Earth Day April 22nd

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Earth Day 2017 marks the first anniversary of the signing of the Paris Agreement. Despite this remarkable achievement, we cannot afford to pull back our efforts. To build a world that values environmental protection and cultivates sustainable communities for all people, we must have educated citizens.

Earth Day is held on April 22nd each year, first held in 1970. Earth Day was the brainchild of U.S. Sen. Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin, who sought a way to place environmental protection on the national agenda at a time when pollution was compounding. The Democratic senator enlisted college students to organize and coordinate the day. More than 20 million Americans attended Earth Day festivities on April 22, 1970, aligning a broad spectrum of cohorts: Democrats and Republicans, urban and rural communities, labor and business leaders. The energy that surfaced that day has been credited with spurring the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency (1970) and the passage of signature environmental legislation, such as the Clean Air Act (1970), the Clean Water Act (1972) and the Endangered Species Act (1973) – all initiatives enacted under President Richard Nixon. Earth Day has since expanded to 192 countries, according to the Earth Day Network. More information here.

The movement gave voice to an emerging consciousness, channeling human energy toward environmental issues. Forty-six years later, we continue to lead with groundbreaking ideas and by the power of our example.

And so it begins. Today. Right here and right now. Earth Day is more than just a single day (April 22). It’s bigger than attending a rally and taking a stand. This Earth Day and beyond, let’s make big stuff happen. Let’s plant 7.8 billion trees for the Earth. Let’s divest from fossil fuels and make cities 100% renewable. Let’s take the momentum from the Paris Climate Summit and build on it.

Resources on Season of Creation may also be of interest.

“It is a wholesome and necessary thing for us to turn again to the earth and in the contemplation of her beauties to know the sense of wonder and humility.”
(Source: Rachel Carson)

WCC statement on Earth Day 2016

In 2016, 150+ world leaders signed the #ParisAgreement on #EarthDay2016 at the United Nations Headquarters in New York. Read more here.

Look at the world (John Rutter and Cambridge Singers) – youtube clip
Words to the song:

Look at the world, everything all around us
Look at the world and marvel every day.
Look at the world: so many joys and wonders,
So many miracles along our way.

Chorus:
Praise to Thee, O Lord for all creation.
Give us thankful hearts that we may see
All the gifts we share, and every blessing,
All things come of Thee.

Look at the earth bringing forth fruit and flower,
Look at the sky the sunshine and the rain.
Look at the hills, look at the trees and mountains,
Valley and flowing river, field and plain.

(Repeat Chorus)

Think of the spring, think of the warmth of summer,
Bringing the harvest before winter’s cold.
Everything grows, everything has a season,
Till it is gathered to the Father’s fold:

(Repeat Chorus)

Every good gift, all that we need and cherish,
Comes from the Lord in token of His love.
We are His hands, stewards of all His bounty
His is the earth and His the heavens above.

(Repeat Chorus)

All things come of Thee!

For the beauty of the earth – youtube clip with music by John Rutter

See the world through the eyes of the Creator, Pope Francis said at the end of his general audience in St. Peter’s Square on Wednesday, marking Earth Day.
“I exhort everyone to see the world through the eyes of God the Creator: the earth is an environment to be safeguarded, a garden to be cultivated,” he said. “The relationship of (hu)mankind with nature must not be conducted with greed, manipulation and exploitation, but it must conserve the divine harmony that exists between creatures and Creation within the logic of respect and care, so it can be put to the service of our brothers, also of future generations”. In his universal prayer intention for April, Francis prayed “That people may learn to respect creation and care for it as a gift of God.”

Worship in celebration of creation ((McCormick Theological Seminary) WorshipinCelebrationofCreation (PDF)

(Stupid) reasons Christians reject environmentalism (Sojourners article)

Earth Day prayers, Christine Sine

Native American prayers for Earth Day

Garden blessing for Earth Day

Earth Day liturgy by Christine Sine

A liturgy for the celebration of creation, by Christine Sine

Closing Commission and Prayer
May we always walk gently upon the Earth,
in right relationship,
nurtured by your love,
open to the wind of the Spirit,
taking only what we need,
always open to the needs of others,
making choices that bring wellbeing,
living with generosity,
striving for justice,
honouring all with reverence,
reconciling and peacemaking,
mindful of those who will come after,
recognising our proper place as part of your creation.
Grant us the strength and courage, Lord,
for such a radical transformation into your Kingdom. Amen.
(Christian Aid and Christian Ecology Link. Posted on Third Space blog)

Responsive liturgy (adapted from Ps 65:5-12) – Christine Sine
God you call forth songs of joy from all the earth
You answer us with awesome deeds of righteousness,
God our Saviour you are the hope of all the ends of the earth
You are the hope of the farthest seas,
When morning dawns and evening fades
You call forth songs of joy
God you call forth songs of joy from all the earth
You care for the land and water it;
You enrich it abundantly.
The streams of God are filled with water
To provide the people with grain,
For so you have ordained it.
God you call forth songs of joy from all the earth
You drench its furrows and level its ridges;
You soften it with showers and bless its crops.
You crown the year with your bounty,
And your carts overflow with abundance.
God you call forth songs of joy from all the earth
The grasslands of the deserts overflow;
The hills are clothed with gladness.
The meadows are covered with flocks
And the valleys are mantled with grain;
They shout for joy and sing
God you call forth songs of joy from all the earth

Greening the CrossGreeningtheCross
(A joint worship service of the congregations of Capitol Drive, Divine Word, Good Shepherd and Pentecost Lutheran Churches. Sunday, April 26, 1998, in Milwaukee, Wis)

Earth Day liturgy (National Council of Churches)
The church is called to participate in God’s transformation of creation. Congregations and individuals have found ways they can address the challenges of climate change including: turning off lights and appliances to reduce their use of electricity and energy, choosing public transportation instead of single occupancy vehicles, and sharing their concerns about the environment with their neighbors, leaders of industries and their legislators.
But first of all, Christians are praying–praying for wisdom and strength to help restore and protect the wonderful gift of creation.
Call to Worship (from Psalm 19):
The heavens are telling the glory of God; and the firmament proclaims God’s handiwork.
Day to day pours forth speech, and night to night declares knowledge.
There is no speech, nor are there words; their voice is not heard.
Yet their voice goes out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world.
Litany for Creation:
Praise to you, O God, source of all waters. For vast oceans, flowing rivers, and gentle rains we give you thanks.
Forgive our careless waste and polluting ways.
Help us to cleanse, conserve, and share; teach us to care for the gift of water.
Come and heal your people. Come and heal the waters.
Praise to yoiu, O God, creator of the dry land. For mighty mountains, rolling hills, and fertile prairies we give you thanks.
Forgive our wanton greed and violent ways.
Help us to sow, till, and harvest with care; teach us to live gently on the land.
Come and heal your people. Come and heal the land.
Praise to you, O God, breath of life and maker of air. For wind and wave, breath and breeze, light and life we give you thanks.
Forgive our heedless acts and selfish ways.
Help us to live justly, simply, and wisely; teach us to care for the gift of air.
Come and heal your people. Come and heal the air.
Praise to you, O God, Lord and Giver of Life. Your love sustains planet earth and by your hand all things living are fed.
Forgive our neglect and abuse of your gifts.
Help us to serve, defend, defend and restore your creation.
Help us care for your people. Help us care for the earth.
Prayer of Confession
Creator of the earth and all living things, maker of the sky and the air and the breath of life, God of all that is: we are your servant people, created out of the clay of the earth itself. We forget that we are your creatures and we play at being gods. We neglect the work of stewardship that you have provided for our occupation and our joy. We have used, abused, and abandoned those things that you have created for your delight.
You have created a fragile world in a perfect and delicate balance. Thinking too much of our own importance we have upset the balance.
We ask your forgiveness, Holy and Righteous God. We yearn to join with the mountains and valleys, the rocks and the birds of the wild ocean waters in singing your praises. Amen
Declaration of Hope:
“Stand at the crossroads, and look, and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way lies; and walk in it, and find rest for your souls.” (Jeremiah 6:16)
We are standing at a crossroads. Together let us seek the good way and find rest for all of God’s creation.

The community of creation in a seed: a reflection by Randy Woodley

Music
Touch the earth lightly

 

 

About admin

Rev Sandy Boyce is a Uniting Church in Australia Minister (Deacon) in placement at Pilgrim Uniting Church, in Adelaide CBD (12 Flinders St). This blog is mainly to resource worship planners for our services, but of course may be useful for others. We have some great writers of music, words for hymns and liturgy at Pilgrim, so this blog also includes their words.
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