Season of creation – various

(see also resources on Earth Day)

New: World Council of Churches ‘Roadmap for congregations, communities and churches for an economy of life and ecological justice‘: An invitation to congregations, communities and churches to discuss a 5-step programme to change the way we deal with the economy and our ecological surroundings.

Beneath the continents the great artesian
seas are suffering. Replenishment
is overtaken by the works of human
hands. Anthropocene – no precedent
in time. A metaphor – these aquifers
transformed to deserts. Once the numinous
was near – essential things possessed our words,
and life was drawn without incurring loss.
Through common use, the holiness of things
descends much deeper in the ground beneath
our knees. To pray is difficult. Our wings
are clipped. Our soul is forfeit to the thief.
A thunderstorm? The sky above is clear.
A downpour in unseasonable years?
(Facebook post May 2019 by Australian Religious Response to Climate Change ARRCC)

Ark-jacking, our new mortal sin
On May 6, 2019 a Global Assessment released by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) announced that nearly one million species are at risk of extinction.
God looked out over the climate
and called for humans to build a great ark
so that the creatures, all creatures,
would be saved
from the danger to come.
In our day we invent grandiose arks
in hope to preserve
the human ways of life
of those who are most comfortable,
with the most access to power —
fracking, pesticides, genetic modification,
mountain-top removal coal mining,
habitat degradation,
overharvesting, overhunting, overfishing,
desertification, deforestation,
introduction of invasive species,
global warming,
pollution of land, air, water, space.
It is a great carbon butt-swath
mooning scientific reality,
but also faith,
and as the storm approaches,
I hear the hammers,
but they are not working day and night
for koalas,
river dolphins, mountain gorillas,
the fragile flying of bees.
(Source: Maren C. Tirabassi, Gifts in Open Hands)

Word of life,
God and sower of the seeds of the Kingdom,
Come and wreck the perfect lawn of our religion and life.
So the seeds of diversity,
That the deep faith ecology of the Kingdom,
Might take root and grow in us as individuals and community.
May we ever live out the messy and tangled, but thoroughly alive, faith ecosystem of your call to
and reconciliation,
That we might be like a forest floor,
Teaming with life,
Breaking down what is dead,
And nurturing growth.
Help us let go of our concepts of perfect religion,
And embrace the wildness of your way of faith and discipleship.
This we try to pray.
(Source: Jon Humphries, Prayers that Unite)

Water and Wind – We weep with the earth…
Wild waters ranging beyond banks and beaches,
Arid and thirsting tessellated clay pans,
Torrents, forging erratic rivers and
Empty billabongs, dusty with desire.
Relentless havoc or neglecting habitations,
A call of passion and a cry of poverty.
Now, God, we hear and feel and know and grieve
Desperate cries and calls we must not ignore,
Willing us to listen and respond
In a compassionate embrace of all creation.
Now, God, we listen and respond and think and understand,
Divesting ourselves of ignorance while opening ourselves to the pain.
We weep with the earth.
(posted on a weekly email from South Australian Council of Churches)

Prayer – Climate Change
Creator God,
breath and source of life,
in love you called the world into being
and in grace you made us and call us your children.
We stand in awe of the wonder of your creation:
its beauty and wildness;
complexity and power;
resilience and fragility.
God of life,
you call us to be participants in the web and wellspring of life:
to be nurtured by the planet;
to be nurturing of the planet;
to cherish the world and all that lives.
But we have failed and creation groans under our weight.
God of grace,
forgive us in our brokenness:
when we have taken too much from the earth;
when we have not spoken out against greed and destruction;
when we have allowed our most vulnerable neighbours to be harmed.
We seek courage and forgiveness to be made whole.
God of love,
we pray for those people, communities and nations already suffering the devastating effects of climate change; and we pray for the diversity of life on earth, so much of it already threatened by our actions.
God of hope,
we pray for political leaders.
Bless them with wisdom and creativity,
and a shared vision of hope for all creation.
May they find the determination
to take strong action to halt the destructive effects of climate change, and the political will to act together for the common good
Creator God,
we pray for us all,
that we might restore our relationships with each other and work together to heal the earth.
Renew us in your grace
for the sake of your creation. Amen.
(Source: Uniting Justice)

Prayer of praise and awe – Celebrating life
We respond in awe to our life in God’s realm.
The Essence of Creation encompasses us,
And is displayed from galaxy clusters eons away
to minuscule DNA messages within every cell.

The Initiator of all Nature’s laws and beauty
enables every wonder and power in the cosmos,
every tragedy and triumph, every comfort and cringe.
This Source of all resources initiates the ancient heritage of our lives,
and blesses the conclusion of our existence.
This YHWH instigates everything.

Discovering that we are integral within this cosmos,

We build our lives on the wisdom and stories of forbearers and prophets:[here mention any personal guiding influences, such as
Samuel, Ruth, Yeshua, Miriam, Francis, Martin, Karen, Desmond,
Malala, family, Pastors.]

We strive to return gratitude for our life,
Encouraging children, visiting the lonely, feeding the hungry,
offering compassion and wellness for those at loss,
calming the agitated, forgiving and even loving miscreants;
enjoying good friends, ever adoring intimate partners,
enhancing earth’s natural provisions and our own talents.
Thus we hope to bear exemplary spiritual fruits: Patience, Gentleness,
Faithfulness, Humility, Beauty, Peace, Joy, and Love.

As God’s Universe swirls about us
We simply inhale, inspired,
exuding light and truth to the benefit of all neighbours,
in praise and honour of our Origin.
(Source: Dave Mesh, March 2019 and posted on Progressive Christianity

“People usually consider walking on water or in thin air a miracle. But I think the real miracle is not to walk either on water or in thin air, but to walk on earth. Every day we are engaged in a miracle which we don’t even recognise: a blue sky, white clouds, green leaves, the black, curious eyes of a child – our own two eyes. All is a miracle.”
(Source: Thích Nhất Hạnh, Vietnamese monk)

Let Us Bless the Earth
Let us bless the Earth,
And all that is steady and firm.
Let us bless the Sky,
And all that is open and filled with light.
Let us bless their union,
Holy and without ceasing.
Let us bless their children,
The bounty of field and forest,
Stones, plants, animals, and all living things.
May the gifts of the Earth and Sky
Strengthen, refresh, nourish, and heal the peoples of the Earth. Amen.
(Source: by Eric Williams)


Resources from NZ for Season of Creation

Prayer of confession: Weapons of Massive Consumption
God who conceived creation,
And breathed it into being with the Word,
You have observed the eons pass,
You have seen the cosmos evolve,
And give rise to our humanity.
We have come to know of you and even to know you
But we fall so short in who we could be in relationship to you.
We fall out of relationship with you and creation,
We fall out of relationship with each other and ourselves.
In our small-minded self-interest,
In our self-centred drive for ever-increasing comfort,
In our pursuit of our wants and the illusion of power over the earth,
We have become the outsiders,
setting ourselves beyond the natural order of creation.
We are the only living things whose waste cannot be broken down
and reintegrated in the living cycle.
We have unrelentingly taken from the resources of the planet with a domineering mindset and a disregard for impact on the world or the future.
We have been the cause of desecration, degradation and destruction,
In our obsession with more and better.
We have become ecological weapons of massive consumption,
Destroying ecosystems,
Polluting the planet,
Decimating nature and its goodness an beauty,
Being responsible for death and extinction with little regard,
As we forge forward towards our own sinful death of this planet
and its ability for it to sustain us.
We, in the so-called developed world, have spread the cancer of our greed,
Failing to learn from indigenous cultures who live or have lived
in harmony with the planet.
We are responsible.
We have sinned against you, against creation,
against each other and against ourselves,
And for the most part we are unrepentant.
Forgive as you do,
But pierce us with your truth and grace,
Confront us with our sin, that we might repent and be transformed.
Creator God,
It almost seems that thigs are too late.
The cancer of our consumption is too advanced,
The damage has been done to a point of irreversibility.
Is there hope for redemption of what we have done,
Or all that can be done now is to wait for history to take its course
towards the final end of all things,
Where you will come and renew all of creation?
May this not be so.
May we be converted and transformed.
May we spread the gospel, not just for our salvation,
but for your call for the salvation of creation in this planet.
May we become agents of your healing.
May we work to change our ways through the inspiration of your Spirit,
Until we find our humble and responsible place once again in the natural order.
God of creation,
We pray for this world which we do not respect.
Heal our ignorance and apathy,
So that your will may be done.
This should be our prayer,
Not just now, but always.
(Source: Jon Humphries)

Helpful resources for Season of Creation included in this sample from Seasons/Fusion

“Each of the interconnected threads in a tapestry contributes to the beautiful pattern of the whole – so too in creation. This has huge implications for how we live on this planet, and for our theology and spirituality”.
(Source: Br. Kevin McDonnell)

“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)

Good and Gracious God,
Source of the evolving Universe,
Source of all Life,
All creation is charged with your Divine Energy.

Ignite your Spark within us,
That we may know ourselves
As truly human and holy,
Irrevocably part of the Web of Life.

All creation
– each star and every flower,
– each drop of water and every person,
– each and every atom, down to its very electrons,
explodes with the revelation
of your sacred mystery.

Our minds alone cannot fathom such splendor,
Our hearts can only respond in awe, praise and gratitude.

Forgive us, we pray, our ignorance
And insecurities which
– blind us to your Thumbprint writ large,
– deafen us to the sacred space
– between two heartbeats,
– prompt us in arrogance to demand and dominate,
– numb us to the destruction we’ve caused,
– hold us hostage to “either-or” thinking and living.

May we always walk gently upon this earth,
– in right relationship,
– nurtured by your Love,
– taking only what we need,
– giving back to the earth in gratitude,
– honoring all with reverence,
– reconciling and healing,
– mindful of those who will come after,
– recognizing our proper place as part of,
not apart from, your creation.

Grant us the strength and courage, we pray,
For such radical transformation into your Kin-dom.

The we, too, with the very stones will shout, “HOSANNA.”
(Source: Michelle Balek, OSF, Progressive Christianity)

‘“The Radiant Tapestry of Being” – a possible theme for Season of Creation.

Environment in Religion” by Vladamir Tomek

WCC’s Time for Creation is in the same time frame as Seasons of Creation in September each year.

Canticle of Daniel on Youtube by Don Stewart with visuals by Rob Hanks
Richard Rohr:
When he considered the primordial source of all things, [St. Francis] was filled with even more abundant piety, calling all creatures, no matter how small, by the name of brother and sister, because he knew they had the same source as himself. —Saint Bonaventure (1221-1274) [1]
If Christianity would have paid attention to the teachings and example of Jesus and Francis, our planet—“Mother Sister Earth,” as Francis called her—would perhaps be much healthier today. But it took until the 21st century for a pope to write an entire encyclical, Laudato Si’: On Care for Our Common Home, making this quite clear and demanding.
We have not honored God’s Presence in the elemental, physical world. We made God as small as our own constricted hearts. We just picked and chose, saying, “Oh, God is really only in my group, in baptized people, in moral people, etc.” Is there that little of an Infinite God to go around? Do we have to be stingy with God? As Isaiah put it “the arm of God is not too short to save!” (59:1). Why pretend only we deserve God, and not other groups, religions, animals, plants, the elements, Brother Sun, and Sister Moon? It just won’t sell any more.
God is saving creation and bringing all creatures back where they began—into union with their Creator. God loves everything that God has made! All created things God proclaimed “good” (see Genesis 1:9-31 and Wisdom 11:24-12:1). But we, with our small minds, can’t deal with that. We have to whittle God and Love into small parts that our minds can handle and portion out. Human love is conditional and operates out of a scarcity model. There’s not enough to go around, just like Andrew said about the boy’s five loaves and two small fish (John 6:9). Humans can’t conceptualize or even think infinite or eternal concepts. We cannot imagine Infinite Love, Infinite Goodness, or Infinite Mercy.
Tertullian, a third century Father of the Church, often called the first Christian theologian, said “enfleshment is the hinge of salvation.” [2] We don’t come to the God Mystery through concepts or theories but by connecting with what is—with God’s immediate, embodied presence which is all around us. I want you to begin to notice that almost all of Jesus’ common stories and examples are nature based and relationship based—and never once academic theory! (Fr. Thomas Berry [1914-2009] taught the same way in our time, and I hope to share his work much more in my writings and teachings in the future.)
We have not recognized the one Body of Christ in creation. Perhaps we just didn’t have the readiness or training. There is first of all the seeing, and then there is the recognizing; the second stage is called contemplation. We cannot afford to be blind any longer. We must learn to see and recognize how broad and deep the Presence is if we are to truly care for our common home.
[1] Bonaventure, The Life of Saint Francis, trans. Ewert Cousins (HarperCollins: 2005), 84.
[2] Tertullian, “Caro salutis est cardo,” from De resurrectione carnis (Treatise on the Resurrection), 8, 2.
Adapted from Richard Rohr, “The Christification of the Universe,” a homily at Holy Family Parish, August 16, 2016, Center for Action and Contemplation.

What a wonderful world (Louis Armstrong)

“The fullness of joy is to behold God in everything.”
~ Julian of Norwich

Walk among trees who do not judge you,
who travel seasons in perfect meekness.
Leave the drumbeat of blocks and apartments,
hours and trains, lines and squares,
and return to the rhythm of living things.
Observe beings who live the life they are given.
Go at a pace you won’t trip over roots
while looking up.
Listen to the conversation the sun has with the grasses,
watch its slow labor among the trees.
Let your life become as purposeful as any wild thing.
Stay long enough to shed the illusion
that you are superior, that you are separate,
that this is not also your flesh.
Let your breath, prairie wind, sea breeze,
—amazing gift, moment after moment!—
carry you through the day.
Your own organs, your hands, your eyes,
let them infest this day of work.
Earthling, be of this earth.
Let it have you.
(Source: Steve Garnaas-Holmes, Unfolding Light)

The ‘Earth’ Story
Presently this traditional story is dysfunctional in its larger social dimensions,
even though some believe it firmly and act according to its guidance.
Aware of the dysfunctional aspects of the traditional program,
some persons have moved on into different, often new-age, orientations,
which have consistently proven ineffective in dealing with our present life situation.
Even with advanced science and technology,
with superb techniques in manufacturing and commerce,
in communications and computation,
our secular society remains without satisfactory meaning or the social discipline needed
for a life leading to emotional, aesthetic, and spiritual fulfillment.
Because of this lack of satisfaction, many persons are returning to a religious fundamentalism But that, too, can be seen as inadequate to supply the values for sustaining our needed social discipline.
A radical reassessment of the human situation is needed,
especially concerning those basic values that give to life some satisfactory meaning.
We need something that will supply our times what was supplied formerly by our traditional religions story.
If we are to achieve this purpose, we must begin where everything in human affairs – with the basic story,
our narrative of how things came to be,
how they came to be as they are,
and how the future can be given some satisfying direction.
We need a story that will educate us, a story that will heal, guide, and discipline us. (Thomas Berry)

in morning stillness
I walk among you.
From dark earth beneath
you branch out above me.
From dark space beyond
you shine down among us.
In darkness hidden deep
your invisible angels
of bug and fungus fashion glory,
working their feast of rot and fermentation,
your millioned resurrections.
Your trees and I breathe each other,
in and out.
They branch out in me.
I breathe in them,
each breath a hymn.
I move through you,
the holy space between us;
the air of you is charged
with light, with birds, with praise.
Our flights are song,
our greenness is praise,
even our stones,
their silence your purest praise.
I waken to my belonging.
How could we
– even I –
ever stop
– even in death –
praising you?
(Source: Steve Garnaas-Holmes, Unfolding Light)

As long as the air was clean,
so was the rain;
as long as the land was unsoiled,
so was the stream;
as long as the stream was filtered,
so was the lake;
when we drank its water,
it cleared our throats.

River, you carry the melted snow from the peaks
the rain from the catchment and the lakes;
you purify the aquifers
feed the forests and farms
greening grass and budding leaves.

The gardener sang as he worked
in the cadence of creation
marrying the land and the river
in the fertility of his garden.

Swimming in the river’s rippling currents
he felt renewed and entranced
by its rare voice.
(Source: John Howell)

A collation of resources here on the original Season of Creation website.

Deep peace of the running wave to you
Deep peace of the flowing air to you
Deep peace of the quiet earth to you
Deep peace of the shining stars to you
Deep peace of the Son of peace to you
(Source: Fiona Macleod, owing credit to John Rutter)

Lord God, we know you are our creator.
You created us in your own image.
You gave us responsibility of dominion over the earth and all in it.
We repent that we have not been good stewards of your creation.
We have caused global warming through burning fossil fuels,
we have cut down a lot of trees without replacing them,
we have advanced in technology and increased in population,
hence manufacturing machines that pollute your nature,
we have constantly benefitted from the natural resources and in return giving nothing back.
Lord, grant us your wisdom, so that we may turn back and preserve our environment.
Help us to always stick to the proper use of the natural resources
so that we do not continually harm climate.
We ask all of these in Jesus name,
(Source” Rev Emmanuel Ngambeki, Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania, Karagwe Diocese, Tanzania)

Prayer from Indonesia
We ruin life by starting the fire in our woods
We replace the fresh air with smoke
We poison our clean water and bath our children with waste We killed our grandchildren by inheriting them poison and pest God, have mercy on us
O God, we are ignoring the natural disaster, but nature is you.
We are speechless, afraid of the laws abusing the nature. And we are scared of YOU.
And even a church as your body, often keeps quiet looking for a safe place.
O God we are waiting for the new the heaven and earth where the truth and justice belong to all your creation
O God, have a mercy of Lord
(Source: Karo Batak Protestant Church (GBKP), Worship, Medan, Indonesia, 2012)

Christine Valters Painter’s book, Water, Wind, Earth, and Fire : The Christian Practice of Praying with the Elements, may be a useful resource (with a focus on the elements of water, wind, earth fire during Season of Creation).
Note: Pilgrim UC used this resource for 2016 Season of Creation series

William Wallace (New Zealand) has prepared a ‘Mass of the Universe‘ with all the text and music – could be worth considering for the opening Sunday or closing Sunday of the month set aside for Seasons of Creation. Ideally it will need some advance notice for preparation of the music with cantors, small choir etc. Definitely worth checking out.

The earth is at the same time mother,
she is mother of all that is natural,
mother of all that is human,
She is the mother of all,
for contained in her
aret he seeds of all.
The earth of humankind
contains all moistness,
all verdancy,
all germinating power.
It is in so many ways fruitful.
All creation comes from it.
Yet it forms not only the basic
raw material for humankind,
but also the substance
of the incarnation
of God’s son.
Hildegard of Bingen, c. 1125

In The Gift of Wonder,Christine Sine talks about the practice of Lectio Tierra, a great way to attune our senses to the wonder of God. This practice is similar to Lectio Divina from which it is adapted. “As I wander through the forest, brush against my lavender or listen to the music of water cascading over rocks, my senses are awakened to”read” God’s presence. Anything that catches my attention and shimmers with the presence of God provides fuel for reflection”. Could be a ‘take home’ resource, or incorporated into ‘stations’ for a Season of Creation service. More here. has online resources for each Sunday in Season of Creation.

Uniting Earth Web has great resources online for Seasons of Creation.

Uniting Church WA produces resources for ‘Sustainable September‘ each year.

A great video clip (4.58 mins) – She’s Alive, beautiful, finite, dying, worth dying for –  could be shown during a service. The blurb: “It was made to highlight the fact that world leaders, irresponsible corporates and mindless ‘consumers’ are combining to destroy life on earth. It is dedicated to all who died fighting for the planet and those whose lives are on the line today. The cut was put together by Vivek Chauhan, a young film maker, together with naturalists working with the Sanctuary Asia network ( The principal source for the footage was Yann Arthus-Bertrand’s incredible film HOME The music was by Armand Amar. Credit and thanks to Greenpeace and”

Lord of life,
Things are not as they should be.
Our world is not as you intended.
We have overreached our place in the world.
We have upset the balance of nature.
We do not live in harmony with the environment.
We have exploited our planet.
Our devouring of resources is unnatural.
Our excesses are overbearing
Our destruction of the wild places is abhorrent
Our ignorance of the damage resulting from our lifestyle is inexcusable
We should be sorry.
We know the facts.
We have seen the effects.
But little do we change.
Do not forgive our token gestures.
Hold us accountable until we repent.
Disabuse us of our perverted selfish ways.
Grant us the shocking vision of the truth.
But also call us to your purpose.
Awaken in us the seeds of change.
Help us take up our responsibility.
Show us how to make amends.
Join us to your mission,
That our world may be renewed.
That we may be redeemed.
That the Creating Christ may be served.
In his name.
Amen. (c) Jon Humphries


“During a 2009 countrywide drought in India, when I visited Navdanya farmers in different parts of the country, I found their crops had not suffered, because they were using locally adapted seeds, and their soils had water-holding capacity because of organic manuring. Farmers using Green Revolution, fertilizer-intensive varieties, or GMO Bt cotton, had a crop failure because neither the seed nor the soil was drought resilient.
Growing diversity and growing organic have become necessary for adapting our soils to climate change. Supporting healthy soils is the most effective way to get carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere. Soils with organic matter are more resilient to drought and climate extremes. Biodiversity-intensive systems – which are, in effect, photosynthesis-intensive systems – drive carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere and into plants and then into the soil. Soil, not oil, holds the future for humanity.”
(Source: Vandana Shiva, ‘Who Really Feeds the World?’)

Creation and communion liturgy
A Liturgy of Creation and Communion – John Van De Laar

Opening prayer (includes acknowledgement of land)
We give thanks for creation:
its vibrant genesis and evolution
its wonder and mystery
its delicacy and strength
its wordless word
it’s yes!
We give thanks for the Kaurna people who nurtured this land:
for their stories of the dreaming
for their connection with the sacred
for their yes!
We give thanks for the gift of this community:
for calling us to be present to one another
for the mystery of grace in our lives
for your yes!

Dear God, there are times
when I hear your voice most clearly
in greenness: in the singing of sap,
the conversation of the leaves, the whisperings
of shoot and stem, root, sap and cell,
calling me back to creation
to feel again the freshness of you
running through everything
like a bright emerald current.

God of greenness, you know well my tendency
to fill my life with my own methods of communication.
Thank you for constantly returning me to the simplicity of yours.
Again I experience you in the rejoicing
of bare feet on a damp forest path,
in the wonder of light thrown against
a kaleidoscope of tree ferns,
in the myriad textures of moss-clad trees,
in the shining of you beneath every surface.

Beloved Creator, coming to our greenness
is always a coming home,
a time of peace and grace
as the unimportant in me falls away
and I know again that bright green shoot
of my own beginning
which comes from you
and is one with you,
bright and beautiful God.                Source: WCC website

Practice: Conversations with Nature (Richard Rohr)
Although creation may be “wordless,” we can still dialogue with it as St. Francis did. Bill Plotkin suggests a practice of “talking across the species boundaries” in his book Soulcraft that expands upon last week’s contemplative practice of presence to Presence within an ordinary object:
Go wandering [in nature]. Bring your journal. . . . Wander aimlessly until you feel called by something that draws your attention, by way of an attraction, a curiosity, an allurement, a repulsion, a fear. . . . Whatever it is, sit and observe it closely for a good length of time. Interact with your senses, offer your full visual and aural attention to the Other. Record in your journal what you observe.
Then introduce yourself, out loud—yes, out loud. . . . Tell this being about yourself. . . . Tell the truth, your deepest, most intimate truth. In addition to ordinary human language, you might choose to speak with song, poetry . . . movement, gesture, dance. Then, using the same speech options, tell that being everything about it you have noticed. . . . Keep communicating no matter what . . . until it interrupts you.
Then stop and listen. Listen with your ears, eyes, nose, skin, intuition, feeling, and imagination. . . . In your journal, record and/or draw what happens. Offer the Other your gratitude and a gift . . . a song, a dance, a lock of hair, praise . . . some water. . . .
Enter your conversations with the Others with the intention of learning about them and developing a relationship, but don’t be surprised if you thereby discover more about yourself. [1] And, I would add, more about God who created them.
Gateway to Silence: Brother Sun, Sister Moon, help me see God in all things.
Reference: [1] Bill Plotkin, Soulcraft: Crossing into the Mysteries of Nature and Psyche (New World Library: 2003), 168-169.
(quote is from Richard Rohr, A New Cosmology: Nature as the First Bible CD and MP3 download ; Richard Rohr and Bill Plotkin, Soul Centering through Nature: Becoming a True Human Adult, CD and MP3 download)

Great Chain of Being (reflections by Richard Rohr)
I would like to reclaim an ancient, evolving, and very Franciscan metaphor—the Great Chain of Being—to name the nature of the universe, God, and the self, and to direct our future thinking.
Using this image, medieval theologians tried to communicate a linked and coherent world. The essential and unbreakable links in the chain include the Divine Creator, the angelic heavenly host, the human, the animal, the world of plants and vegetation, and planet Earth itself with its minerals and waters. In themselves and in their union together the links proclaim the glory of God (see Psalm 104) and the inherent dignity of all things. This image became the ontological basis for calling anything and everything sacred. Without it, the idea of “sacred” is subject to the feelings and whims of the individual.
Saint Bonaventure, who is called the second founder of the Franciscan Order, took Francis of Assisi’s intuitive genius and spelled it out into an entire philosophy. He wrote: “The magnitude of things . . . clearly manifests . . . the wisdom and goodness of the triune God, who by power, presence and essence exists uncircumscribed in all things.” [1] God is “within all things but not enclosed; outside all things, but not excluded; above all things, but not aloof; below all things, but not debased.” [2] Bonaventure spoke of God as one “whose center is everywhere and whose circumference is nowhere.” [3] Therefore the origin, magnitude, multitude, beauty, fullness, activity, and order of all created things are the very “footprints” and “fingerprints” (vestigia) of God. Now that is quite a lovely and very safe universe to live in. Welcome home!
Bonaventure said further:
Therefore, open your eyes, alert the ears of your spirit, open your lips and apply your heart so that in all creatures you may see, hear, praise, love and worship, glorify and honor your God, lest the whole world rise against you. [4]
It is hard to imagine how different the last seven hundred years might have been if this truly catholic (kata holos, or “according to the whole”) vision had formed more Christians. Instead, our seeing has been partial and usually prejudicial. We have hardly seen at all. The individual decided where and if God’s image would be recognized and honored.
The primary losers according to this labeling system were “sinners,” variously defined: heretics defined by the empowered group; witches, usually defined by males; Muslims and Jews; indigenous peoples and religions; buffalo, whales, and elephants; land, water, and air itself. Finally, the Divine Presence ended up being almost nowhere except in gatherings of our own small group—and even there we had levels of worthiness! No wonder we live in a secular and empty world where hardly anything seems sacred.
How can we call ourselves monotheists if we cannot see that “one God” unites our world? How can we call ourselves Christians if we don’t believe that being “Christ-like” means loving “the least of the brothers and sisters” (Matthew 25:40)?
Once the Great Chain was broken, and even one link withdrawn, the whole catholic/universal vision collapsed. It seems that we either honor God in all things or we soon lose the basis for seeing God in anything.
Gateway to Silence:
Praised be You, my Lord, through all your creatures. —Francis of Assisi
[1] Bonaventure, Bonaventure: The Soul’s Journey to God, 1, 14, trans. Ewert Cousins (Paulist Press: 1978), 65.
[2] Ibid., 5, 8, 100ff.
[3] Ibid., 5, 8, 100.
[4] Ibid., 1, 15, 67-68.
Adapted from Richard Rohr with John Feister, Hope Against Darkness: The Transforming Vision of Saint Francis in an Age of Anxiety (Franciscan Media: 2001), 135-137.


Wake, Now My Senses (Tune: Slane, 10 10 10 10, 547 TiS)
Wake, now my senses, and hear the earth call;
feel the deep power of being in all;
keep, with the web of creation your vow,
giving, receiving as love shows us how.

Wake, now my reason, reach out to the new,
join with each pilgrim who quests for the true;
honour the beauty and wisdom of time;
suffer your limit, and praise the sublime.

Wake, now compassion, give heed to the cry;
voices of suffering fill the wide sky;
take as your neighbour both stranger and friend,
praying and striving their hardship to end.

Wake, now my conscience, with justice your guide;
join with all people whose rights are denied;
take not for granted a privileged place;
God’s love embraces the whole human race.

Wake, now my vision of ministry clear;
brighten my pathway with radiance here;
mingle my calling with all who will share;
work toward a planet transformed by our care.
(Words: Thomas J S Mikelson)

We’re standing here on holy ground” (Tune: ‘Ellacombe(2)’, 86 86D,  453 TiS)
We’re standing here on holy ground,
on land your hand has made;
Your art displayed in timeless rocks,
in purple haze and space;
Its mighty gums and feathery ferns
your beauty magnify.
Tread softly then, in awe reflect,
and listen to the land.

We’re standing here on holy ground,
on land which ancients trod.
They wrote your law in hills and streams
in rocks and caves and trees;
A law to tell us who we are,
to guide and make us strong.
Tread gently then, respect the earth,
remember whence we’ve come.

We’re standing here on holy ground,
on land that toil has shaped.
It’s fertile plains will feed us all,
when tilled with care and love.
But mindless greed and drought and flood
wreak havoc in the land.
Then let us tread with love the earth,
that’s fed us faithfully.

We’re standing here on holy ground,
on land we long to share,
Where each has space and equity,
and neither want nor fear
But demons fierce are dancing here
of race and greed and hate.
Engrave upon our wills, we pray,
your ancient covenant law.

We’re standing here on holy ground,
we seek your rule on earth;
Your will be done in politics,
in law court, market, church;
Your gentleness among us reign,
and each one dwell secure;
May generations yet unborn,
live here in harmony.  © JBrown. (Adapted – Verses 1-2, 4-6)

For the Beauty of the Earth (Tune: ‘Dix’, 77 77 77) 21 SLT
For the beauty of the earth,
for the splendour of the skies,
for the love which from our birth
over and around us lies:

Source of all,
to thee we raise this
our hymn of grateful praise.

For the joy of ear and eye,
for the heart and mind’s delight,
for the mystic harmony
linking sense to sound and sight:

For the wonder of each hour
of the day and of the night,
hill and vale and tree and flower,
sun and moon and stars of light:

For the joy of human care,
sister, brother, parent, child,
for the kinship we all share,
for all gentle thought and mild:
Source of all,
to thee we raise this
our hymn of grateful praise.
(Source: FSPierpoint/adapt)

The Universe in God
(Tune: “Praise my soul”, 87 87 87. 179 TiS)
All creation sings a story
Of great splendours to declare.
When we contemplate its beauty
We are called forth into prayer.
We, enchanted, stand in silence;
God discovered everywhere.

When we stumble on new knowledge,
When new insights help us grow,
We are quick to re-discover
Just how much we do not know.
But the Universe smiles gently,
As our theories come and go.

Outer space and inner being
Both have secrets they conceal.
Galaxies so grimly awesome,
Deep emotions that we feel –
All in God are judged as sacred;
It is God they all reveal.

Ageless mysteries still excite us;
Time and space we must explore.
God the ‘Presence’ and ‘Surrounding’,
God the ever wondrous ‘More’
Is not found by science labours,
But in praise when we adore.
(Source: George Stuart)

Song: Sing praise to God and mountain tops (sample: music and lyrics on Hymnary)

Don’t Fear, You Good Earth
FOUNDATION (“How Firm a Foundation”)
“Do not fear, O soil; be glad and rejoice, for the LORD has done great things!… Do not fear, you animals of the field, for the pastures of the wilderness are green; the tree bears its fruit, the fig tree and vine give their full yield…” Joel 2:21-23

Don’t fear, you good earth; now rejoice! Have you heard?
The Lord has created you by his own word.
Don’t fear, all you fields for God sends you the rain.
The farms overflow with the wine, oil and grain.

Don’t fear, all you creatures who live in the field;
The pastures are rich and they give their full yield.
You creatures, now sing— for the meadows are green;
Around us, good gifts of creation are seen!

O God, as the prophet proclaimed long ago,
You care for your earth and your gifts overflow.
Though sin leads to things that disrupt and destroy,
You work to redeem and to bring life and joy.

This season, we gather to thank you and say:
O God, you continue to bless us today!
May we who’ve been blessed by the gifts of your hand
Now care for the water, the air and the land.

Tune: Traditional American melody (“How Firm a Foundation”)
Text: Copyright © 2018 by Carolyn Winfrey Gillette. All rights reserved.
Email: New Hymns:

Season of Creation.Week1 Water.printed service

Communion liturgy by John van de Laar

Communion – Season of Creation
Open hearts and spirits to the Holy One
who invites us to this meal.
Taste the earth-borne gifts
that bare the communion of Christ’s presence.
Grains drawn from soil,
milled and mixed,
kneaded and baked,
form the loaf of our common life.
Grapes plucked and pressed,
strained and aged,
fill the cup of our common hope.
All these, all of us,
fearfully and wonderfully made by God:
All these, all of us,
gathered to celebrate the mystery of presence
in this communion and in all of life

Gracious God, ever-creating,
with all of creation we look to you.
We look to you as the One
from whom all things have sparked:
from sub-atomic particles to forested slopes,
from strands of DNA to the deepest ocean trenches.
We look to you as the One
in whom all life holds together:
from the delicate balancing
of soil and water and oxygen and light, to the delicate balancing
of personalities and faith and values.
We look to you as the One
who fashions this table in multiple places but with singular purpose:
to offer invite and gather all,
to offer unlimited forgiveness,
to offer vocation with Christ.
May all creation be blessed in this meal
a reminder of life shared with and for others, and of community fashioned,
not on the basis of our differences,
but by the truth that all are one in you. Amen.
(Source: online sample of SeasonsFUSION)

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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