First Vespers of Earth Day, April 21 2017
We pause and remember that the God Who created us and Who sustains us is never far from us. In God we live and move and have our being.
O God, Holy Spirit, Whose breath gives life to the world and Whose voice is heard in the soft breeze,
we need Your strength and wisdom.
Come to us and among us;
Come as the wind and cleanse us.
We join with Your Creation and with each other.
At the end of the time prayerfully sing or read aloud the following song by Edith Sinclair Downing
Great God, Your Vast Creation
Great God, your vast creation breaks forth in joyous praise.
The creatures with elation their eager voices raise.
We hear the vibrant chorus of frogs announcing spring.
The songbirds rise before us and soar on silent wing.
We hear the gentle lapping as ripples meet the shore,
and sound of waves’ loud crashing: the mighty ocean’s roar.
Yet, God, there is pollution of waters which were pure.
Our wills resist solutions; move us to find a cure.
We grieve the growing absence of creatures once held dear.
More mating calls are silenced—those sounds we thrilled to hear.
Teach us to humbly reverence all life beneath the sun.
Awake in us awareness our destinies are one.
You make us in your image; you give us endless worth.
Help us as we envisage the sacredness of earth.
We would reclaim the treasure of rainbows in clear skies,
and seek to save this pleasure for children’s wondering eyes.
As we face each tomorrow, we pray for strength to dare
to live as if each sparrow depends upon our care.
Tune: Thaxted, by Gustav Holt: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Ah6-70PnCY
Contemplation: Sit silently for five minutes and simply breathe in and out – aware of the gift of air that Earth provides to us so that we might live.
Study: We have a rich tradition! Catholic Climate Covenant has vast resources for prayer and action. Go to: http://www.catholicclimatecovenant.org/Teachings. Choose one or several of the suggested teachings from Modern Voices, Pope Francis or previous popes, the bishops, Scripture, or the Church Mothers and Fathers. As you read these materials thoughtfully and prayerfully, notice how this touches your heart. What have you learned today from these teachings that you didn’t know before? What have you learned that you would like to share with others? What have you learned that may spur you to action?
- Act: Sometime over the next nine days, take a hike in the woods, sit in a green space in the city, or visit a public garden – even your own yard or garden. Find some token of nature from your time outdoors to keep in your home as a tangible connection to Earth.