You are here

WORLD ENVIRONMENT DAY Prayer June 5, 2009

This prayer unfolds in three movements: celebration, lamentation, response.  Adapt.  Be creative in your use of music, drama and space.  Choose from among the scripture offerings.  Or you might choose to pray one movement each day.

Setting:  might you choose a location for this prayer where our hearts and minds, sight, touch and hearing will be moved to conversion?  Where in your local place is the environment suffering?

Opening Song

Opening Prayer
Gracious God, we gather today with people everywhere to observe World Environment Day. 

You call us to be in solidarity – through our prayer and actions – with people adversely affected by climate change. 

We recognize that Earth will only be our home as long as we learn to respect and care for the whole community of life and learn humility about our place in it, that we take action to protect and restore the integrity of life systems, and that we work for sustainable development for all people.

Change our hearts.  Fill our hearts with a burning desire for your ‘kingdom’ where you live and reign for ever and ever, Amen.

Movement I:    Celebration

Earth ( plant and animal life )
Gen.1:9-12, 24-25;  Job 12:7-10;  Num 35:33-34 
R. God saw that it was good. ( could be sung )

Fire (sun and moon and light)
Gen.1:3,14-19;  Acts 2:1-4;  Heb. 12:29;  Ex. 3:1-6; 13:18,21-22
R. God saw that it was good

Wind  ( life and spirit and breath )
Ezek. 37:5;  Ps. 104:3-4;  Acts 2:1-4
R. God saw that it was good

Water  ( seas and rivers and oceans and all water creatures )
Gen. 1:9, 20-23;  Isa. 44:3a; 55:1;  2Kg. 5:14;  Rev. 22:1-3
R. God saw that it was good

Human Life  ( woman and man )
Gen. 1:27; 2:7, 18, 21-22;  
R. God saw that it was good

PAUSE for silence / sharing / response – perhaps Pss. 19:1-7 or 104 or 148

Movement II:    Lamentation

Scripture:      Num. 35:33-34; Isa. 24:4-6;  Ezek. 34:1-22 (or 17-18);  Rom. 8:22

Sung response after each:  Lord have mercy

  • We have increased our dependence on and use of non-renewable energy.  Many of us prefer cars to public transportation.  We increase rather than decrease our carbon footprint.
  • We continue to use water as a commodity while 2/3 of the world population lives with water scarcity or stress.
  • We destroy many of our forests and mismanage others.
  • Our tropical forests and coral reefs are under threat from human activity, and yet both could be sources for life, food and health care.
  • We contribute to global warming such that our glaciers retreat and shrink, putting all life forms at risk.  Flooding and droughts put the food security of hundreds of millions at risk.
  • We contribute to global warming such that increased sea and air temperatures result in rising sea levels, putting whole islands and their inhabitants at risk.
  • We do not alter our ways and sufficiently care for or welcome those migrants and refugees displaced by drought, flood, or lack of food.
  • add your own …

PAUSE for silence and prayer:

Enduring God, hear our prayers

as we bring these our hurts and hopes, our fears and our faults before you.

Bind our hurts, encourage our hopes, comfort our fears, forgive us our faults.

Through the presence of your Holy Spirit dwelling in us,

empower us to remain steadfast in the hope and light and promise of the gospel

revealed to us in your Son, Jesus Christ, in whose name we pray, Amen.

Movement III:    Response

Earth Charter

I / We, [Name], stand at a critical moment in Earth’s history,

a time when humanity must choose its future.

As the world becomes increasingly interdependent and fragile,

the future at once holds great peril and great promise.

To move forward we must recognize that

in the midst of a magnificent diversity of cultures and life forms we are one human family and one Earth community with a common destiny.

We must join together to bring forth a sustainable global society

founded on respect for nature, universal human rights, economic justice, and a culture of peace.

Toward this end, it is imperative that we, the peoples of Earth, declare our responsibility to one      another, to the greater community of life, and to future generations.

We invite you to pray this in a variety of ways, pausing between each reading.

-    in the first person plural:  I, ____, stand at a critical moment …

-    in the second person plural:  We, (Christians / the name of your congregation / name of school or parish or other group), stand at a critical time …

Silent prayer /Sharing of Reflections

Scripture (to help reflect on themes in the Earth Charter preamble above):

about wonder & awe, reverencing life in all its forms: Lk. 1:46-55;   Rev. 4:11   

about choosing:    Dt. 30:19;  Rev. 3:14-15;  Jn. 10:10b

about interconnectedness:    1 Cor. 12 

about vision, promise:    Rev. 21:1a, 5a;  Isa. 65:17a

about responsibility and action for the common good: Millennium Development Goals (MDG)

MDG 7    Ensure environmental sustainability.

MDG 8    Develop a global partnership for development.

UNEP’s    

Plant for the Planet: Billion Tree Campaign.

-    Closing Prayer:  “To realize these aspirations, we must decide to live with a sense of universal responsibility, identifying ourselves with the whole Earth community as well as our local communities.  We are at once citizens of different nations and of one world in which the local and global are linked.  Everyone shares responsibility for the present and future well-being of the human family and the larger living world.  The spirit of human solidarity and kinship with all life is strengthened when we live with reverence for the mystery of being, gratitude for the gift of life, and humility regarding the human place in nature” (from Earth Charter).  All praise to you God for your goodness to us.  Give us hearts of flesh to rejoice in your gifts, to beg pardon when we err, and to live justly.  We ask this in the name of your Son Jesus, who lives and breathes among us.  Amen.

Publication: