“For the Beauty of the Earth”
Call to Prayer
Adapted from Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler
One: As wind, as water; as fire, as life
Many: God is both creative and destructive
One: Demanding and yielding, sculptor and clay
Many: God is Infinite Potential:
One: God is Change.
Many: God is Change – seed to tree, tree to forest
One: Rain to river, river to sea; grubs to bees, bees to swarm.
Many: From one, many; from many, one
One: Forever uniting, growing, dissolving – forever Changing.
Many: The universe is God’s self-portrait.
Sung Evening Confession
“Cool of the Day”
Psalm 78:23-29 NRSV
23 Yet God commanded the skies above,
and opened the doors of heaven;
24 God rained down on them manna to eat,
and gave them the grain of heaven.
25 Mortals ate of the bread of angels;
he sent them food in abundance.
26 God caused the east wind to blow in the heavens,
and by God’s power the south wind was led out;
27 the holy one rained flesh upon them like dust,
winged birds like the sand of the seas;
28 God let them fall within their camp,
all around their dwellings.
29 And they ate and were well filled,
for Yahweh gave them what they craved.
One: The word of God for the people of God
Many: Thanks be to God
“Hymn of Promise”
From Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood
A caterpillar is letting itself down on a thread, twirling slowly like a rope artist, spiralling towards his chest. It’s a luscious, unreal green, like a gumdrop, and covered with tiny bright hairs. Watching it, he feels a sudden, inexplicable surge of tenderness and joy. Unique, he thinks. There will never be another caterpillar just like this one. There will never be another such moment of time, another such conjunction.
These things sneak up on him for no reason, these flashes of irrational happiness. It’s probably a vitamin deficiency.
The caterpillar pauses, feeling around in the air with its blunt head. Its huge opaque eyes look like the front end of a riot-gear helmet. Maybe it’s smelling him, picking up on his chemical aura. “We are not here to play, to dream, to drift,” he says to it. “We have hard work to do, and loads to lift.”
Time of Reflection
“I am Your Mother”
Prayers of the People
One: God, we gather at the close of the day to lay ourselves and our concerns at your feet. We lift up to you this night those who are far from home, those you have gathered from the east, west, north and south, from all around the world, and those lost in the wilderness, lonely and afraid.
Many: Give them a space, a city in the desert, a broad place in which to thrive. Help them to find their way.
One: God, we bring before you the hungry and thirsty, those saddled with financial debt and those suffering the weight of shame, those with empty stomachs and those with hollow hearts.
Many: Plant them in the rich soil of your Spirit, fill their lives with people who will share their hearts, homes, and tables.
One: God, we entrust to you those staggering through the storms of life, shipwrecked on the shore of illness, death, grief and loss.
Many: Quiet the storm to a whisper; calm the waves to a hush. Break through the clouds with hope. Stand with them and help us to stand.
One: Holy One, set your Word in us, like a seed that needs time and darkness to grow, like a song we can’t get out of our heads, like a conversation with a good friend. May what we have read and heard today surprise us with encouragement at just the right moment, haunt us until we have to share it with others, and comfort us when we feel alone. Amen.
Let us bless the imagination of the earth. Let us remember within us the ancient clay, holding the memory of seasons, the passion of the wind, the fluency of water, the warmth of fire, the quiver-touch of the sun, and shadowed sureness of the moon. May we awaken to the dream of the earth in mind, spirit, and light. Amen.
“God Has Work for Us to Do”
Margaret Atwood, Oryx and Crake (New York: Doubleday, 2003).
Octavia E. Butler, Parable of the Sower (New York: Hachette, 1993).
Prayers of the People adapted from: PC(U.S.A.) UKirk Worship Resource
Blessing adapted from: John O’Donohue, To Bless the Space Between Us: A Book of Blessings (New York: Doubleday), 86-87.