Sending Forth: Acts of CommitmentCreator God, may we see your glory reﬂected in all of your creation, which Rooted in God’s Word and Landsalong with us has been redeemed in Christ. May we, and all those who comeafter us, enjoy your lands and share their bounty equitably in our commu- A Celebration of the Earth That Nourishes Usnities and with other creatures. Help us to be responsible tenants on yourlands, and give us the courage to protect all of your creation so that others The National Council of Churches Eco-Justice Programsmay experience its glory. Amen. Land Stewardship SundayTake Action to Protect and Redeem God’s LandsCare for Nearby Public Lands. Adopt a trail or plan a service project Land —the created earth—is an integralwith your congregation or youth group at your favorite park or wild place. part of God’s glorious creation and a vesselOutdoor service is a great way to witness the glory of God’s lands ﬁrst-hand, through which God nourishes us. But weanswer the call to care for and restore creation, and share in fellowship. often take the ground beneath our feet for granted, forgettingReduce Unsustainable Energy Use. Many utility companies offer programs that it includes the soil, air,that allow you to purchase part of your power from renewable sources. and water needed to produceIf your local power company offers such a program, join it! If they don’t, our food and sustain all formsencourage them to start one. You can also reduce energy development of life. Land is the base forpressure on God’s lands by ensuring that your home and worship space forests, grasslands, deserts, and moun-are energy efﬁcient. For ideas, visit Interfaith Power and Light at: tains and the foundation of all terrestrial ecosystems. Ithttp://www.theregenerationproject.org/ipl/index.html brings blessings like minerals and lumber, provides the ground for our communities, and offers a place for spiritual renewal through recre- ation and solitude. As Christians we are rooted in the Gospel spiritually andSupport Local, Family Agriculture. Support community agriculture in the land physically. Since damage to God’s lands causes injustice to thoseand sustainable methods of farming that preserve soil and water quality, whose livelihoods depend on them and disruption of the web of creation,keep rural communities vibrant, and treat God’s creatures with more respect caring for and protecting God’s land is our moral and spiritual responsibility.than “factory farming.” To ﬁnd a farmer’s market or Community SupportedAgriculture (CSA) program near you, visit: http://www.localharvest.org/ CALL TO WORSHIP O Holy One—Creator of the Earth and Sky—often we do not consider theEnjoy Responsible Recreation. Outdoor enthusiasts, who love spending wonderful rhythms of your creation, which sustain and nourish our bod-time exploring God’s lands, sometimes “love the land to death.” When ies and spirits. From the farmers and ranchers who grow our food, to theenjoying recreation activities—whether camping hiking, hunting, ﬁshing policies that protect us with clean soil, water, and air, we have much to beor, especially, using off-road vehicles—remember to minimize your impact thankful for. Let us be mindful of our place in your created order, O God,on the land as much as possible. and grateful that we can enjoy the blessings of abundance, open space, and solitude; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.For more information on how you can help protect God’s landsvisit the National Council of Churches Eco-Justice Program website at Adapted from: Montana Rural Life Sunday Worship Resourcewww.nccecojustice.org or call 202-544-2350. www.montana-churches.org/programs/rurallife/index.asp
Responsive Prayer of Thanksgiving Prayer of ConfessionLeader: Almighty God, who created Heaven and Earth through your Word, Creator God, we confess that we have sinned against you, our neighbors,we praise you for your glorious creation and give thanks that you have and all of your glorious creation. We have not heeded your call to be faithfulentrusted its care to us. From your commandment to Adam and Eve to tend tenants of the land you have entrusted to us.and keep the garden, to all of us living in modern communities around theworld, we gratefully reafﬁrm our privilege and responsibility to be faithful, We have not equitably shared the natural bounty ﬂowing from your landsjust, and loving tenants of your lands and guardians of the life they support. nor used them to build strong, vibrant communities.We thank you for: We have forgotten the value of wild places—existing as they were when youLeader: The grandeur of the forests created them—and the Biblical signiﬁcance of wilderness, which played aPeople: The towering trees, singing birds, and clean, peaceful waters that vital role in the spiritual journeys of your people from Moses to our Savior quench our thirsts Jesus Christ.Leader: The starkness of the deserts and the towering might We have not always been good stewards of our own lands or willfully of the mountains involved ourselves in the management of lands held in the public trust.People: The example of strength they provide and the wild We have not been a strong voice for your lands and the life they sustain array of life you have created to inhabit them nor openly and passionately called on public ofﬁcials managing your lands to ensure that they remain healthy, vibrant, and open for all to enjoy.Leader: The solitude of your wildernessPeople: The opportunities it provides for meditative prayer, spiritual Too often we have been complacent about the desecration of your lands journey, and peaceful connection to you and wilderness. We have allowed destructive activities to occur in sensitive places that cannot sustain them. We have come to accept soil and waterLeader: The productivity of the ﬁelds pollution and extinction of your creatures as an inevitable part of modernPeople: The soil and water that give life to the crops that nourish us life. and the communities that sustain us Those of us who live in cities and towns have often forgotten the needsLeader: The equitable sharing of those lands set aside for protection of our rural neighbors, whose livelihood directly depends on healthy lands.People: The parks where we hike and play, the refuges that sustain We have not spoken out on their behalf and have forgotten that we are all wildlife, the cultural sites that remind us of our history, and brothers and sisters, part of one community in Christ. all the opportunities we have to experience your creation We are truly sorry and we humbly repent. Help us, O Lord, to protect yourLeader: In Jesus’ name we pray lands and the whole of your glorious creation. Give us strength andPeople: Amen. passion to act as faithful stewards, to equitably share the bounty of your earth, and to safeguard your lands as you have called us to do. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.