“The Soil” by Pax Ressler
Painting during Worship:
Call to Worship and Opening Prayer
Leader: In the beginning were the Instructions. We were to have compassion for one another, to live and work together, to depend on each other for support. We were told we were all related and interconnected with each other…The Instructions during that time, at the beginning, were to love and respect one another even with all the differences, different cultures, different languages. We were told we were all from the same source.
We are shown that our life exists with the tree life, that our wellbeing depends on the wellbeing of the vegetable life, that we are close relatives of the four-legged beings. We believe that humanity is part of Creation, and that our duty is to support life in conjunction with the other beings.
Please join me in our responsive opening prayer.
Leader: All-powerful God, you are present in the whole universe and in the smallest of your creatures.
All: You embrace with your tenderness all that exists.
Leader: Pour out upon us the power of your love, that we may protect life and beauty.
All: Fill us with peace, that we may live as family, harming no one.
Leader: O God of the poor, help us to rescue the abandoned and forgotten of this earth, so precious in your eyes.
All: Bring healing to our lives, that we may protect the world and not prey on it, that we may sow beauty, not pollution and destruction.
Leader: Touch the hearts of those who look only for gain at the expense of the poor and the earth.
All: Teach us to discover the worth of each thing, to be filled with awe and contemplation, to recognize that we are profoundly united with every creature as we journey towards your infinite light.
Leader: We thank you for being with us each day. Encourage us, we pray, in our struggle for justice, love, and peace.
All: May all be fed. May all be healed. May all be loved. Amen.
“Gather at the Table”
Lindy Thompson & Mark A. Miller
Introducing the Service
Dr. Laurel Kearns
Video from Honore Farm
Jung Eun Son
Genesis 2:7, 15
7 The Lord God formed the human from the topsoil of the fertile land and blew life’s breath into his nostrils. The human came to life.
15 The Lord God took the human and settled him in the garden of Eden to farm it and to take care of it.
Genesis 1: 11-12, 24-25
11 God said, “Let the earth grow plant life: plants yielding seeds and fruit trees bearing fruit with seeds inside it, each according to its kind throughout the earth.” And that’s what happened. 12 The earth produced plant life: plants yielding seeds, each according to its kind, and trees bearing fruit with seeds inside it, each according to its kind. God saw how good it was.
24 God said, “Let the earth produce every kind of living thing: livestock, crawling things, and wildlife.” And that’s what happened. 25 God made every kind of wildlife, every kind of livestock, and every kind of creature that crawls on the ground. God saw how good it was.
Leader: The Word of God for the people of God.
All: Thanks be to God.
“I Am Your Mother”
Shirley Erena Murray and Mark A. Miller
“What Is This Eucharist?”
Sacrament of Holy Communion
Leader: Come to the table of One whose footprints are on tundra, desert, delta, the Sea of Galilee, bush and forest.
Come to the breaking of rice cake, puto and corn tortilla, the laying down of seema and wafer, the passing of unleavened chickpea bread and naan, and the pouring a cup of merlot or concord grape, salabat juice, atole, or coconut milk.
Come to a meal with a global guest list.
Leader: The Lord be with you
All: And also with you
Leader: Lift up your hearts
All: We lift them up to our God
Leader: Let us pray.
God in the beginning, you were hovering over the waters of what could be. You called forth light and darkness, lands and seas, skies and sun and moon and stars. You cultivated planets and formed creatures. You made everything that flies or crawls or runs or jumps. You called everything good. You took the topsoil of the planet and breathed your life into it; humans and other creatures came to life.
All: Life expanded.
Leader: There was enough in the garden to sustain the people you created, until our ancestors forgot that you are God and we humans are not. So you sent us from the garden and we learned to farm. Our bodies learned to sweat and ache in order to till the land for food. You sent teachers and leaders to guide your people. And your people tried to follow your ways. But the garden that could give us everything we needed seemed so far away.
When we stumbled and failed, you sent your child Jesus to walk among us, to feed the hungry and heal the sick and move in solidarity with those who are forgotten by the powers and principalities. We forgot that we belong to each other and to the earth, all of us made from the same topsoil, adamah, and your same impossible love. But through Jesus, you taught us how to love our neighbors and trust in the abundance of what is enough.
Because Jesus challenged the systems of production and money that marginalized the poor, he was killed by the state.
All: Your love redeemed him, body and soul, topsoil to topsoil.
Leader: Somehow, you breathed life back into creation.
All: Creation groans. Earth aches,
Leader: as pesticides and global warming take their toll on all creation, human and non-human. We have treated the grapes and the grains – the foodstuffs of life – with every more spraying, more chemicals. The beautiful complexities of your plants are marred by corporate engineering that thinks to improve on the goodness of your creation. And now, despite abundance, not everyone has enough.
You call us still, with your breath and your love. You call us to tend the gardens we live in now. You call us to work for the garden that will one day be enough, when workers and pollinators will no longer be harmed, when all creation is good again, when enough is enough.
On the night before he died, our Lord Jesus took bread, and gave thanks; broke it,
and gave it to his disciples, saying: Take and eat; this is my body, given for you.
Do this for the remembrance of me.
Again, after supper, he took the cup, gave thanks, and gave it for all to drink,
saying: This cup is the new covenant, poured out for you and for all people
for the forgiveness of sin. Do this for the remembrance of me.
With this bread and cup, we proclaim the mystery of faith:
All: Christ has died. Christ is risen. Christ will come again.
Leader: God of breath and life, pour out your love and spirit on these sustaining gifts of bread and wine. Give us strength for the work ahead and help us tend the places we call home. May the bread of the earth and the fruit of the vine strengthen us and keep us in God’s grace.
Song During Communion
“Cool of the Day”
Prayer after Communion
All: God, you never give up on your beautiful yet damaged Creation. In this lenten season as we wait for the impossible redemption of all creation, send us into the world to tend and keep your creation. Amen.
Dr. Laurel Kearns
Leader: God, bless the spoons, chopsticks, flat bread and fingers of all your children. Bless every meeting of hunger and generosity. Bless our memories of food shared and our hopes for food justice. Bless the peace of our common cup, the pieces of our broken bread. May our sharing everywhere and in this place sacred to us today become a sacred meal, our pledge of open table, a sign of our care for earth itself – fin and fur, wings or scales, wave and wind.
“God Has Work for Us to Do”
Carl Daw Jr. & Mark A. Miller
Call to Worship: Vickie Downey (Tewa, Tesuque Pueblo), in Wall, S. Wisdom’s Daughters: Conversations with Women Elders of Native America, p.2 And “A Basic Call to Consciousness,” pp. 85-86. From Faith for Earth: A Call for Action, pg. 16
Opening Prayer: “A prayer for our Earth” — Pope Francis, Laudato Si’ (247), with “May All Be Fed” — John Robbins.
Communion Liturgy for Eco-Justice, adapted from abby mohaupt
Invitation adapted from: Maren C. Tirabassi, https://giftsinopenhands.wordpress.com/2021/09/24/celebration-of-holy-communion-for-world-communion-sunday-october-3-2021/