As we gather to celebrate Earth Day, we celebrate the beautiful gift of creation, the mystery and glory of nature, and the earth that has been put into the care of our hands. Let us remember that as keepers of this world it may mean that we need to give up some of our wants and needs to assure the survival of this earth. And so, together we pray for the strength and courage to carry this out.
How wonderful, O Lord, are the works of your hands!
The heavens declare Your glory,
the arch of the sky displays Your handiwork
In Your love You have given us the power
to behold the beauty of Your world
robed in all its splendor.
The sun and the stars, the valleys and the hills,
the rivers and the lakes all disclose Your presence.
The raring breakers of the sea tell of Your awesome might,
the beast of the field and the birds of the air
bespeak Your wondrous will.
In Your goodness You have made us able to hear
the music of the world.
The voices of the loved ones
Reveal to us that You are in our midst.
A divine voice sings through all creation.
Traditional Jewish prayer
Reader 3: A Reading from the Book of Deuteronomy.
For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land, a land with flowing streams, with springs and underground waters welling up in valleys and hills, a land of wheat and barley, of vines and fig trees and pomegranates, a land of olive trees and honey, a land where you may eat bread without scarcity, where you will lack nothing, a land whose stones are iron and from whose hills you may mine copper. You shall eat your fill and bless the Lord your God for the good land that he has given you.
Remembering we who enjoy the bounty of the earth are one with the earth and have not always been good stewards of this blessing, we reflect upon the words of Pope Benedict in his 2010 World Day of Peace message, whose theme was, "If You Want to Cultivate Peace, Protect Creation."
- We are all responsible for the protection and care of the environment. This responsibility knows no boundaries.
- We cannot remain indifferent to what is happening around us, for the deterioration of any one part of the planet affects us all.
- Our duties towards the environment flow from our duties towards the person, considered both individually and in relation to others.
- …many people experience peace and tranquility, renewal and reinvigoration, when they come into close contact with the beauty and harmony of nature.
- …as we care for creation, we realize that God, through creation, cares for us.
Earth teach me freedom
as the eagle which soars in the sky.
Earth teach me regeneration
as the seed which rises in the spring.
Earth teach me to forget myself
as melted snow forgets its life.
Earth teach me to remember kindness
as dry fields weep with rain. — Adapted from Ute prayer
Loving Creator, help us honor the earth, the gift of all life, and our oneness with You. Come Holy One, heal and renew the face of the earth as you heal and renew our hearts. Help us live out our faith by becoming better stewards of Your beautiful creation. In Your name we pray, Amen.