Good God, Creator of the world, draw us into prayer and celebration as we gather to remember the gifts of your earth and the stewardship you have entrusted to us.
Let us rejoice in 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.
We praise you for this creation and listen to the words of the Psalmist:
"God speaks: the heavens are made;
God breathes: the stars shine.
God bottles the waters of the sea
and stores them in the deep:
All earth, be astounded;
stand in awe of God."
A reading from the book of Job.
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 the Lord has done this? In [the Lord's] hand is the life of every living thing and the breath of every human being.
Pope Benedict has offered much teaching about our responsibility to care for creation. In a 2011 address he urged action, saying, "Adopting a lifestyle that respects our environment and supports the research and use of clean energies that preserve the patrimony of creation and that are safe for human beings should be given political and economic priority." He called for a "change in mentality" in order to "quickly arrive at a global lifestyle that respects the covenant between humanity and nature, without which the human family risks disappearing." Global ecology is a theme he has offered before, including in his 2009 encyclical "Caritas in Veritate," where he writes, "The environment is God's gift to everyone, and in our use of it we have a responsibility towards the poor, towards future generations and towards humanity as a whole."
Let us all reflect on our call to be good stewards of the earth. And, let us consider how the earth is a gift to the entire global community as we listen to words from a Native American Earth Healing Ceremony:
May there be good health and healing for this Earth,
May there be Beauty above me, May there be Beauty below me,
May there be Beauty in me, May there be Beauty all around me.
I ask that this world be filled with Peace, Love, and Beauty.
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.