Community of Christ

Earth Day Ideas

Sacramental Universe

Preparation for Worship

Welcome and Announcements

Prelude

Invitation to Worship

There is a God in heaven who is infinite and eternal… the framer of heaven and earth and all things which are in them. The Lord our God is one Lord:
     One in God’s nature; one in God’s purpose.
Yield now to God’s abiding presence, that in our diversity we may become
     One with God and the universe:
For the elements are eternal,
     And spirit and element inseparably connected
          Receiveth a fullness of joy.

Hymn: “This Is God’s Wondrous World”  CCS 136
OR “God of the Sparrow”  CCS 138

Invocation

Response

Hymn: “All Things Bright and Beautiful”  CCS  135

Prayer of Contrition

Choral Reading: Selections from Psalms 19, 104, 148 The Inclusive Psalms

All:

Bless Our God, my soul!
Adonai, my God, how great you are!
Clothed in majesty and glory,
wrapped in a robe of light.

Reader 1:     

You stretch the heavens out like a tent.
You lay the beams for your palace on the waters above;
you use the clouds as your chariot
and ride on the wings of the wind;
you use the winds as messengers
and fiery flames as attendants.

The heavens herald your glory, O God,
and the skies display your handiwork.
Day after day they tell their story,
and night after night they reveal
the depth of their understanding.
Without speech, without words,
without even an audible voice,
their cry echoes through all the world,
and their message reaches the ends of the earth.

Reader 2:     

You fixed the earth on its foundations
so it can never totter,
and wrapped it with the Deep as with a robe,
the waters overtopping the mountains.
At your rebuke the waters bolted,
fleeing at the sound of your thunder,
cascading over the mountains, into the valleys,
down to the reservoir you made for them;
you imposed boundaries they must never cross
so they would never again flood the land.

Reader 1:     

You set springs gushing in ravines,
running down between the mountains,
supplying water for wild animals
and attracting the thirsty wild donkeys;
the birds of the air make their nests by these waters
and sing among the branches.

Reader 2:     

From your palace you water the highlands
until the ground is sated by the fruit of your work;
you make fresh grass grow for cattle
and plants for us to cultivate
to get food from the soil-

All: 

Adonai, what variety you have created,
arranging everything so wisely!

Reader 1:     

The earth is filled with your creativity!
There’s the vast expanse of the Sea,
teeming with countless creatures,
living things large and small.
All creatures depend on you
to feed them at the proper time.

All:      

Alleluia!
Praise Our God from the heavens,
praise God in the heights!
Praise God, all you angels,
praise God, all you hosts!
Praise God, sun and moon,
praise God, all you shining stars!
Praise God, you highest heavens,
and you waters above the heavens!

Reader 2:     

Let them praise the Name of Our God,
by whose command they were created.
God established them forever and ever
and gave a decree which won’t pass away.

All:      

Praise Our God from the earth,
you sea creatures and ocean depths,
lightning and hail, snow and mist,
and storm winds that fulfill God’s word,
mountains and all hills,
fruit trees and all cedars,
wild animals and all cattle,
small animals and flying birds;

Reader 1:     

rulers of the earth, leaders of all nations,
all the judges in the world,
young men and young women,
old people and children-

All:      

let them all praise the Name of Our God
whose Name alone is exalted,
whose majesty transcends heaven and earth.
Alleluia!

Choir: “For Remembered Music Sounding”  CCS 133

Reading: Doctrine and Covenants 85: 3, 6a, 9, 11a, 12a, c, adapted

The light which shines, which gives you light, is through God who enlightens your eyes, which is the same light that quickens your understandings; which proceeds forth from the presence of God to fill the immensity of space; the light which is in all things, which gives life to all things, which is the law by which all things are governed.

The earth abides the law of a celestial kingdom, for it fills the measure of its creation, and transgresses not the law. To every kingdom is given a law; and to every law there are certain bounds and conditions. There are many kingdoms, for there is no space in which there is no kingdom; and there is no kingdom in which there is no space.

God has given a law to all things by which they move in their times and their seasons; their courses are fixed; even the courses of the heavens, and the earth. The earth rolls upon wings; and the sun gives light by day, and the moon gives light by night; the stars also gives their light, as they roll upon their wings, in their glory, in the midst of the power of God. Any person who has seen any or the least of these, has seen God moving in majesty and power.

Hymn: “Immortal, Invisible, God Only Wise”  CCS 13
OR O, God Our Help In Ages Past”  CCS 16

The Sacramental Universe

Three short testimonies    

Hymn: “Morning Has Broken”  CCS 143
OR “God of Creation”  CCS 147

We Offer Our Gifts

Offertory Prayer: (children)

Creator, God, who loves us all,
     Who made all things,
     Both great and small,
The precious earth, the oceans deep,
     Are really yours, not ours to keep.
But you have trusted us to care,
     To plant and grow and love and share,
     God of all things, great and small
     Accept our thanks, accept our all.

Disciples Generous Response
“Stones on the Road,” by Aaron Zerah from How the Children Became Stars (Notre Dame, Indiana: Sorin Books, 2000), 126-127. ISBN 1-893-73217-7

Blessing and Receiving of Mission Tithes

Music for Meditation

Hymn: “Let Us Give Praise to the God of Creation” (stanzas 1, 2, 3, 5)  CCS 607
OR “Take My Gifts and Let Me Love Your”  CCS 609
 

Benediction and Sending Forth

Response

Postlude

Sky Meets the Earth

At the beginning of each section have someone read the focus statement and ring a small gong or bell to signify the call to the path. After each bell sound, spend a moment in silent meditation.

Prelude: Flute and Piano

Vocal Solo: "God of the Sparrow"  CCS 138

Welcome

A Call to the Path of Wonder: A Song of Laughter

On the Path of Wonder you will remember when you were sung from the earth. (Bell rings)

Prayer of Praise

Response (flute)

Proclamation (Adapted from John 1:1–5 and The Blessing Seed)

*Community Hymn: "All Things Bright and Beautiful”  CCS 135

Responsive Reading: "Hear the Wonder"

Congregation
(Divide the congregation into four groups and have them participate as a "reader’s choir")

Group 1:      Draw near, peoples of the earth
Group 2:      Celebrate God’s universal glory
(Group 3)     …glory
(Group 4)     (softer)…glory
(Group 1)     (very softly)…glory
Group 3:      Rejoice in this planet and all things that dwell therein.
Group 4:      Join in songs of joy!
(Group 1)     …joy!
(Group 2)     (softer)…joy!
(Group 3)     (very softly)…joy!
All:        Unite with the sounds of earth and sky.

"Sing Out, Earth and Skies!"—from Instruments of Peace,Vol. 2, Marty Haugen/Mensah
© 1985 GIA Publications, Inc. Audio CD (March 19, 1996) ASIN: B000003YL2

Vocal Solo: "Morning Has Broken”  CCS 143
OR “Creating God, Your Fingers Trace”  CCS 139

A Call to the Path of Emptiness: A Song of Tears

On the Path of Emptiness you will remember when you ate the fruit and felt different. (Bell rings)

Reader 1:  We should understand well that all things are the works of the Great Spirit. We should know that S/He is within all things: the trees, the grasses, the rivers, the mountains, and all the four-legged animals and winged people. …When we do understand…, then we will…love and know the Great Spirit, and then we will be able to act and live as S/He intends. —Black Elk, Sioux

People:  stanzas 1 and 2 “Each Breath is Borrowed Air”  CCS 144

God in his love for us lent us this planet, Gave it a purpose in time and in space; Small as a spark from the fire of creation, Cradle of life and the home of our race. Thanks be to God for its bounty and beauty, Life that sustains us in body and mind: Plenty for all, if we learn how to share it, Riches undreamed of to fathom and find.

Reader 2:  We know how to waste the earth, ruin its soil, ravage its forests, poison its air, pour filth into its rivers….[We cause] famine, pollution, war and thirst, mass producing death,…Who are we to change death into life? Who are we to talk at all of love? Who are we to wait for God? Yet, who are we to say it is hopeless?
—from Elements of Hope by James Carroll

People:  stanza 3 CCS 144

Long have our tragic wars ruined our harvest; Long has Earth bowed to the terror of force. Now we pollute it, in cynical silence: Poison the fountain of life at its source.

Reader 3:  "The land is being desecrated by the thoughtless waste of vital resources. You must obey my commandments and be in the forefront of those who would mediate this needless destruction while there is yet day." —Doctrine and Covenants 150:7

People: stanza 4 CCS 144

Casual despoilers, or high priests of Mammon Selling the future for present rewards, Careless of life and contemptuous of beauty: Bid us remember, the Earth is the Lord’s!

Reader 4: This we know…The earth does not belong to man; man belongs to the earth. All things are connected like the blood which unites one family. Man did not weave the web of life; he is merely a strand in it. Whatever he does to the web he does to himself. —Chief Seattle

Prayer for Universal Healing

Response: "Touch the Earth Lightly"  CCS 137

Congregation: Touch the earth lightly, use the earth gently, nourish the life of the world in our care: gift of great wonder, ours to surrender, trust for the children tomorrow will bear. We who endanger, who create hunger, agents of death for all creatures that live, we who would foster clouds of disaster—God of our planet, forestall and forgive! Let there be greening, birth from the burning, water that blesses and air that is sweet, health in God’s garden, hope in God’s children, regeneration that peace will complete. God of all living, God of all loving, God of the seedling, the snow and the sun, teach us, deflect us, Christ reconnect us, using us gently, and making us one.

A Call to the Path of Making: A Song of Beginning

On the Path of Making you will remember the song that is inside you. (Bell rings)

The Reading of the Story

"The Blessing Seed: A Creation Myth for the New Millennium"

Response to the Story

A Call to the Path of Coming Home: Separate No More

On the Path of Coming Home you will remember that you are a part of everything. (Bell rings)

Disciples Generous Response

Blessing and Receiving of Mission Tithes

Sentence Statements of Commitment

  • How are the seeds of learning and caring growing in you?
  • How can we be blessing seeds in the earth?

Passing the Blessing Seeds
(Pass out large seeds to each person to remind them of the commitment made to be a "blessing seed" in the earth.)

Community Hymn: "Put Peace into Each Other’s Hands"  CCS 309

Sending Forth: Presider

"On the path of coming home, you will remember that you are part of everything."
The Man and the Woman thanked God.
They walked out into the wide world, taking, the blessing seed in their hearts.

Postlude

Worship Ideas

Here are some ideas to use when planning worship services on or near Earth Day (April 22).

Scripture Readings

The earth is the Lord’s and all that is in it,
   the world, and those who live in it; 
for he has founded it on the seas,
   and established it on the rivers.
—Psalm 24:1–2 NRSV

You make springs gush forth in the valleys;
   they flow between the hills, 
giving drink to every wild animal;
   the wild asses quench their thirst. 
By the streams the birds of the air have their habitation;
   they sing among the branches. 
From your lofty abode you water the mountains;
   the earth is satisfied with the fruit of your work.
—Psalm 104:10–13 NRSV

Know, O my people, the time for hesitation is past. The earth, my creation, groans for the liberating truths of my gospel which have been given for the salvation of the world.
—Doctrine and Covenants 155:7

The earth, lovingly created as an environment for life to flourish, shudders in distress because creation’s natural and living systems are becoming exhausted from carrying the burden of human greed and conflict. Humankind must awaken from its illusion of independence and unrestrained consumption without lasting consequences. …Prepare new generations of disciples to bring fresh vision to bear on the perplexing problems of poverty, disease, war, and environmental deterioration. Their contributions will be multiplied if their hearts are focused on God’s will for creation.
—Doctrine and Covenants 163:4b, c

Hymns

“Now Sing to Our God” CCS 108
“Touch the Earth Lightly” CCS 137
“For Beauty of Meadows” CCS 142
“God of Creation” CCS 147
“When, in Awe of God’s Creation” CCS 283
“For the Healing of the Nations” CCS 297

Focus Moment

The first Earth Day was in 1970. The purpose of Earth Day is to promote environmental citizenship. It is generally celebrated on April 22 around the world by people of all backgrounds and nationalities who wish to heighten an awareness of global and local environmental issues and support for policies and behaviors that promote caring for our planet. Create a poster titled “I Will Take Better Care of the Earth by Reducing, Recycling, Reusing,” and invite the congregation to come forward and sign their names as committed environmental citizens.

OR

Read I Can Save the Earth! by Alison Inches (Little Green Books, 2008, ISBN 9781416967897). Engage the listeners in ideas for caring for the environment. Pass out door hangers (photocopy on cardstock) and ask people to think of ways they can help save the Earth. Encourage people to write their ideas on the hangers and place them in a prominent place at home as a reminder of their commitment.

Disciples’ Generous Response

Stewardship is the response of my people to the ministry of my Son and is required alike of all those who seek to build the kingdom…Repression of unnecessary wants is in harmony with the law of stewardship and becomes my people.
—Doctrine and Covenants 147:5a, b, adapted

The Enduring Principle Sacredness of Creation calls us to join with God as stewards of all creation. We have been entrusted with the responsibility of caring for our environment and supporting ministries that will sustain the Earth. By reducing, reusing, and recycling, we not only help the environment, but free up our finances for increased giving to world mission tithes and local offerings. How will you respond as an expression of your stewardship over the Earth?