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SUMMER 2016 "Let All Creation Praise" worship series

LET ALL CREATION PRAISE

This series of devotions during the summer of 2016 provided an opportunity for Faith United family members to worship together each Sunday morning, even while being apart physically. 

The worship devotions below are adapted from http://www.letallcreationpraise.org/summer-devotional. "Let All Creation Praise" offers resources for congregations to celebrate God's love for creation, to worship God with creation so as to reconcile and restore our human relationship with the rest of nature, and to foster love and care for God's whole creation. 

SUNDAY #1: July 3, 2016

SUNDAY #2: July 10, 2016

SUNDAY #3: July 17, 2016

SUNDAY #4: July 24, 2016

SUNDAY #5: July 31, 2016

SUNDAY #6: August 7, 2016

SUNDAY #7: August 14, 2016

SUNDAY #8: August 21, 2016

SUNDAY #9: August 28, 2016

 

SUNDAY #1: July 3, 2016

 

Scripture Words:

In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth, 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. (Genesis 1:1-2)

 

Opening Prayer:

(Face each of the four directions as you pray)

Holy One, send us wisdom from the EAST.

Remind us always to give thanks for the gift of our lives with every sunrise.

Holy One, send us wisdom from the SOUTH.

Remind us always to give thanks for the gift of each other with every warm wind.

Holy One, send us wisdom from the WEST.

Remind us always to give thanks for the sacred gift of creation with every falling leaf. 

Holy One, send us wisdom from the NORTH.

Remind us always to give thanks for strength and understanding with every cool breeze. 

 

Opening Song:

            VU 291 All Things Bright and Beautiful

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WlhV80QPUuI

 

Words to Ponder:

Apprehend God in all things,

for God is in all things.

Every single creature is full of God

and is a book about God.

Every creature is a word of God.

If I spent enough time with the tiniest creature – even a caterpillar –

I would never have to prepare a sermon.

So full of God is every creature.

Meister Eckhart (1260 – 1327)

 

Reflection:

Take a few minutes to find and observe one of God’s creatures or a part of God’s creation in its natural habitat (be careful not to disturb it/them).  What does this creation say to you about God and God’s nature? 

 

Closing Prayer/ Blessing:

Happily, may we walk.

Happily, with abundant dark clouds, may we walk.

Happily, with abundant showers, may we walk.

Happily, with abundant plants, may we walk.

Happily, on a trail of pollen, may we walk.

Happily may we walk.

Being as it used to be long ago, may we walk.

 

May it be beautiful before us.

May it be beautiful behind us.

May it be beautiful below us.

May it be beautiful above us.

May it be beautiful all around us.

In beauty it is finished.

In beauty it is finished.

                        Adapted from Navajo Chant

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SUNDAY #2: July 10, 2016

 

Scripture Words:

Then God said, ‘Let there be light’; and there was light. And God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day. (Genesis 1:3-5)

 

Opening Prayer:

(you are invited to face each of the four directions as pray)

Holy One,

Send us wisdom from the east.

[silent reflection]

Holy One,

Send us wisdom from the south.

[silent reflection]

Holy One,

Send us wisdom from the west.

[silent reflection]

Holy One,

Send us wisdom from the north.

[silent reflection]

 

Opening Song:

            VU 409 Morning has broken

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kKoRp05L95c

 

Words to Ponder:

The Surprise Gift

God said, “Let there be light.”

 

The clock of time ticked once, then twice –

pacing itself through seconds, minutes, hours, days, centuries

revealing to each generation

            a new place living in the sun.

 

Light is not white, but

a beaming shower of myriad colours –

reflected in the colours of peoples, living things,

            stretching on to the stars in space.

 

Light is not bland. It

creates excitement, energizing growth,

in humanity, animals, plants, and onto un-limiting galaxies …

where time marks another age for discovery,

            for renewal.

 

The magnificence of light, the originator of heat,

coolness, colours, brilliance, energies and,

            yes, interpretation of God’s refreshing love.

 

What light is, we may never know,

except for the promise of the Rainbow.

 

So

“Let there be light”

            in the final veil in meeting

                        our Creator

                                    our Parent

                                                our God!

 

Doreen Crick (as printed in Our Roots, Our Lives, United Church Publishing House, 2003)

 

Reflection:

The poet writes “what light is, we may never know, except for the promise of the rainbow.”  Reflect on your current understandings of light -- how it has changed over the years?  What is your understanding of the promise of the rainbow?

 

Closing Prayer/ Blessing:

This day God sends us

strength to sustain us,

might to uphold us,

wisdom as guide.

Your eyes are watchful,

your ears are listening,

your lips are speaking,

friend at my side.

                                    (VU 410 v. 2)

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SUNDAY #3: July 17, 2016

 

Scripture:

And God said, ‘Let there be a dome in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.’ 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. God called the dome Sky. And there was evening and there was morning, the second day. (Genesis 1:6-8)

 

Opening Prayer:

(you are invited to face each of the four directions as you share in this prayer)

(face east)

Holy One,

We give thanks for the gift of our lives with every sunrise.

(face south)

Holy One,

We give thanks for the gift of each other with every warm wind.

(face west)

Holy One,

We give thanks for the sacred gift of creation with every falling leaf. 

(face north)

Holy One,

We give thanks for strength and understanding with every cool breeze. 

 

Opening Song:

VU 509 I the Lord of Sea and Sky

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EcxOkht8w7c

 

Words to Ponder:

Little darling, it's been a long cold lonely winter
Little darling, it feels like years since it's been here
Here comes the sun
Here comes the sun, and I say
It's all right

Little darling, the smiles returning to the faces
Little darling, it seems like years since it's been here
Here comes the sun
Here comes the sun, and I say
It's all right

                        “Here Comes the Sun”, George Harrison, The Beatles

 

Reflection:

Many popular songs use the sun, stars and moon for imagery.  Sun and moon, day and night are powerful metaphors for how we guide and experience our lives.  Reflect on a song that uses sky (sun, moon or stars) imagery that has been particularly powerful and meaningful to you, share or journal how and why this metaphor of night and light has guided you.

 

Closing Prayer/ Blessing:

May the road rise to meet you,

may the wind be always at your back,

may the sun shine warm upon your face,

may the rains fall soft upon your fields,

and may God hold you in the palm of her hand.

                        (Gaelic)

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SUNDAY #4: July 24, 2016

 

Scripture:

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. God called the dry land Earth, and the waters that were gathered together he called Seas. And God saw that it was good. (Genesis 1:9-10)

 

Opening Prayer:

(you are invited to face each of the four directions as you share in this prayer)

Holy One,

Remind us always to give thanks for the gift of our lives with every

sunrise.

Send us wisdom from the east.

 

Holy One,

Remind us always to give thanks for the gift of each other with every

warm wind.

Send us wisdom from the south.

 

Holy One,

Remind us always to give thanks for the sacred gift of creation with

every falling leaf. 

Send us wisdom from the west.

 

Holy One,

Remind us always to give thanks for strength and understanding with

every cool breeze. 

Send us wisdom from the north.

 

Opening Song:

I feel the winds of God – VU 625

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bKA-ByM-9gc

 

Words to Ponder:

Water is life.  Duke University explains: “You can go weeks without food but only 5-7 days without water.  When the water in your body is reduced by just one percent, you become thirsty.  At five percent, muscle strength and endurance declines significantly and you become hot and tired.  When the loss reaches 10 percent, delirium and blurred vision occur.  A 20 percent reduction results in death. 

 

There is no more important nutrient for our bodies than water.  No other substance is as widely involved in the processes and makeup of the body.  A man's body is about 60 percent water, and a woman's is approximately 50 percent.  Did you know that the human brain is about 75 percent water? “ (http://www.chem.duke.edu/~jds/cruise_chem/water/watdiet.html)

 

Reflection:

Imagine that all of creation is God’s body.  How do you abuse and take care of God’s body through your use (and possible misuse) of water?  How do you hold water as precious and sacred in your life?

 

Closing Prayer/ Blessing:

May God, who flows within us as the unstoppable river of life,

            Direct our coming and goings.

May Christ, who comes to us as life-giving water,

            Quench our thirst for meaning.

May the Spirit, whose presence nourishes us like the watering of a spring rain,

            Give us hope of new life

As we move forward this day

                                                            (Living Covenant, Sandra Severs, 2005)

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SUNDAY #5: July 31, 2016

 

Scripture:

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. 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. And there was evening and there was morning, the third day. (Genesis 1:11-13)

 

Opening Prayer:

(you are invited to face each of the four directions as you share in this prayer)

(east)

May we always give thanks for the gift of our lives with every sunrise.

(south)

May we always give thanks for the gift of each other with every warm wind.

(west)

May we always give thanks for the sacred gift of creation with every falling leaf. 

(north)

May we always give thanks for strength and understanding with every cool breeze. 

 

Opening Song:

In the bulb there is a flower (VU 703)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WkLw6i56Rzw

 

Words to Ponder:

I saw that God is everything that is good and energizing.

            God is our clothing

that wraps, clasps and encloses us

            so as to never leave us.

 

God showed me in my palm

a little thing round as a ball

about the size of a hazelnut.

I looked at it with the eye of my

understanding and asked myself:

“What is this thing?”

 

And I was answered: “It is everything that is created.”

 

I wondered how it could survive since

it seemed so little it could suddenly

disintegrate into nothing.

The answer came: “It endures and ever will

endure, because God loves it.”

 

And so everything has being

because of God’s love.

                        Julien of Norwich (1342 - 1416)

 

Reflection:

Find the smallest seed you can find and hold it in the palm of your hand.  Imagine the future potential inside of this seed, and then remember that whether or not this seed grows to live into its fullest potential or not, it is because God loves it.

 

Closing Prayer/ Blessing:

Give thanks to the Mother Earth.

Give thanks to the Father Sun.

Give thanks to the plants in the garden

Where the mother and the father are one.

                        (Steiner Schools)

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SUNDAY #6: AUGUST 7, 2016

 

Scripture:

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, and let them be lights in the dome of the sky to give light upon the earth.’ And it was so. God made the two great lights—the greater light to rule the day and the lesser light to rule the night—and the stars. God set them in the dome of the sky to give light upon the earth, to rule over the day and over the night, and to separate the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening and there was morning, the fourth day. (Genesis 1: 14-19)

 

Opening Prayer:

(you are invited to face each of the four directions as you share in this prayer)

Holy One,

from the east (pause).

from the south (pause).

from the west (pause).

from the north (pause).

You send us wisdom.

Thanks be to you,

Holy One.

 

Opening Song: you choose

            “Turn, turn, turn” (The Birds)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2zx6j4vI8lE

 

            “Circle Game” (Joni Mitchell)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V9VoLCO-d6U

 

Words to Ponder:

I thank You God for most this amazing day:

for the leaping greenly spirits of trees

and a blue true dream of sky;

and for everything which is natural which is infinite which is yes

(I who have died am alive again today,

and this is the sun’s birthday; this is the birth

day of life and of love and wings; and of the gay

great happening illimitably earth)

 

how should tasting touching hearing seeing

breathing any – lifted from the no

of all nothing – human merely being

doubt unimaginable You?

 

(now the ears of my ears awake and

now the eyes of my eyes are opened)

                        e.e. cummings (1894-1962)

 

Reflection:

Like creation, our spiritual life often moves through cycles; times of consolation when we feel very close to and in harmony with God, and times of desolation when we feel distant and dissonant.  A spiral continually winding both inward and outward.  Reflect on seasons when you have felt distant from God.  How did it affect your life and your relationship with others?  Where you still able to feel or see God’s presence or was the ‘ear of your ear sleeping and the eye of your eye closed’?  How close do you feel to God now?  How might you continue to draw close(r) to God’s glory?

 

Closing Prayer/ Blessing:

May the warm winds of heaven

Blow softly upon you,

And may the Great Spirit

Make Sunrise in your heart.

                        (Cherokee blessing, USA)

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SUNDAY #7: AUGUST 14, 2016

 

Scripture:

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. 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. (Genesis 1: 24-25)

 

Opening Prayer:

(you are invited to face each of the four directions as you share in this prayer)

Holy One,

(turn east in silent reflection)

(turn south in silent reflection)

(turn west in silent reflection)

(turn north in silent reflection)

We give thanks.

 

Opening Song:

            All God’s Creatures

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NcG1JNpazN4

 

Words to Ponder:

Teach your children

what we have taught our children –

that the earth is our mother.

Whatever befalls the earth

befalls the sons and daughters of the earth.

If men spit upon the ground,

they spit upon themselves.

 

This we know.

The earth does not belong to us,

we belong to the earth.

This we know.

all things are connected

like the blood which unites one family.

All things are connected.

 

Whatever befalls the earth

befalls the sons and daughters of the earth.

We did not weave the web of life,

we are merely a strand in it.

Whatever we do to the web,

we do to ourselves …

                                    (Chief Seattle)

Reflection:

Chief Seattle writes “The earth does not belong to us, we belong to the earth”, what does belonging to something imply?  How does us belonging to earth change our relationship with it and with the other creatures around us?  What have you learnt about our connection to all of creation?  What do you hope to teach future generations?  How might you go about doing this?

 

Closing Prayer/ Blessing:

May the love of the Lord rest upon your soul.

May God’s love dwell in you, throughout every day.

May God’s countenance shine upon you and be gracious to you.

May God’s Spirit be upon you as we begin this day.

                                    MV 218

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SUNDAY #8: AUGUST 21, 2016

 

Scripture:

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.’ So God created humankind* in his image, in the image of God he created them;*male and female he created them. 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.’ 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. 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. 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 1: 26-31)

 

Opening Prayer:

(you are invited to face each of the four directions as you share in this prayer)

Holy One,

Send us wisdom from the east.

Remind us always to give thanks for the gift of our lives with every sunrise.

Holy One,

Send us wisdom from the south.

Remind us always to give thanks for the gift of each other with every warm wind.

Holy One,

Send us wisdom from the west.

Remind us always to give thanks for the sacred gift of creation with every falling leaf. 

Holy One,

Send us wisdom from the north.

Remind us always to give thanks for strength and understanding with every cool breeze. 

 

Opening Song:

Oh Master, let me walk with thee (VU 506)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kJbG3z2Wzl4

 

Words to Ponder:

We have forgotten who we are.

We have forgotten who we are.

We have alienated ourselves from the unfolding of the cosmos,

We have become estranged from the movements of the earth.

We have turned our backs on the cycles of life.

 

We have forgotten who we are.

 

We have sought only our own security.

We have exploited simply for our own ends.

We have distorted our knowledge.

We have abused our power.

 

We have forgotten who we are.

 

Now the land is barren.

And the waters are poisoned

And the air is polluted.

 

We have forgotten who we are.

 

Now the forests are dying

And the creatures are disappearing

And humans are despairing.

 

We have forgotten who we are.

 

We ask forgiveness

We ask for the gift of remembering

We ask for the strength to change.

 

We have forgotten who we are.

                        (UN Environment Sabbath Program)

 

Reflection:

Do you agree that as a people we have forgotten who we are and our relationship to creation?  Do you think that you have forgotten who and whose you are?  Why or why not?  What do we need to seek forgiveness for?  What do you need to remember?  And what do we need to change?  Collectively and individually?

 

Closing Prayer/ Blessing:

Be a gardener.

Dig a ditch,

Toil and sweat,

and turn the earth upside down

and seek the deepness

and water the plants in time.

Continue this labour

and make sweet floods to run

and noble and abundant fruits to spring.

Take this food and drink

and carry it to God as your true worship.

Amen

                        Julian of Norwich

 

            Go, with the desire to

                        “touch the earth lightly,

                        use the earth gently” and to

                        “nourish the life of the world in our care”

            Amen.

                        (from VU 307)

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SUNDAY #9: AUGUST 28, 2016

 

Scripture:

Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all their multitude. 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. So God blessed the seventh day and hallowed it, because on it God rested from all the work that he had done in creation. These are the generations of the heavens and the earth when they were created. (Genesis 2:1-4)

 

Opening Prayer:

(you are invited to face each of the four directions as you share in this prayer)

Holy One,

Send us wisdom from the east.

Remind us always to give thanks for the gift of our lives with every sunrise.

Holy One,

Send us wisdom from the south.

Remind us always to give thanks for the gift of each other with every warm wind.

Holy One,

Send us wisdom from the west.

Remind us always to give thanks for the sacred gift of creation with every falling leaf. 

Holy One,

Send us wisdom from the north.

Remind us always to give thanks for strength and understanding with every cool breeze. 

 

Opening Song:

Come and find the quiet centre (VU 374)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PjB5-97zKaw

 

Words to Ponder:

Some keep the Sabbath going to Church –

I keep it, staying at Home –

With a Bobolink for a Chorister –

And an Orchard, for a Dome –

 

Some keep the Sabbath in Surplice –

I, just wear my Wings –

And instead of tolling the Bell, for Church,

Our little Sexton – sings.

 

God preaches, a noted Clergyman –

And the sermon is never long,

So instead of getting to Heaven, at last –

I’m going, all along.

 (Emily Dickenson 1830-1886)

 

Reflection:

Indeed many still ‘keep the Sabbath’ by going to church on a Sunday, even though Saturday is the seventh day of the week.  Do you currently keep the Sabbath?  How? What effective does it have on your life, physically, emotionally and spiritually?  If you do not keep the Sabbath what could you add to your weekly routine to incorporate rest in your life?

 

Closing Prayer/ Blessing:

Before thee, Father,

            In righteousness and humility.

With thee, Brother,

            In faith and courage,

In thee, Spirit,

            In stillness.

                        (Dag Hammarskj√∂ld, 1905-1961)

 

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