Counting on …day 313

19th September 2022 

Prayer walking or walking prayer is a way of calming the soul and focusing the mind on God through the gift of creation. It can be mindful, slow walk that allows you to pay attention to the natural world – however humble – and so to be drawn into the presence of God. The poet writer Ian Adams, in Running Over Rocks, terms it as Terra Divina.


You can find an extract from the book about Terra Divina here: 

http://www.unforcedrhythms.org/contemplative-spirituality/terra-divina/ 

Proper 20

18th September 2022

Reflection (readings below)

“For the hurt of the people I am hurt. I mourn and dismay has taken hold of me” says Jeremiah. It is a cry many would empathise with, especially when one looks around at all the suffering already happening and all that is on the horizon as the climate crisis and the fuel and economic crises continue to grow in scale – the former fed by the latter into an ever deepening spiral.

Climate grief is now a recognised phenomena. It encompasses grief for what has already been lost, what is currently being lost and the ongoing threat of further loss going on into the future. Such loss is not just the loss of physical landscapes, plants and animals. It is also the loss of people’s livelihoods and traditions. It is the loss of actual lives. And it is grief for the loss of the futures that our children and grandchildren might have had but, now, will not have. There is no closure for this sort of grief and no traditions to help us cope. Jeremiah would certainly empathise with where we are, our plight and our sense of helplessness. 

Where then do turn for consolation? If we cannot find closure,  can we find a way of adjusting to the new realities of life? Can we find new ways of supporting each other? Can we adopt new ways of living and new economic models that will avert the worst scenarios? 

We can take a cue from the Letter of Timothy, and pray – with prayers of intercession and prayers of thanksgiving for everyone, including, but not just for, leaders and those in power. And not just to pray but to remember that in Jesus we have a mediator, someone who can help us understand both our problems and the possible solutions. 

Today’s gospel passage is one of a group of the parables including the Prodigal Son, the Lost Sheep and the Lost Coin. They all reference one who goes astray – sins – and point in each situation the possibility of finding a way back. They all also point to the importance of celebration when what was lost is found, when what was lost is restored. To this the parable of the Prodigal Son adds the importance of having generosity of heart and humility. 

In today’s parable we have a sacked manager – one who has certainly been accused of fraud – someone who has fallen short. He is unsure how he can cope with the change in circumstances this is forcing upon him. He thinks hard about the steps he can take to mitigate this. Where as before he was totally dependent on one person, his boss – from whom he gained his wealth – he is now going to be at the mercy of the many of his community. He asks himself with whom he needs to be on best terms – his ex boss or the community? Whose interests should he nourish to safeguard his own future?

Not unreasonably, he concludes that he has nothing to loose by no longer increasing the profits of  his boss and much to gain by improving the lives of everybody else. He chooses to serve – to love – his community rather than the sole interests of the rich man. And this is why he is subsequently commended for being shrewd. 

Jesus reminds us that we cannot seek to gain both wealth and God.  Are we in fact fraudulent stewards, given the way we have allowed the climate crisis to grow and escalate? Have we opted to exploit the environment for short term gain and convenience? Are we fraudulent stewards who have allowed – indeed enabled – the developed countries to continue to grow rich at the expense of less powerful nations? Have we pinned all our fortunes on the ongoing success of fossil fuels? How should we respond when that certainty of income and wellbeing that we have enjoyed is pulled from under our feet?

We certainly need to end our reliance on the singularity of fossil fuels. We need to be diversifying and finding simpler, less damaging ways of living. We need to be finding economic models that share risks and profits equitably. And I am sure we in the developed world need to be literally halving the debts of our comrades – the less powerful – around the world. (Later this month people of faith will be marking Loss and Damage Day which calls on the creation of an insurance pot funded by wealthy nations to support those at the sharp edge of climate change). 

And let’s do some rejoicing too when we find these new relationships, these new ways of living together with our fellow human beings and with nature.

Jeremiah 8:18-9:1

My joy is gone, grief is upon me,
my heart is sick.

Hark, the cry of my poor people
from far and wide in the land:

“Is the Lord not in Zion?
Is her King not in her?”

(“Why have they provoked me to anger with their images,
with their foreign idols?”)

“The harvest is past, the summer is ended,
and we are not saved.”

For the hurt of my poor people I am hurt,
I mourn, and dismay has taken hold of me.

Is there no balm in Gilead?
Is there no physician there?

Why then has the health of my poor people
not been restored?

O that my head were a spring of water,
and my eyes a fountain of tears,

so that I might weep day and night
for the slain of my poor people!

Psalm 79:1-9

1 O God, the heathen have come into your inheritance;
they have profaned your holy temple; *
they have made Jerusalem a heap of rubble.

2 They have given the bodies of your servants as food for the birds of the air, *
and the flesh of your faithful ones to the beasts of the field.

3 They have shed their blood like water on every side of Jerusalem, *
and there was no one to bury them.

4 We have become a reproach to our neighbours, *
an object of scorn and derision to those around us.

5 How long will you be angry, O Lord? *
will your fury blaze like fire for ever?

6 Pour out your wrath upon the heathen who have not known you *
and upon the kingdoms that have not called upon your Name.

7 For they have devoured Jacob *
and made his dwelling a ruin.

8 Remember not our past sins;
let your compassion be swift to meet us; *
for we have been brought very low.

9 Help us, O God our Saviour, for the glory of your Name; *
deliver us and forgive us our sins, for your Name’s sake.

1 Timothy 2:1-7

First of all, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for everyone, for kings and all who are in high positions, so that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and dignity. This is right and is acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour, who desires everyone to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For

there is one God;
there is also one mediator between God and humankind,

Christ Jesus, himself human,
who gave himself a ransom for all

— this was attested at the right time. For this I was appointed a herald and an apostle (I am telling the truth, I am not lying), a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth.

Luke 16:1-13

Jesus said to the disciples, “There was a rich man who had a manager, and charges were brought to him that this man was squandering his property. So he summoned him and said to him, `What is this that I hear about you? Give me an accounting of your management, because you cannot be my manager any longer.’ Then the manager said to himself, `What will I do, now that my master is taking the position away from me? I am not strong enough to dig, and I am ashamed to beg. I have decided what to do so that, when I am dismissed as manager, people may welcome me into their homes.’ So, summoning his master’s debtors one by one, he asked the first, `How much do you owe my master?’ He answered, `A hundred jugs of olive oil.’ He said to him, `Take your bill, sit down quickly, and make it fifty.’ Then he asked another, `And how much do you owe?’ He replied, `A hundred containers of wheat.’ He said to him, `Take your bill and make it eighty.’ And his master commended the dishonest manager because he had acted shrewdly; for the children of this age are more shrewd in dealing with their own generation than are the children of light. And I tell you, make friends for yourselves by means of dishonest wealth so that when it is gone, they may welcome you into the eternal homes.

“Whoever is faithful in a very little is faithful also in much; and whoever is dishonest in a very little is dishonest also in much. If then you have not been faithful with the dishonest wealth, who will entrust to you the true riches? And if you have not been faithful with what belongs to another, who will give you what is your own? No slave can serve two masters; for a slave will either hate the one and love the other, or be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.”

Proper 12

24th July 2022

Reflection (and readings below)

I am still shocked when I hear of climate activists who risk sitting in roads to highlight the emergency, or sit on oil tankers to prevent them moving, or blockade Amazon warehouses because of their casual treatment of workers, or break the glass doors of banks that support the fossil fuel industry, or of news agencies which obscure the truth. I am heart broken when I hear of them being arrested and imprisoned. Yet I see that they are following in the footsteps of the prophets of old, standing up against injustice, speaking truth to authority, and doing so in deeds just as much as in words. 

How can we not be shocked by today’s reading from Hosea. What bravery and self abasement did it take for Hosea to go and find and marry a prostitute? And not even a ‘reformed’ prostitute. Read carefully and you will notice that the first child Jezreel is certainly Hosea’s son, but are the next two children? And what of Gomer? Are we not shocked that she should be in such a position that prostitution is a viable and acceptable way of making a living? We wonder what choices she had had in life.

Through this lived narrative, God is pointing out to the people that they have behaved like a prostitute. They have not been faithful to God but have sought out other bodies to satisfy their needs and give them direction, to worship and imitate. They have spurned integrity and uprightness to follow whims and fancies, to chase after the illusions of wealth and happiness. God pulls no punches as to the severity of the consequences of their choices.

Whilst the passage from Hosea tells us of humanity’s inclination to stray away from God and from God’s way, the letter to the Colossians describes human lives rooted deep in God, built up and bound in place by a whole hearted faith in God through Jesus Christ, that allows for no deviation from the ways of God. It is a way of life that makes one fully alive! This sounds so amazing, I puzzle that we find it so difficult to live out in our own lives and to share with others – but I know that we do struggle. 

Last Saturday I took part in a Christian Aid event called Talking Climate Justice. During the two plus hours of talk,  questions and conversation, we focused on two issues: the climate crisis and climate justice. Both are integral to the Christian calling: the climate crisis because we humans have caused what is damaging the world God created, and climate justice because the effects of the crisis are disproportionately affecting those who contributed least to it, and because the distribution of resources is such that these same people have a disproportionately small share and are – financially – ill equipped to cope with the crisis. As those called to love God with our whole being and to love our neighbour as ourself, we are failing big time. We are like the people Hosea is addressing, whereas we want to be like the people Paul is addressing! How do we achieve the turn around we desire, both for the climate and for our neighbours across the globe?

The gospel gives us the answer: prayer and action. The Lord’s Prayer invites both. We are to hallow God, to declare God’s holiness in prayer. We are to seek God’s kingdom, to live according to that regime. We are to pray everyday for what we need – and be satisfied. We are to both seek forgiveness, and forgive, and make good where we are indebted. We are to ask, to search and to knock. When we knock, let us knock on the doors of businesses and institutions, corporations and governments. Let us keeping on knocking until they listen, until they open their doors to change and restitution. And when people demand change of us, we too must be willing to turn our lives round, binding them to the ways of God.

Hosea 1:2-10

When the Lord first spoke through Hosea, the Lord said to Hosea, “Go, take for yourself a wife of whoredom and have children of whoredom, for the land commits great whoredom by forsaking the Lord.” So he went and took Gomer daughter of Diblaim, and she conceived and bore him a son.

And the Lord said to him, “Name him Jezreel; for in a little while I will punish the house of Jehu for the blood of Jezreel, and I will put an end to the kingdom of the house of Israel. On that day I will break the bow of Israel in the valley of Jezreel.”

She conceived again and bore a daughter. Then the Lord said to him, “Name her Lo-ruhamah, for I will no longer have pity on the house of Israel or forgive them. But I will have pity on the house of Judah, and I will save them by the Lord their God; I will not save them by bow, or by sword, or by war, or by horses, or by horsemen.”

When she had weaned Lo-ruhamah, she conceived and bore a son. Then the Lord said, “Name him Lo-ammi, for you are not my people and I am not your God.”

Yet the number of the people of Israel shall be like the sand of the sea, which can be neither measured nor numbered; and in the place where it was said to them, “You are not my people,” it shall be said to them, “Children of the living God.”

Psalm 85

1 You have been gracious to your land, O Lord, *
you have restored the good fortune of Jacob.

2 You have forgiven the iniquity of your people *
and blotted out all their sins.

3 You have withdrawn all your fury *
and turned yourself from your wrathful indignation.

4 Restore us then, O God our Saviour; *
let your anger depart from us.

5 Will you be displeased with us for ever? *
will you prolong your anger from age to age?

6 Will you not give us life again, *
that your people may rejoice in you?

7 Show us your mercy, O Lord, *
and grant us your salvation.

8 I will listen to what the Lord God is saying, *
for he is speaking peace to his faithful people
and to those who turn their hearts to him.

9 Truly, his salvation is very near to those who fear him, *
that his glory may dwell in our land.

10 Mercy and truth have met together; *
righteousness and peace have kissed each other.

11 Truth shall spring up from the earth, *
and righteousness shall look down from heaven.

12 The Lord will indeed grant prosperity, *
and our land will yield its increase.

13 Righteousness shall go before him, *
and peace shall be a pathway for his feet.

Colossians 2:6-15

As you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.

See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the universe, and not according to Christ. For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, and you have come to fullness in him, who is the head of every ruler and authority. In him also you were circumcised with a spiritual circumcision, by putting off the body of the flesh in the circumcision of Christ; when you were buried with him in baptism, you were also raised with him through faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead. And when you were dead in trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive together with him, when he forgave us all our trespasses, erasing the record that stood against us with its legal demands. He set this aside, nailing it to the cross. He disarmed the rulers and authorities and made a public example of them, triumphing over them in it.

Luke 11:1-13

Jesus was praying in a certain place, and after he had finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.” He said to them, “When you pray, say:

Father, hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come.
Give us each day our daily bread.
And forgive us our sins,
for we ourselves forgive everyone indebted to us.
And do not bring us to the time of trial.”

And he said to them, “Suppose one of you has a friend, and you go to him at midnight and say to him, `Friend, lend me three loaves of bread; for a friend of mine has arrived, and I have nothing to set before him.’ And he answers from within, `Do not bother me; the door has already been locked, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot get up and give you anything.’ I tell you, even though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, at least because of his persistence he will get up and give him whatever he needs.

“So I say to you, Ask, and it will be given you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you. For everyone who asks receives, and everyone who searches finds, and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened. Is there anyone among you who, if your child asks for a fish, will give a snake instead of a fish? Or if the child asks for an egg, will give a scorpion? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”

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 

Prayers for Creation 

Friday 24th June 2022

Therefore God, your God, has anointed you with the oil of gladness beyond your companions; your robes are all fragrant with myrrh and aloes and cassia. Psalm 45:7b, 8a

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.

Reading: Your plants are an orchard of pomegranates with all choicest fruits, henna with nard, nard and saffron, calamus and cinnamon, with all trees of frankincense, myrrh and aloes, with all chief spices— a garden fountain, a well of living water, and flowing streams from Lebanon.

Praise be to God for the gift of smell:

Summer sweet smells,

the spiced scent of roses, 

the honey sweetness of lime blossom, 

the calming fragrance of lavender. 

The morning’s scents of dew damp grass, 

of hay in the noon day’s heat, 

the evening’s languid aroma of honeysuckle 

draws in the smells of night.

The burnt earth smell of bracken, 

the pungent smell of the first rains.

The slip-sliding smell of fresh water, 

the salty tang of the sea.

The simple – overlooked? – nose 

plays host to an olfactory banquet, 

attuning us to the time of day, 

the seasons and the weather.

Picking up signals

that suggest delight or warn of danger,

that pique our appetite, 

and speak of attraction, reward and love.

Praise be to God for the gift of smell.

Ever present God, 

bless our mindfulness, 

our ability to sense your presence,  

to find you in the smells of the everyday, 

to relish the delights than come less often. 

Ever present God, 

be with those surrounded by the smell of war and fear, 

of destruction and decay.

Breathe compassion 

into the hearts of those who wage war, 

and those who make peace. 

Ever present God, be with those 

surrounded with pollution and those who breath acrid air.

Bless the work of all who create green spaces, 

whose living organisms purify the air.

Lend strength to those who protect the environment 

and those who seek a cleaner way of life.

Ever present God, be with those 

in need of healing in body, mind and spirit.

May they breathe out all that causes harm 

and breathe in all that is wholesome. 

Inspire and renew us one and all 

with the sweet fragrance of your Spirit. 

Amen.

Prayers for Creation 

Friday 17th June 2022

I will listen to you, LORD God, because you promise peace to those who are faithful and no longer foolish. Psalm 85:8

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.

Reading: Now there was a great wind, so strong that it was splitting mountains and breaking rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake;  and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a sound of sheer silence. When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. 1 Kings 19: 11b – 13a

The day is quiet. 

It catches my attention. 

No murmur of cars, nor drone of airplanes. 

No crash or thump of builders. 


Silence – 

Silence? Are you sure?

I can hear a bird – 

no not one but two, maybe three – 

singing. 

The buzz of a passing insect. 

The wind rustling a leaf.

The slight crunch of my shoes on the ground.

The soprano voice of a child – 

Mummy, why do ….?

God, creator and companion, 

Stay my attention on the sounds of ‘silence’, 

on the sounds of life. 

Attune my heart to hear 

the unabated sound of creation, 

to sift out the raucous noise 

of the unimportant sounds.

Open my ears just enough to know your presence.

Ever mindful God, be present 

with those surrounded with the noise 

of guns and bombs. 

Bring compassion 

into the hearts of those who wage war. 

Remove greed and pride from those 

who might otherwise make peace.

Ever mindful God, be present 

with those surrounded with the noise 

of traffic and engines.

Bless the work of those who create green spaces, 

those who bring calm to frenzied lives.

Lend strength to those who protect the environment 

and those who seek a quieter way of life.

Ever mindful God, be present 

with those who seek to tell the truth – 

however inconvenient. 

Open hearts and minds to hear your word, 

to discern your wisdom. 

Give grace to all who question, 

to all who seek to understand 

and to all who are willing to learn – 

for you the way, the truth and the life. 

Amen.

Green Tau reflection: prayer and hope

25th May 2022

Over the last 24 hours I spent about 6 hours supporting the Christian Climate Action vigil outside the Methodist Central Hall, the venue for this year’s Shell AGM. I didn’t stay overnight as some brave souls did but came and went in stints. My companions were deeply committed to the environmental cause: that we humans need to wake up to the damage we are causing to the wonderful creation God has provided and of which we are an integral part: truly we are brothers and sisters, kith and kin with every other living thing. Yet our human unabated consumption of fossil fuels is producing carbon dioxide in such quantities that we are changing the climate, wiping out plant and animal species, melting ice caps and glaciers, and consigning our fellow humans to poverty, ill health and death. 

Our presence, as well as being peaceful and prayerful, was intended to raise people’s awareness of the climate crisis and the role that large oil companies, such as Shell, play. To put this in context,  CO2 emissions for the entire globe in 2021 were 36.3 bn tonnes, and of this Shell contributed 1.299 bn tonnes. To avert the worsening affects of climate change, CO2 emissions need to be reduced by 43% by 2030, and to zero by 2050. This is a huge challenge for us all but one which will be hard to achieve if the fossil fuel industries continue to invest in expanding oil and gas production rather than shifting to the production of renewable energy. 

As I prayed, I admit I had little hope that my prayers were going to effect an about-turn on the plans that Ben van Beurden, the Shell CEO, has for the company. However I did have a slither of hope that our prayers and our presence might influence the hearts and minds of the shareholders. Perhaps there might be a stirring in their conscience about the effects that fossil fuel are having on the planet. Perhaps they might begin to ask questions about the sense of pursuing profits from oil if it results in a world that becomes uninhabitable. Perhaps they might question why the company was not protecting their future by investing in renewable energy. Perhaps they would question the leadership being offered when such a large CO2 producer choose not to follow the global strategy agreed at COP26? 

So I prayed. In my mind I envisaged the Holy Spirit like a dove flying around above the heads of the shareholders in the Methodist Central Hall, perhaps pausing to whisper in someone’s ear. I envisaged a scene similar to that of Pentecost, of  the room where all the disciples were gathered, with the wind of the Spirit inspiring and energising those present. I imagined little flames might hover above people’s heads and that they might have the experience of the disciples on the road to Emmaus, of something warm burning within them. 

Outside the building drums and the call and reply of protestors rose and fell like a storm. Inside the hall, the sound would, I guess, be deadened and I thought of the still small voice in the storm encounter by Elijah. And I thought of the story of Jonah and the storm he encountered and which manhandled him (with the help of a whale)  to the shores of Nineveh. There to his surprise and chagrin, the people listened to the message and repented.

And I prayed. I envisaged the call of the evangelists, repent and believe. Repent – a change of heart, a turning around of the way we think, a conversion of the way we do things – and believe. Believe that there is a better future, that we can look forward to a new and brighter future, where things will be green and beautiful, just and fair, where we will live in peace together. As well as seeking a new way of living – repentance – we need to offer a vision of the better world in which we can all live: the kin-dom of God.

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 

Prayers for Creation 

Friday 13th May 2022

The Spirit of God has made me, and the breath of the Almighty gives me life. Job  33:4

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:

Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?
    Tell me, if you have understanding.

Who determined its measurements—surely you know!
    Or who stretched the line upon it?

On what were its bases sunk,
    or who laid its cornerstone

when the morning stars sang together
    and all the heavenly beings shouted for joy? Job 38:4-7 

Lord,  we should not cease to be amazed at the wonder of creation, 

the diversity of colour, shape and size,

the ingenious adaptations of plants and animals,

the interconnectedness of all living things.

Response:

Then Job answered the Lord: ‘See, I am of small account; what shall I answer you?
    I lay my hand on my mouth. I have spoken once, and I will not answer;
    twice, but will proceed no further.’ Job 40:3-5

Lord, we should not forget the immense timespan of creation,  

the geological age that have gone before us,  

and the ages yet to come. 

Forgive us when we exaggerate our importance, 

when we claim knowledge we do not have

and when we exceed our competence.

A further reading:

But ask the animals, and they will teach you;
    the birds of the air, and they will tell you;

ask the plants of the earth, and they will teach you;
    and the fish of the sea will declare to you.

Who among all these does not know
    that the hand of the Lord has done this?

In his hand is the life of every living thing
    and the breath of every human being. Job 12:7-10, 13

Lord, teach us wisdom. 

Give us humility to learn from others, 

patience to observe what is true,

and contrition to make amends for our mistakes.

Show us how to find joy in simple things, 

contentment with less, 

and  delight in companionship with all creation. 

A final reading:

May the glory of the Lord endure for ever;
    may the Lord rejoice in his works—

who looks on the earth and it trembles,
    who touches the mountains and they smoke.

I will sing to the Lord as long as I live;
    I will sing praise to my God while I have being.

May my meditation be pleasing to him,
    for I rejoice in the Lord. Psalm 104: 31-34

Lord, may your creation flourish, 

may we ever be thrilled by what we see, 

uplifted  by what we experience, 

and delighted by what we can offer you. 

The Grace.

Easter Day Intercessions

17th April 2022

Can I invite you to cup your hands, 

and imagine that in them you are holding an egg.

Feel the smoothness and the hardness of the shell. It is there to protect the  young chick inside.

Let us pray for those people and situations who need protection. For the people of Ukrainian living with the dangers of war and especially for young children and those who have been separated from their families. For the people of the Philippines living with the dangers of flooding and mudslides in the aftermath of Storm Megi, and for the people of South Africa suffering from storm force rains and floods. For the Javan rhinoceros threatened with extinction by trophy hunting, poaching and habitat loss. We pray for the climate which needs protection from our human stupidity.

Lord in your mercy: hear our prayer.

Now imagine that you can hear a small tapping sound as the chick in your egg uses its beak to break open the shell.

Let us pray for those places and situations where people are trying to free themselves. For refugees and asylum seekers. For people trapped by poverty. For people in abusive relationships. For people working in unsafe environments. For the work of Tree Aid planting trees to free communities from the worst affects of the climate crisis. For the people of Shanghai trapped by rising covid infection rates. For Just Stop Oil trying to free us from our dependency on fossil fuels.

Lord in your mercy: hear our prayer.

Now imagine that the shell is breaking open and out struggles a small damp and floppy chick, 

needing warmth and comfort to gain its strength.

Let us pray for those who need care and comfort and healing. For ecosystems struggling to cope with the climate crisis and the pressures of human consumption. For those who are lonely, for those in pain.  For those who feel anxious and afraid. For those who are sick.

Lord in your mercy: hear our prayer

Now imagine that the chick perched in your hands  is all fluffed up and warm, with a beady eye and a happy cheep. 

Let us give thanks for the wonder and joy of life, for the beauty we see around us and the love we encounter day by day, for the resilience of nature. 

On this day of resurrection we remember those who have died recently, 

And those whose year’s mind occurs now, 

Let us give thanks for the hope and reassurance that God gives us through the resurrection of his Son,  Jesus Christ. 

 Merciful God accept these prayer for the sake of your Son, our Saviour, Jesus Christ. Amen.

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