Liturgy — Keep it in the ground, Earth Day Liturgy

I was invited to share some liturgy this month for the theme”Keep it in the ground” which is the United Church of Christ focus for this year’s Earth Day and I wanted to share some of the pieces here — for this month or other occasions that remember the damage that is and will be done if fossil fuels are removed. The last litany was written earlier this year to interrupt a political gathering and is not original to this month’s work. 

Blessing

May God bless and keep in the ground –
the roots of old forests,
the bulbs of next year’s flowers,
and fossil fuels —
hallowed resting places
of trees that clapped their hands
and creatures of the sea
that sported in the morning
of the shining face of God.

And may God lift up the light
of a loving countenance upon you
who care for this earth —
for this time forth
and the children’s forevermore.
(scriptures used Numbers 6:22-24; Isaiah 55:12 and Psalm 104:26)

Prayer — Honey in the Rock

God, you have put honey in every rock –
coal, the grandmother of diamonds,
oil, meant as a symbol of unity,
not a source of violence,
shale and sandstone, limestone and dolomites.

God, you have put honey in the rocks of ages.
Withhold our hands from fracture and poison
and teach us to find you, the Living Stone,
beneath our feet. Amen
(scriptures used Psalms 81:16; Psalm 133; 1 Peter 2:4-6)

Prayer — Cleft in the Rock

God, in the cleft of the rocks
we see the back of your glory, the abundance of your goodness,
the creation we celebrate, sustain and leave as a blessing
for seven generations of our children.

Cover us with your hand, O God,
that our greed for glory does not steal the hope of the earth. Amen.

(scripture Exodus 33:17-23. The “7th generation” principle common to many indigenous Nations and codified in the Iroquois Great Law of Peace suggests every decision be judged by how it will affect descendents seven generations into the future. The use of 7th generation has also been used in a negative sense to define the 7 generations of energy entitlement and the profligate burning of fossil fuel resources.)

Prayer of Confession and Assurance of Grace based on Psalm 130

Out of the depths we cry, O God.
From the depths we have taken oil
for progress and possibilities
and brought the earth to the brink of death.

Out of the depths we cry, O God,
but there is forgiveness with you.

From the depths we have taken coal,
exhausting veins and darkening the sky.

Out of the depths we cry, O God,
but there is forgiveness with you.

From the depths our fracking
has poisoned groundwater,
shifted fault lines,
breathed radon in children’s faces.

Out of the depths we cry, O God,
but there is forgiveness with you.

From the depths we have piped
gas and oil across the lands of others,
burned tar sands, mined frac sands,
released methane and heated
the future of God’s creation.

Bless the depths, O God,
that they may retain their integrity —
the hope of your people,
those who watch for the morning
of the children’s new day. Amen

Assurance of Grace
Out of the depths we hope in God, who has the power to redeem us
and teaches us to redeem power itself.

Improv on Psalm 121 for Mountain Top Removal Mining

We will lift up our eyes to the mountains
for they need our help.
Their help comes from God
who made streams and forest,

and their help comes from us.

We will not suffer their peaks
to be exploded for coal
We will not slumber while overburden
is cast into their valleys.

Stewards will not slumber
while topsoil is stripped
nor sleep while the habitat of children
and wildlife is destroyed.

God has made us keepers
of creation and community.

God blows the wind for clean energy
and we create jobs that harness it.

The air will not be polluted by day
nor waterways poisoned by night.

We will preserve Appalachia
from the devastation of its culture,
and its foothills from flood.

And God will keep these mountains
in their birdsong dawn
until the sunset of bear and fox,
from this time forth and forevermore.

Keep it in the ground

God’s realm is like treasure hidden in a field, which someone found and hid; then in joy goes and sells everything and buys that field. Matthew 13:44

Treasure hidden in a field
that Jesus’ parable celebrates
is not some pirate’s loot,
is not some hoarder’s bounty –
big barns are the metaphor there.

One who was the Word
and life and light of the world —
was present to love
the very leaves of the trees
that became the coal,
and laugh at the playful antics
of the creatures of the sea
that became the oil.

And the Word could also see us,
the blessed but also glutted
users of so much
of this underground bounty,
and so asks us to treat it as treasure –

found and then left untouched,
as much as we can —
worth everything to keep it there
and save the earth
for children yet to be born.

Job speaks of Mining … Responsive Reading

Job speaks: They put their hand to the flinty rock,
and overturn mountains by the roots.

But where shall wisdom be found?
not in the mining of coal,
drilling for natural gas, fracking for oil.

They cut out channels in the rocks,
and their eyes see every precious thing.

But where shall wisdom be found?
not in the mining of coal,
drilling for natural gas, fracking for oil.

The sources of the rivers they probe;
hidden things they bring to light.

But where shall wisdom be found?
not in the mining of coal,
drilling for natural gas, fracking for oil.

God asks: But where shall wisdom be found?
And where is the place of understanding?
Mortals do not know the way to it,
and it is not found in the land of the living.
The deep says, “It is not in me”,
and the sea says, “It is not with me.”
It cannot be bought for gold,
and silver cannot be weighed out as its price.

No, it cannot be bought for gold.
And euro, pound, dinar, lat, dollar, yen
will never be counted as its price.

Surely God looks to the ends of the earth,
and sees everything under the heavens.
God gave to the wind its weight,
and apportioned out the waters by measure.

In the awe of God is found wisdom;
To depart from doing evil to God’s creation –
that is understanding.
(Leader’s lines are taken directly from Job 28)

Litany of Intercession for the Impact of Fossil Fuels

We pray for minds and hearts open to issues of climate justice, God of all creation …

Hear our prayer.

We pray for safety, well-being, and new hope for the poor and vulnerable, those most adversely affected in health and employment by climate change and fossil fuel extraction, God of all creation …

Hear our prayer.

We pray for those negatively impacted by fracking, by mountaintop removal coal mining, by natural gas pipelines, by off-shore oil drilling, God of all creation …

Hear our prayer.

We pray for the earth damaged, for creatures endangered, for vegetation altered by the effects of massive consumption of fossil fuels, God of all creation …

Hear our prayer.

We pray for children now living and those yet to be born to a heritage of spill, slurry and sludge, of cancer and hunger, of fossil fuel driven disparity in economic status and the loss of beauty, God of all creation …

Hear our prayer.

We pray for minds and hearts open here and everywhere to issues of climate justice, God of all creation …

Hear our prayer

Advertisements
This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Liturgy — Keep it in the ground, Earth Day Liturgy

  1. Earth is our ultimate worship center. We would not deface a church sanctuary. Yet, we disrespect our Earth with profane acts of disregard. Thank you for keeping us aware of our thoughtless acts and the consequences of these actions.

  2. fosteringyourfaith says:

    Thank you for these wonderful resources! We will be using some of these during our Earth Day worship at the end of April. Thank you for helping to raise awareness.

  3. Maren says:

    Thank you for using it and glad that something interfaces with your plans.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s