Outdoor Service for Creationtide

OUTDOOR SERVICE FOR CREATIONTIDE - TUESDAY 8 SEPTEMBER AT 4.30PM

ORDER OF SERVICE

OPENING PRAYER

Praise be to the Holy Trinity! God is sound and life, Creator of the Universe,
Source of all life, whom the angels sing; wondrous Light of all mysteries known
or unknown to humankind, and life that lives in all. 
                                                                     (Hildegard of Bingen, 13th Century) 

OPENING SENTENCES

We gather in the name of the God the Father,
Creator of the earth, sea and sky, and source of all being; 
in the name of the God the Son,
the Redeemer who reconciles all of creation;
and in the presence of the Holy Spirit 
the Sustainer who inspires and nurtures life.

We have come here today
to thank God for the beauty and diversity
of the world he has made,
to wonder at the intricacy and splendour
of plants and flowers, animals, insects and birds,
and to acknowledge our responsibility
as stewards of his creation,
so that by his grace and power
we may be enabled to further
his universal reign of peace.

HYMN - How great thou art

PSALM

Bless the Lord, O my soul.
O Lord my God, you are very great.
You are clothed with honour and majesty,
wrapped in light as with a garment.

You make springs gush forth in the valleys;
they flow between the hills,
giving drink to every wild animal;
the wild asses quench their thirst.

By the streams the birds of the air have their habitation;
they sing among the branches.

You cause the grass to grow for the cattle,
and plants for people to use,
To bring forth food from the earth,
and wine to gladden the human heart,
oil to make the face shine,
and bread to strengthen the human heart.

The trees of the Lord are watered abundantly,
the cedars of Lebanon that he planted.
In them the birds built their nests;
the stork has its home in the fir trees.

The high mountains are for the wild goats;
the rocks are a refuge for the coneys.
O Lord, how manifold are your works!

In wisdom you have made them all;
the earth is full of your creatures.
When you send forth your spirit, they are created;
and you renew the face of the earth.

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.

Bless the Lord, O my soul.
Praise the Lord.
                                
from Psalm 104

CONFESSION

We praise you God, for the Earth that sustains life.
Through the planetary cycles of days and seasons, renewal and growth,
you open your hand to give all creatures our food in the proper time.
But today our living is pushing the planet beyond its limits.
Our demand for growth, and the cycle of production and consumption to fulfil it,
are exhausting and polluting our world.
The forests are leached, the topsoil erodes, the fields fail,
the deserts advance, the seas rise and fill with plastic, the storms intensify.
Humans and animals are forced to flee in search of security,
and those least responsible are the worst affected.
And so we come to you in penitence and faith:

We confess to you, God of mercy and justice,
our demand that the Earth produce beyond its limits,
and our over-consumption of food and energy.
We confess to thinking of creation as a given, instead of a gift,
and our failure to share its fruits fairly
.
When we fail to cherish the Earth, our fragile home, change us.
When we fail to love the poor and oppressed, forgive us.
Deliver us from lifestyles that pollute and exploit,
that we may allow the Earth to heal.
Give us time, O God, even at this late hour,
to change, to turn away from destruction and back to you.
Free us to imagine a life reconciled to the Earth and all creatures,
through the good news of Jesus Christ, in whose name we pray.  Amen.

May the God of love and power
forgive us and free us from our sins,
heal and strengthen us by his Spirit,
and raise us to new life in Christ our Lord.
Amen.

READING - Job 12:7-10

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 God has done this?
In God’s hand is the life of every living thing
and the breath of every human being.

A TIME FOR REFLECTION

During this time (5 minutes), feel free to walk around the garden or just to sit quietly, perhaps focussing on one particular plant or creature. If you are joining us on Zoom and are a pet owner, you might like to have your animal with you. Alternatively simply hold something from the natural world in your hand and focus on one thing that draws your notice – a leaf, flower, twig or stone.

Apprehend God in all things, for God is in all things. Every single creature is full of God and is a book about God. Every creature is a word of God. If I spent enough time with the tiniest creature - even a caterpillar - I would never have to prepare a sermon. So full of God is every creature.                                                                                                                                                                   (Meister Eckhart)

‘PRAYING’ by Mary Oliver

It doesn’t have to be
the blue iris, it could be
weeds in a vacant lot, or a few
small stones; just
pay attention, then patch
a few words together and don’t try
to make them elaborate, this isn’t
a contest but the doorway
into thanks, and a silence in which
another voice may speak.

PRAYERS

A PRAYER FOR THE EARTH (from Pope Francis: Laudato Si)

Bring healing to our lives, that we may protect the world and not prey on it,
that we may sow beauty, not pollution and destruction.
Touch the hearts of those who look only for gain at the expense of the poor and the earth.
Teach us to discover the worth of each thing, to be filled with awe and contemplation,
to recognize that we are profoundly united with every creature as we journey towards your infinite light.
We thank you for being with us each day.
Encourage us, we pray, in our struggle for justice, love and peace.
Amen.

THE LORD'S PRAYER

Our Father, who art in Heaven,
hallowed be thy Name,
thy kingdom come,
thy will be done,
on Earth as it is in Heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
the power, and the glory,
for ever and ever. Amen.

HYMN - All Creatures of our God and King

BLESSING

May God who established the dance of creation,
Who marvelled at the lilies of the field,
Who transforms chaos to order,
Lead us to transform our lives and the Church
To reflect God’s glory in creation.
And the blessing of God almighty,
the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit,
be with us all ever more, Amen.

DISMISSAL

Go in peace.
Be good stewards of the creation.
Live in harmony with all things living.

All: Thanks be to God.