Thanksgiving for Creation and Redemption (ANZPB 456)
Genesis 1 or 1:26-2:3 The Creation story
Psalm 104: 24-34, 35b
Benedicite Aotearoa (ANZPB 457) OR
Benedicite Central Otago
Romans 8:18-27 Creation groans with longing
John 1:1-14 Christ, the Word, in Creation Sentence:
"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?”
God, you have made our world and seen that it is good;
grant to us, created to complete your work,
the bright, delightful vision that makes us care for what we do.
God of unchangeable power,
when you fashioned the world
the morning stars sang together
and the host of heaven shouted for joy;
open our eyes to the wonders of creation
and teach us to use all things for good,
to the honour of your glorious name;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
You made us Lord, and we are yours;
grant that we may so use your gifts
that all your creatures may enjoy the harmony you planned.
God our Creator.
you have made us one with this earth,
to tend it and to bring forth fruit,
to work in rhythm with its cycles;
may we so respect and cherish all that has life from you,
that we may share in the labour of all creation
to give birth to your hidden glory,
through Christ our God. Amen
Creator, we disfigure your world.
Lord, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy. Redeemer, we reject your redemption and crucify you daily.
Christ, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy. Giver of life, we too often choose death.
Lord, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy. In silence before God, we confess our sins.
Intercessions -ANZPB 163
- ANZPB 463 Alternative Version of the Lord’s Prayer
For you reign in the glory of the power that is love,
now & forever. Amen.
Sentence after Communion
O Lord how manifold are your works:
in wisdom you have made them all, the earth is full of your creatures. Psalm 104:25 Prayers after Communion:
God, father and mother of us all, source of life and goodness.
Awaken in us a sense of the sacred.
Awaken in us a desire to grow and break new ground.
Awaken in us a passion for justice.
So that all may grow to fullness and produce fruit that will endure and bless,
as we walk together into the new world where you have gone before. Amen.
We give you thanks, most gracious God,
for the beauty of earth and sky and sea;
for the richness of mountains, plains and rivers;
for the songs of birds and the loveliness of flowers.
We praise you for these good gifts,
and pray that we may safeguard them for posterity.
Grant that we may continue to grow
in our grateful enjoyment of your abundant creation,
to the honour and glory of your name, now and for ever. [Episcopal Church, USA.]
O Great Spirit, whose breath gives life to the world,
and whose voice is heard in the soft breeze:
We need your strength and wisdom.
Cause us to walk in beauty.
Give us eyes ever to behold the red and purple sunset.
Make us wise so that we may understand what you have taught us.
Help us learn the lessons you have hidden in every leaf and rock.
Make us always ready to come to you with clean hands and steady eyes,
so when life fades, like the fading sunset,
our spirits may come to you without shame. Amen.
Native American Prayer
Deep peace of the running wave to you.
Deep peace of the flowing air to you.
Deep peace of the quiet earth to you.
Deep peace of the Son of Peace to you.
The Lord bless you and keep you;
the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you;
the Lord life up the light of his countenance upon
and give you peace.
May the mystery of God enfold us,
may the wisdom of God uphold us,
may the fragrance of God be around us,
may the brightness of God surround us,
may the wonder of God renew us,
may the loving of God flow through us,
may the peace of God deeply move us,
may the moving of God bring us peace.
Genesis 1 or 1:26-2:3 The Creation story
(Genesis 1) In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth, 2 the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep, while a wind from God swept over the face of the waters. 3 Then God said, "Let there be light"; and there was light. 4 And God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness. 5 God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day. 6 And God said, "Let there be a dome in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters." 7 So God made the dome and separated the waters that were under the dome from the waters that were above the dome. And it was so. 8 God called the dome Sky. And there was evening and there was morning, the second day. 9 And God said, "Let the waters under the sky be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear." And it was so. 10 God called the dry land Earth, and the waters that were gathered together he called Seas. And God saw that it was good. 11 Then God said, "Let the earth put forth vegetation: plants yielding seed, and fruit trees of every kind on earth that bear fruit with the seed in it." And it was so. 12 The earth brought forth vegetation: plants yielding seed of every kind, and trees of every kind bearing fruit with the seed in it. And God saw that it was good. 13 And there was evening and there was morning, the third day. 14 And God said, "Let there be lights in the dome of the sky to separate the day from the night; and let them be for signs and for seasons and for days and years, 15 and let them be lights in the dome of the sky to give light upon the earth." And it was so. 16 God made the two great lights--the greater light to rule the day and the lesser light to rule the night--and the stars. 17 God set them in the dome of the sky to give light upon the earth, 18 to rule over the day and over the night, and to separate the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good. 19 And there was evening and there was morning, the fourth day. 20 And God said, "Let the waters bring forth swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the dome of the sky." 21 So God created the great sea monsters and every living creature that moves, of every kind, with which the waters swarm, and every winged bird of every kind. And God saw that it was good. 22 God blessed them, saying, "Be fruitful and multiply and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth." 23 And there was evening and there was morning, the fifth day. 24 And God said, "Let the earth bring forth living creatures of every kind: cattle and creeping things and wild animals of the earth of every kind." And it was so. 25 God made the wild animals of the earth of every kind, and the cattle of every kind, and everything that creeps upon the ground of every kind. And God saw that it was good. 26 Then God said, "Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the wild animals of the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth." 27 So God created humankind in his image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. 28 God blessed them, and God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth." 29 God said, "See, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit; you shall have them for food. 30 And to every beast of the earth, and to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food." And it was so. 31 God saw everything that he had made, and indeed, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.
26 Then God said, "Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the wild animals of the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth." 27 So God created humankind in his image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. 28 God blessed them, and God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth." 29 God said, "See, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit; you shall have them for food. 30 And to every beast of the earth, and to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food." And it was so. 31 God saw everything that he had made, and indeed, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.
(Genesis 2) Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all their multitude. 2 And on the seventh day God finished the work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all the work that he had done. 3 So God blessed the seventh day and hallowed it, because on it God rested from all the work that he had done in creation.
Responsorial Psalm (104: 24-34, 35b)
O Lord how manifold are your works:
in wisdom you have made them all, the earth is full of your creatures.
There is a great and mighty sea:
which teems with living things both great and small.
Upon it sail the ships: and there is Leviathan,
the monster you made to sport in it.
All these look to you:
to give them their food in due season.
What you give them they gather up:
when you open your hand, they are filled with good things.
But when you hide your face they are dismayed:
when you take away their breath they die, and return to the dust they came from.
When you send out your spirit they are created:
and you renew the face of the earth.
May your glory O Lord endure for ever:
may you rejoice O Lord in your works.
When you look at the earth it trembles:
when you touch the mountains they smoke.
I will sing to the Lord as long as I live:
I will praise my God while I have my being.
May my meditation please the Lord:
as I show my joy in God.
Bless the Lord O my soul. Whakamoemititia a Ihowa / O praise the Lord.
Benedicite Aotearoa (ANZPB 457) OR
Benedicite Central Otago:
O give thanks to our God who is good: whose love endures for ever.
Give to our God your thanks and praise. You sun and moon, you stars of the southern sky,
Give to our God your thanks and praise. Sunrise and sunset, night and day, frost and heat,
Give to our God your thanks and praise. All mountains and valleys, grassland and scree, rocks, rivers, mist and snow,
Give to our God your thanks and praise. You matai and pine, matagouri and roses, apple and apricot, thyme and tussock,
Give to our God your thanks and praise. Eel and trout, salmon and koura, whitebait and minnows,
Give to our God your thanks and praise. Sheep and cattle, moths and dogs, horses and deer, quail and hawk,
Give to our God your thanks and praise. You Maori and Pakeha, women and men, children and grandparents, all who live within the life of this land,
Give to our God your thanks and praise. All who have gone before us, pioneers of our faith and land,
Give to our God your thanks and praise. All shearers and run holders, orchardists and pickers, teachers and typists, shop workers and truck drivers, job-seekers and invalids,
Give to our God your thanks and praise. Mothers and doctors, publicans and politicians, writers and artists, students and stock agents, mystics and musicians,
Give to our God your thanks and praise. Priests and social workers, tourists and holiday makers, rabbiters and cooks,
Give to our God your thanks and praise. O give thanks to our God who is good: whose love endures for ever.
Give to our God your thanks and praise.
Romans 8:18-27 Creation groans with longing
18 I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory about to be revealed to us. 19 For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the children of God; 20 for the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and will obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. 22 We know that the whole creation has been groaning in labour pains until now; 23 and not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly while we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what is seen? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience. 26 Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words. 27 And God, who searches the heart, knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.
John 1:1-14 Christ, the Word, in Creation
(John 1) In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being 4 in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it. 6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7 He came as a witness to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. 8 He himself was not the light, but he came to testify to the light. 9 The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and the world came into being through him; yet the world did not know him. 11 He came to what was his own, and his own people did not accept him. 12 But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God, 13 who were born, not of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will of man, but of God. 14 And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father's only son, full of grace and truth.
Sacred Ground We are standing on sacred ground.
Let our hearts take off their shoes
and come bare, trembling with awe,
into the Presence which burns too bright
and too close for ordinary vision.
Only a naked heart can see
that all round us, each clump of grass,
every leaf, twig, stone and flower,
is a blazing torch, incandescent
with the one fire which has no name
except 'I am."
And only a naked heart can know
that it too, is a burning bush,
all of us caught in the one fire,
"we are" burning into “I am,"
brighter than a galaxy of suns.
Words cannot contain the moment;
Written for Josie’s 60th birthday 14th January 2004
Reflecting on the Readings:
Creation stories help us to make sense of the world we live in and offer guidance as to how we might relate to God, to the world and to one another.
The creation story in Genesis chapter1, affirms certain points
That God is the creator of the cosmos
That the Word of God is the agent of creation
That everything that God created is very good
That humankind is part of the created cosmos
That humankind is given a role in the created cosmos
However this creation story has some negatives. The role God gives to humankind is one of dominion or lordship over all of creation. This seems to have lent legitimacy to human actions through the centuries, which have resulted in the ecological crisis we face today. What this creation story also fails to do is to give any sense of the interrelatedness of living and non-living. Given the extent of biological knowledge at the time this maybe understandable but it will not do for us today who are acutely aware of the web of life. Nor does this story give any sense of God as incarnate in the whole of creation, not even in humankind. It is as if God has ceded the Earth to humankind and remains apart and detached.
This is in contrast to Isaiah 40: 27-31, where God refutes any claims of disinterest and unavailability, promising rather an ongoing involvement in the life of Israel. Finally, in contrast to Job chapters 38-41, where God proclaims a passionate relationship to a dynamic Creation, this story makes no reference to God’s continuing activity in the world. Newton and those scientists who came after him, saw the cosmos as a giant machine, set in motion by God but requiring no further input from God. This view could perhaps be justified by the first chapter of Genesis, by those who seek scriptural approval for their cosmic impiety, there can be little doubt it is this mechanistic view of the world that has led to the belief that science and technology can solve all our problems.
The prologue of John’s Gospel can be seen as a commentary on the first chapter of Genesis. Both look back to the beginning of time. John focuses on the Word, the agent of creation. In the Greek tradition incorporated into Jewish thought, the Word or Logos refers to the immanent divine spirit that pervades and orders the cosmos and would be familiar to first century Jews. (see also the concept of Wisdom, Proverbs 8:22-31). The Incarnation is a central tenet of the Christian Gospel. God became fully human in Jesus but this “is not just an event of God-with-us for human history. It is an event within the Earth . . . . . Humans are not an alien species who walk on the Earth they are intricately and intimately part of it. . . .”,.incarnation is a concept that expresses a belief in the “immanent presence of God in the planet Earth, and the healing, liberating nature of that presence.” (Neil Darragh, At Home in the Earth, Accent Publications, 2000).
When John speaks of the Word becoming flesh he affirms that it is in Jesus of Nazareth that the Word is pleased to dwell nevertheless by using the Logos concept John is bringing into the Christian understanding the realization that God‚s Spirit already pervades and orders the cosmos. This understanding that Christ is encountered in every part of creation is a strong element in Celtic Christianity and in the faith of the mystics such as Hildegard of Bingen, Julian of Norwich and Meister Eckhart. Perhaps it is over optimistic to imagine that if we could recognize Christ as incarnate in the whole of Creation it would engender more respect for the Earth; after all in Matthew 25: 31-46, Jesus identifies himself as incarnate in all people but that does not seem to inhibit us from allowing people to starve, to be tortured, imprisoned and to be murdered sometimes by governments, so it is unlikely that seeing Christ as incarnate in all Creation would stop corporate humanity from poisoning the soil, water and air, turning fertile land into desert, cutting down millions of acres of forest, nor overfishing the oceans.
In the passage from Romans Paul speaks of the redemption of the whole of creation. Just as humanity’s sinfulness, individually and collectively pervades the whole of society and the whole of history, so too it pervades the whole of creation. At heart the ecological crisis is a spiritual issue. Human greed for power and wealth is what has brought us to the ecological crisis. Economic growth and consumerism are the goals that are prescribed for us, and while the ecological crisis is acknowledged by governments to be real, the root causes of it are never addressed.
Furthermore the damage to the ecosystem is inseparable from the injustice to the world‚s poor. Land once farmed sustainably by small farmers is converted to monocultures to produce crops for Western markets using chemical techniques. Both the soil and those who work it suffer poverty and ill health. Such links can be made many times over. Redemption comes through Christ, but can only be accepted and made operative through our repentance. Only when we turn to Christ, acknowledge our wrongdoing, and commit ourselves to live in justice with the whole creation can the ecological crisis begin to be addressed. Indeed the whole creation waits with eager longing for that moment.
A&M - Hymns Ancient and Modern, Revised
AA - Alleluia Aotearoa
FFS - Faith Forever Singing
For the beauty of the earth A&M171
Spirit of God in the clear running water (New Journeys)
God of all beauty AA48
Morning has broken
Morning has broken like the first morning
Blackbird has spoken like the first bird.
Praise for the singing! Praise for the morning!
Praise for them, springing fresh from the Word!
Sweet the rain’s new fall, sunlit from heaven,
Like the first dew-fall on the first grass.
Praise for the sweetness of the wet garden,
Sprung in completeness where his feet pass.
Mine is the sunlight! Mine is the morning,
Born of the one light Eden saw play!
Praise with elation, praise ev’ry morning.
God’s re-creation of the new day! Words: Eleanor Farjeon
Touch the earth lightly AA143
All creatures of our God and King A&M 172
Immortal, invisible, God only wise A&M372
Praise the Lord! ye heavens adore him A&M 368
O praise ye the Lord A&M376
Before the world was made (Iona Community)
Lord of the dance
All things bright and beautiful A&M442
Come to our land AA26
For the music of creation AA41 (Alt. tune: Everton, A&M 207)