Great Thanksgiving for Earth Day

April 17th, 2018

The celebration of Earth Day each spring gives Christians an opportunity to consider God's good creation and our stewardship of it. This year, Earth Day falls on Sunday, April 22nd. This prayer, based on Genesis 1, would be appropriate for other times focused on creation as well, such as outdoor services and camp settings.

The following is excerpt from Just in Time! Pastoral Prayers in Public Places by F. Belton Joyner, Jr.

Christ is risen!

Christ is risen indeed!

Lift up your hearts.

We lift them up to the Lord.

Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.

It is right to give our thanks and praise.

It is right and a good and joyous thing,
always and everywhere
to give you praise, Creator of heaven and earth.
You took the formless chaos,
swept across it with your mighty Spirit,
and said, “Let there be light!” And there was light.
You separated the heavens and earth,
and brought forth trees and plants.
You set sun, moon, and stars in the heavens,
and called forth fish, birds, and all living creatures.
You made us, creatures of your own image,
to live in communion with you.

We long for relationship with you,
but in our humanness, we turn away.
Yet you remain steadfast,
calling us again and again to turn to you.
For your grace and for all your mercies toward us,
we join your people on earth
and all the company of heaven
in proclaiming your praise:

Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might.
Heaven and earth are full of your glory.
Hosanna in the highest!
Blessed is the One who comes in the name of the Lord.
Hosanna in the highest!

Holy are you and blessed is your son, Jesus Christ.

Your Spirit flowed through his life
as he became the bridge for our reconciliation.
In this time we remember his life and work.
We remember your gift of Baptism.
We reflect on the mystery of the cross.
We dare to ponder resurrection.

Especially we recall how Jesus took grain,
grown by your sunshine and rain,
ground by human hands into flour,
mixed with water and made into bread,
in honor of him who is the Bread of Life.
We recall how Jesus took the cup,
with grapes grown in your sunlight,
trod into juice for drinking,
that we might know you and never thirst again.

And taking bread and cup,
blessing and breaking them,
Jesus gave them new meaning 
as he said:

“Take, eat; this is my body.”
“Drink from this cup, all of you;
for this is my blood of the covenant,
which is poured out for the forgiveness of sins.”

In remembrance of all your mighty acts on our behalf,
we bring our whole selves to you,
as we proclaim the mystery of faith:

Christ has died; Christ is risen; Christ will come again.

Pour out your Spirit on these, the gifts of your creation:
grain, grapes, and us your children.
Make us see your touch in all of creation
and let us bring your light into every darkened shadow.
Through Jesus Christ, with the Holy Spirit,
all honor and glory is yours, Almighty God,
now and forever. Amen.

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