Our care of creation is an act of worship. And our worship is an act of caring for creation. The challenge is to be intentional in making the connections between our caring and our worship, and to find liturgical ways to express that relationship in a way that does not detract from the work of praising God. Worship can be a time to increase our awareness of the world around us, to increase our appreciation of the sacredness of creation, and to deepen our desire to treat it with dignity and respect. Jennifer Edinger, “Creation and Celebration Connections,” in Care of the Earth: An Environmental Resource Manual for Church Leaders, ed. Tina B. Krause, page 45. Chicago: Lutheran School of Theology, 1994.
There are increasingly more resources available on the internet that celebrate our connectedness to all of creation. Perhaps one of these will provide a resource or prayer that can be adapted by your congregation on Earth Day, Sunday, April 22, 2012. If you explore the websites further, you will find many ideas for worship throughout the year.
1. Season of Creation: This site provides many liturgies oriented to the celebration and needs of creation that could be suitable for a focus on Earth Day. http://seasonofcreation.com/
2. Let All Creation Praise: Earth Day liturgies http://www.letallcreationpraise.org/worship-services/earth-day
3. United Church of Canada: Bruce Sanguin, author of “If Darwin Prayed”, provides a liturgy based on the four pathways of the heart. http://www.united-church.ca/planning/seasons/earth
4. Earth Ministry: Service compiled and designed by Rev Gregory Peters http://earthministry.org/resources/worship-aids/sample-worship-services/earth-day-eucharist
5. Lutherans Restoring Creation (ELCA): Find theological background for sermons that speak about care of creation http://www.lutheransrestoringcreation.org/ http://www.bibleandecology.org/
6. Iona: Chris Pohill is the author of A Heart for Creation which offers prayers, worship resources and reflections http://www.ionabooks.com/2044-9781905010677-A-Heart-for-Creation.html
7. Lift up your Hearts (ELCIC): essays by Paul Bosch on the Greening of Worship, study documents by Harold Remus and Jana Kelly, and an essay Grain of Life and Grape of Love that includes hymnody lists on stewardship of creation by Fred Ludolph. http://www.worship.ca/
8. Web of Creation: Ecology Resources to Transform Faith Communities and Society: This website is maintained by the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago; go to http://www.webofcreation.org/
Finally, while Earth Day is one day you may choose to particularly focus on creation, consider that each Sunday there are ways to name our relationship with God and creation. See http://www.letallcreationpraise.org/four-steps-to-creation-care-in-all-worsh for further ideas.
Serve the Lord. Remember the poor. Care for creation!