I set the alarm on Tuesday to be up in time to participate in a Global Ecumenical Online Prayer service, the launch event of the Season of Creation. It is possible to enjoy a recording of the service here.
And what a delight it was! Very traditional in a form familiar to folk from Catholic, Anglican, Lutheran or Presbyterian traditions including elements such as a Call to Worship, Confession, Scripture reading, Reflections and Prayers and then a rousing finish with a rap video filmed in Kenya .
Within the traditional form there was much richness and surprise .
The service was hosted by young women and men from all over the world: Dominique Jeremiah, Basetsaan Makena, Joy Eva from the Philippines, Meta Ginting from Indonesia, Jamil Maher–Kader from Beirut and many more. The service was mainly in English but at points a diversity of languages were used, including everyone saying the Lord’s prayer in their chosen language at the same time, cool!
The primary theme of the service was the call to observe a Sabbath for the Earth. Well what does that mean?
It might start with this suggestion: A little girl said to her father re Covid, “the Earth is telling us to go to our room, close the door and think about things”. And having done so, perhaps for some, this Opening Prayer might be the first thing to happen behind that closed door.
Let us pray
Creator of life,
At your word the earth brought forth plants yielding seed and trees of every kind bearing fruit. The rivers, mountains, minerals, seas and forests sustained life. The eyes of all looked to you to satisfy the needs of every living thing. And throughout the earth has sustained life. Through the planetary cycles of days and seasons, renewal and growth, you open your hand to give the creatures our food in the proper time.
In your wisdom you granted a Sabbath, a blessed time to rest in gratitude for all that you have given, a time to liberate ourselves from vicious consumption, a time to allow the land and all creatures to rest from the burden of production. But these days our living pushes the planet beyond its limits. Our demands for growth and our never-ending cycle of production and consumption are exhausting our world. The forests are leached, the topsoil erodes, the fields fail, the deserts advance, the seas acidify the storms intensify. We have not allowed the land to observe her Sabbath and the earth is struggling to be renewed.
During this season of creation we ask you to grant us courage to observe the Sabbath for our planet, strengthen us with faith to trust in your providence, inspire us with the creativity to share what we have been given, teach us to be satisfied with enough. And as we proclaim a Jubilee for the Earth and your Holy Spirit to renew the face of creation. In the name of the One who came to proclaim good news to all creation, Jesus Christ.