbours, 

and give us the grace 

to receive the love they bestow on us. 

Amen.

The Lord’s Prayer 

Proper 7: 

19 June 2022

Reflection 

We may not believe in demonic forces nowadays but we are certainly aware that there are many  things that have an unhealthy level of control over our lives. Social media, diets, cars, pollution, throw away convenience, anxiety, fashion, alcohol, gambling, climate change, elitism, poverty, oil, tax evasion, futures markets, housing costs, racism, low wages, depression – the list goes on. For all our progress, life is still tough for many people. 

It was to such people, those who were finding life tough, those on the edge of society, the sick and the vulnerable, that Jesus brought his message of good news, of salvation. Here in today’s gospel we have just such an encounter. Jesus is able to break through the barriers that have prevented Legion from communicating with his fellow countrymen. He has been able to get to heart of Legion’s problem and together they removed the burden, the barrier of his illness. Jesus stays with him until others come who will continue the healing process, reintegrating Legion back into the community. Jesus leaves Legion with a task, a reason to carry on. 

The reading from Isaiah describes the frustrations of a prophet trying to speak to a ‘rebellious people’ – by which I think is meant people who rebel against God’s ways. The passage tells how these people are living their lives, with the traditions and routines of their daily life that keep or distract them from God, things that entrap them, snaring them in unholiness.  (The effects of these entrapments are probably not much different from those things blight our daily lives). Yet the prophet’s persistence – a persistence that comes as a gift or a power from God – reflects God’s ongoing concern and desire that the all humans should be encouraged and enabled to live according to God’s values, and that creation should be healed and humanity restored to its right mind. The last few lines add a measure of hope, that there will be found sufficient goodness in humankind to achieve God’s vision for the world. 

Who are our prophets today? Are they people like David Attenborough and Greta Thunberg, George Monbiot and Jack Munro? Are they groups like Extinction Rebellion? Groups like Amnesty, 38 Degrees, and  The Trussel Trust? Do we take time to listen to their messages, to measure and explore what is being said, to discern where God’s will may lie? Equally are we ready to hear God’s message, are we able set aside some of the barriers that trap us and weigh us down? Like Legion can we break free from our past and find renewal and healing?

Paul, writing to Galatians, remind us that for all of us our baptism represents a new beginning, a fresh start. In baptism we are all one – baptism is the ultimate In levelling up! What ever our past, where ever we have come from and however we have come – raised and bred as part of the establishment, or refugee fleeing a hostile environment, someone who has pulled themselves up by their boot straps or someone who has never managed to hold down a job – we are all equal as ‘children of God’. Like Legion, our restoration is shown in that we have all been clothed with Christ. And, like Legion, we are all commissioned to spread the Good News of Jesus Christ to our own communities.

As we look around the world – like the prophet Isaiah – we see the threats and obstacles that block the freedom of life: heat waves that are keeping one third of US citizens confined to their homes; 7.1 million people displaced by fighting in Ukraine; a third of people in Sudan facing starvation; 3.9 million children living in poverty in the UK; half the population of Chile living with water shortages. Are we sufficiently enraged as Christians, sufficiently enraged as were the prophets, sufficiently enraged as humans, to stand up and say this is not how God wants the world to be? How are we to bring Good News to our communities and to the world?

Isaiah 65:1-9

I was ready to be sought out by those who did not ask,
to be found by those who did not seek me.

I said, “Here I am, here I am,”
to a nation that did not call on my name.

I held out my hands all day long to a rebellious people,

who walk in a way that is not good,
following their own devices;

a people who provoke me
to my face continually,

sacrificing in gardens
and offering incense on bricks;

who sit inside tombs,
and spend the night in secret places;

who eat swine’s flesh,
with broth of abominable things in their vessels;

who say, “Keep to yourself,
do not come near me, for I am too holy for you.”

These are a smoke in my nostrils,
a fire that burns all day long.

See, it is written before me:
I will not keep silent, but I will repay;

I will indeed repay into their laps
their iniquities and their ancestors’ iniquities together,

says the Lord;

because they offered incense on the mountains
and reviled me on the hills,

I will measure into their laps
full payment for their actions.

Thus says the Lord:

As the wine is found in the cluster,
and they say, “Do not destroy it,
for there is a blessing in it,”

so I will do for my servants’ sake,
and not destroy them all.

I will bring forth descendants from Jacob,
and from Judah inheritors of my mountains;

my chosen shall inherit it,
and my servants shall settle there.

Psalm 22:18-27

18 Be not far away, O Lord; *
you are my strength; hasten to help me.

19 Save me from the sword, *
my life from the power of the dog.

20 Save me from the lion’s mouth, *
my wretched body from the horns of wild bulls.

21 I will declare your Name to my brethren; *
in the midst of the congregation I will praise you.

22 Praise the Lord, you that fear him; *
stand in awe of him, O offspring of Israel;
all you of Jacob’s line, give glory.

23 For he does not despise nor abhor the poor in their poverty;
neither does he hide his face from them; *
but when they cry to him he hears them.

24 My praise is of him in the great assembly; *
I will perform my vows in the presence of those who worship him.

25 The poor shall eat and be satisfied,
and those who seek the Lord shall praise him: *
“May your heart live for ever!”

26 All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn to the Lord, *
and all the families of the nations shall bow before him.

27 For kingship belongs to the Lord; *
he rules over the nations.

Galatians 3:23-29

Now before faith came, we were imprisoned and guarded under the law until faith would be revealed. Therefore the law was our disciplinarian until Christ came, so that we might be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer subject to a disciplinarian, for in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith. As many of you as were baptised into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus. And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to the promise.

Luke 8:26-39

Jesus and his disciples arrived at the country of the Gerasenes, which is opposite Galilee. As he stepped out on land, a man of the city who had demons met him. For a long time he had worn no clothes, and he did not live in a house but in the tombs. When he saw Jesus, he fell down before him and shouted at the top of his voice, “What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg you, do not torment me” — for Jesus had commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man. (For many times it had seized him; he was kept under guard and bound with chains and shackles, but he would break the bonds and be driven by the demon into the wilds.) Jesus then asked him, “What is your name?” He said, “Legion”; for many demons had entered him. They begged him not to order them to go back into the abyss.

Now there on the hillside a large herd of swine was feeding; and the demons begged Jesus to let them enter these. So he gave them permission. Then the demons came out of the man and entered the swine, and the herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and was drowned.

When the swineherds saw what had happened, they ran off and told it in the city and in the country. Then people came out to see what had happened, and when they came to Jesus, they found the man from whom the demons had gone sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed and in his right mind. And they were afraid. Those who had seen it told them how the one who had been possessed by demons had been healed. Then all the people of the surrounding country of the Gerasenes asked Jesus to leave them; for they were seized with great fear. So he got into the boat and returned. The man from whom the demons had gone begged that he might be with him; but Jesus sent him away, saying, “Return to your home, and declare how much God has done for you.” So he went away, proclaiming throughout the city how much Jesus had done for him.

Trinity Sunday 

12th June 2022

Reflection 

Today’s readings have been chosen to reflect different aspects of the Trinity. I wonder what they might also say about our relation with the earth.

The first reading from Proverbs introduces us to God as creator and to Wisdom as the aspect of God that co-exists alongside creation. The reading displays the dynamic partnership that exists between God and creation and which seeks in particular to embrace the human race. Wisdom is there to make sense of creation and to pass that divine understanding on to those who are willing to hear. Those who hear and engage with Wisdom will learn how the world could and should be. 

Psalm 8 presents a similar message where it is made clear that mortals, humanity have a special role in God’s creation. This is a particular calling to seek out and understand the beauty and wonder of creation and to care for it accordingly. This is a wisdom that will act as a ‘bulwark because of your foes, to silence the enemy and the avenger’. The wisdom that God’s people can seek and find in creation is one that will produce solutions to the problems we face, that will enable harmony and peace to be realised here in earth. 

However in the human time frame, such wisdom does not exempt us from strife and suffering. We know that even when Jesus took on our human form, he was not exempt from suffering. As we try and follow his example, we should not expect exemption either, but as Paul writes we have faith and hope to sustain us. And that we have been been filled with God’s love through the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. The world’s suffering should not dishearten us (although it is easy to have moments when we feel totally overcome) but rather should spur is on to seek and act upon God’s wisdom. So it is that, time and again, in John’s Gospel, Jesus reminds  us that the Holy Spirit will inspire and equip us, and guide us into an ever deepening relationship with God the Trinity.

The features of the divine trinity – communication, harmony, dynamism – are reflected in the relationship between God and creation and humanity.

Proverbs 8:1-4, 22-31

Does not wisdom call,
and does not understanding raise her voice?

On the heights, beside the way,
at the crossroads she takes her stand;

beside the gates in front of the town,
at the entrance of the portals she cries out:

“To you, O people, I call,
and my cry is to all that live.

The Lord created me at the beginning of his work,
the first of his acts of long ago.

Ages ago I was set up,
at the first, before the beginning of the earth.

When there were no depths I was brought forth,
when there were no springs abounding with water.

Before the mountains had been shaped,
before the hills, I was brought forth–

when he had not yet made earth and fields,
or the world’s first bits of soil.

When he established the heavens, I was there,
when he drew a circle on the face of the deep,

when he made firm the skies above,
when he established the fountains of the deep,

when he assigned to the sea its limit,
so that the waters might not transgress his command,

when he marked out the foundations of the earth,
then I was beside him, like a master worker;

and I was daily his delight,
rejoicing before him always,

rejoicing in his inhabited world
and delighting in the human race.”

Psalm 8

 O Lord, our Sovereign,
    how majestic is your name in all the earth!

You have set your glory above the heavens.

    Out of the mouths of babes and infants
you have founded a bulwark because of your foes,
    to silence the enemy and the avenger.

When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers,
    the moon and the stars that you have established;

what are human beings that you are mindful of them,
    mortals that you care for them?

Yet you have made them a little lower than God,
    and crowned them with glory and honour.

You have given them dominion over the works of your hands;
    you have put all things under their feet,

all sheep and oxen,
    and also the beasts of the field,

the birds of the air, and the fish of the sea,
    whatever passes along the paths of the seas.

O Lord, our Sovereign,
    how majestic is your name in all the earth!

Romans 5:1-5

Since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand; and we boast in our hope of sharing the glory of God. And not only that, but we also boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.

John 16:12-15

Jesus said to the disciples, “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own, but will speak whatever he hears, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify me, because he will take what is mine and declare it to you. All that the Father has is mine. For this reason I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.”

Prayers for Creation 

Friday 3rd June 2022

There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit. Isaiah 11:1

You Lord, are the source of all good things: 

We praise you.

You call us to tend and care for your creation: 

May we strive to do your will.

You have made us as brothers and sisters with all that lives: 

May we live together in peace.

A reading:  So Paul stood up and with a gesture began to speak: ‘You Israelites, and others who fear God, listen. The God of this people Israel chose our ancestors ….. he made David their king. In his testimony about him he said, “I have found David, son of Jesse, to be a man after my heart, who will carry out all my wishes.” Of this man’s posterity God has brought to Israel a Saviour, Jesus, as he promised. Acts 13: 16, 17a, 22b,23

Roots secure us to the past, ensure that we are part of the continuity of creation; shoots  and branches  take our lives forward into the as yet unformed future. Without the next generation there will be no ongoing continuity. The gospels of Luke and Matthew both locate Jesus within a human family tree;  the prologue of John’s gospel locates him as co existent with the beginning of all creation. Later in John’s  gospel, Jesus affirms his coexistence with the Father and the ongoing coexistence, through him, of all believers, all God’s children. 

For gifts of past generations

We thank you God:

For the gift of fire for cooking and heating

For the gift of clean water and sewers

We thank you God:

For the domestication of cattle and horses,

Cats and dogs, sheep and pigs, 

Hens and geese

We thank you God:

For the gift of gardening and arable cultivation , sowing and reaping, growing and harvesting

We thank you God:

For the gift of healing and caring, of medicine and surgery

For the understanding of the intricacies of mind and body 

We thank you God:

For the gift of story telling and drama, of art and observation 

means of sharing grief and joy.

We thank you God:

For the gift of learning and research, of teaching and sharing

We thank you God:

For the gift of exploration and endeavour, of travel and communication 

We thank you God:

For the gift of worship, of self realisation and of the knowledge of God.

We thank you God:

But what shall we pass on to generations to come?

Do we offer gifts or burdens?

Merciful God forgive and inspire us.

Clean air or choking smog?

Merciful God forgive and inspire us.

Living water or dying oceans?

Merciful God forgive and inspire us.

Renewables or fossil fuels?

Merciful God forgive and inspire us.

Biodiversity or widespread extinction?

 Merciful God forgive and inspire us.

Fertile soils or inhospitable dust?

Merciful God forgive and inspire us.

Balmy summers or wild fires?

Merciful God forgive and inspire us.

Snow capped mountains or drowned coastlines?

Merciful God forgive and inspire us.

Homes for all  or camps for migrants?

Merciful God forgive and inspire us.

May we be wise guardians of what we have received 

Skilful custodians of what we consume

Generous donors of what we hand on

That the future of creation will be bright and beautiful, 

fair and just.

Amen

Prayers for Creation 

Friday 27th  May 2022

The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of her hands. Psalm 19:1

You Lord, are the source of all good things: 

We praise you.

You call us to tend and care for your creation: 

May we strive to do your will.

You have made us as brothers and sisters with all that lives: 

May we live together in peace.

A reading on How to live: 

You, O Lord, have charged that we should diligently keep your commandments. 

O that my ways were made so direct that I might keep your statutes.

Then should I not be put to shame, because I have regard for all your commandments.

Open my eyes, that I may see the wonders of your law.

I am a stranger upon earth; hide not your commandments from me.

Make me understand the way of your commandments, and so shall I meditate on your wondrous works. 

Psalm 119: 4-6, 18-19,27

If  the idea of obeying commandments sounds too authoritarian, too black and white, think of God’s commandments as the instruction manual for the world, the user’s guide, best practices for living – or even as an expanded set of the rules of nature.

A further reading:

As the rain and the snow come down from above, and return not again but water the earth,

‘Bringing forth life and giving growth, seed for sowing and bread to eat,

‘So is my word that goes forth from my mouth; it will not return to me fruitless,

‘But it will accomplish that which I purpose, and succeed in the task I gave it.’ Isaiah 55: 6-9

For the sun and moon 

that mete out the seasons,

and measure out the days and weeks:

We thank you, Lord our creator.

For chlorophyll and photosynthesis, 

for leaves and phytoplankton,

that turn sunlight into energy: 

We thank you, Lord our creator.

For H2O in all its forms,

for evaporation and precipitation that waters the earth 

and quickens life.

We thank you, Lord our creator.

For the air we breathe, 

a fluctuating mix of gases 

whose balance must be conserved for life to bloom:

We thank you, Lord our creator.

For rocks and mountains,  

erosion and sedimentation, 

that lays out a rich blanket of soil: 

We thank you, Lord our creator.

For DNA building blocks 

that see life adapt and evolve, 

reminders of our network of kinship:

We thank you, Lord our creator.

For flora and fauna that twist and twine, 

building habitats and 

grounding ecosystems:

We thank you, Lord our creator.

As ‘Johnny-come-lately’ to this world,

Lord grant us the humility to learn from what is already here, 

to look with awe and wonder at what is happily established, 

to treat with respect ecosystems built up over millennia, 

to study and understand the laws of nature, 

to observe and respond to the natural cycles that maintain life,

to cooperate with others 

and with sensitivity to share this space where all can be at home.

Amen.

The Grace

Prayers for Creation 

Friday 20th May 2022

The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of her hands. Psalm 19:1

You Lord, are the source of all good things: 

We praise you.

You call us to tend and care for your creation: 

May we strive to do your will.

You have made us as brothers and sisters with all that lives: 

May we live together in peace.

A reading: God 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. And 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. God saw everything that he had made, and indeed, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day. Genesis 1:29-31

Prayers of praise –

Holy is your name and 

Holy is the sky above, 

shades of blue – 

azure, periwinkle, powder – 

with clouds billowing and piled high, 

little puffs and wispy streaks; 

glowing white or deepest dark greys, 

fair weather or storm bearers:

Holy is the sky!

Holy is your name and 

Holy is the earth below, 

shades of brown – 

umber, ochre, taupe – 

stones and grit, dust and hummus, 

teeming with life – 

worms and beetles, 

microfauna and fungi:

Holy is the earth!

Holy is your name and 

Holy are the waters far and wide, 

more shades of blue – 

aquamarine, cobalt, sea green – 

sparkling spring and dancing stream, 

majestic river and languid lake,

and voluminous ocean – 

each overflowing with the gift of life:

Holy are the waters! 

Holy is your name and

Holy are the weeds that toil and spin, 

shades of green – 

lime, moss, emerald – 

rooted in the earth, clinging onto rocks, 

colonising the desert, reaching for the sky, 

brimming with fruits in season,

breathing life into the air

Holy are the weeds!

Prayers of sorrow- 

Heavenly Parent,

We have erred against you and your world.

We have polluted the air and the water, 

the seas and the soil. 

We ask for forgiveness and healing.

We have squandered the earth’s resources, 

and consumed more than our fair share.

We ask for forgiveness and healing.

We have decimated plants and animals, 

we have destroyed habitats and poisoned food chains.

We ask for forgiveness and healing.

We have abused our kin and ignored their humanity,

grinding them down into lives of misery.

We ask for forgiveness and healing.

From a place of sorrow, revive us.

From a place of penitence, quicken us. 

From a place of humility, rebuild us.

The Grace 

Lent Reflection

 Counting on ….day 110

2nd March 2022

Dust and ash – a reminder of our frailty, and a reminder of our connectedness with the whole of creation. We are part of a most amazing world, a world of intricate life cycles which we damage at our peril. We count on God, asking God to be the means by which we can transform our lives. 

Counting on ….day 96 

16th February 2022

Lent is two weeks away. Lent is often seen as a season in which we can discipline/ train ourselves to live better lives, to live in closer harmony with God. Often it is a season when we forgo things that give us pleasure – or things that cause us harm – so that we can embrace the feeling of sacrifice and grow through it. Can we come into closer harmony with God through deepening our relationship with God’s creation? Can we live more simply so that others may simply live?