Everything is related, and we human beings are united as brothers and sisters on a wonderful pilgrimage,
woven together by the love God has for each of his creatures and which also unites us in
fond affection with brother sun, sister moon, brother river, and mother earth.
(Laudato Si’, 9)
Preaching regularly about climate change is one of the most effective ways for clergy to address the spiritual, moral, and pastoral aspects of our changing climate and to mobilize a bold, faithful, and Gospel-centered response.
Our diocese is committed to preaching and speaking about climate change. In 2017 we passed a resolution entitled We Are Still In: A Resolution to Fight Climate Change. The resolution pledges support of the goals of the Paris Climate Accord and calls upon preachers “to speak from the pulpit about the moral obligation to protect God’s creation.”
What better time than Creation Season to preach about a God who loves every inch of Creation and calls us to safeguard its life and integrity?
For sermon resources, visit RevivingCreation.org, the Website of the Rev. Dr. Margaret Bullitt-Jonas, to read her lectionary-based sermons on climate.
Visit ClimateWitness.org for talking points and sample sermons.
Visit Sustainable Preaching to read lectionary-based sermons on Creation care from a variety of preachers. You can also search for particular Bible passages.
Take a look at Creation-Crisis Preaching: Ecology, Theology, and the Pulpit, by Leah D. Schade (Chalice Press).
Are you considering preaching on the Green New Deal? Seven preachers known for their work in caring for Creation were asked to offer a tip on how to talk about the Green New Deal from the pulpit. Read the seven tips here.
Renew your contact with the natural world.
Wander outdoors. Take a Sabbath walk. Breathe, gaze, touch, notice, pray.
Go for a meditative walk without goal or agenda. Pause wherever something attracts your attention or curiosity. If you like, find a comfortable place to stand or sit, and take time to see, smell, hear, and touch the living world around you. How does God speak to you through the wind on your face, the Earth beneath your feet, or the leaf in your hand?
If you would like to learn some contemplative exercises for befriending God’s creation as a crucial aspect of Christian faith, read Steven Chase, Nature as Spiritual Practice (Eerdmans).
But ask the animals, and they will teach you;
the birds of the air, and they will tell you;
ask the plants of the earth, and they will teach you;
and the fish of the sea will declare to you.
Design a special service that celebrates the sacredness of God’s creation and our call to protect it.
Pray that we will be guided and strengthened to reweave the web of life.
Pray that we will awaken to our kinship with the whole creation.
Creation Season provides an opportunity to explore new Eucharistic prayers, collects, Prayers of the People, litanies, confessions, music, and sermon topics that focus on God’s love for and redemption of the whole created order.
Here are some Christian resources for creation-centered preaching, worship, and prayer:
Season of Creation: worship resources/liturgies
Earth Ministry: worship
Let All Creation Praise
Green Anglicans: liturgical resources
Grace-St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Tucson, AZ creates consistently outstanding Creation-centered liturgies from within and beyond the Book of Common Prayer. You can download some beautiful Creation Sunday liturgies here.
Season of Creation has created a complete guide to celebrating the season.
God’s Good Earth. Anne and Jeffrey Rowthorn have published a wonderful new book that could become a classic – an anthology of prayers and worship services.
God’s Good Earth offers Christians and their communities an engaging resource for prayer, reflection, and worship that reflects and nourishes their efforts to serve God and care for God’s creation. Compilers Anne and Jeffery Rowthorn have prepared 52 beautiful, ready-made prayer services, each around a specific theme, drawing from a rich variety of ecumenical resources: psalms and other responsive readings, Scripture, hymns, prayers, and reflections from the world’s most engaging nature writers and interpreters of the social and cultural landscape. Each section can be used in full, or the user may select smaller sections; permission is granted to the purchaser to reproduce for use in public prayer.
Organize an ecumenical or interfaith service focused on God’s Creation that is held outdoors in a public place.
A simple service of singing, prayers, and speaking from our various faith traditions can lift up the sacredness of the natural world, name our lament and grief about its destruction, acknowledge our guilt and repentance, and confirm our shared resolve to take effective action. Give children a chance to speak or otherwise take leadership. Develop a ceremony (lighting a candle, pouring water) that gives participants a way to engage their bodies.
Form a local chapter of Holy Hikes
Holy Hikes® is an eco-Ministry committed to rebuilding Communion between all of God’s Creation. Celebrate Holy Communion outdoors, in communion with sun and wind, birds and trees.
For information about Holy Hikes and how to start a local chapter, click here.
Check out an article about Holy Hikes, published by Episcopal News Service.
How do we pray our way through the grief evoked by a changing climate and threatened world?
– Organize an ecumenical or interfaith prayer service of lament, intercession, and hope.
– Read a blog post by the Rev. Margaret Bullitt-Jonas, “Pray the Bird.”
– Take a look at her article about praying with difficult emotions, “Feeling and Pain and Prayer.”
– Read her chapter, “Love Every Leaf,” in Rooted and Rising: Voices of Courage in a Time of Climate Crisis, edited by Leah Schade and Margaret Bullitt-Jonas (Rowman & Littlefield, 2019).
– Read Active Hope, by Joanna Macy and Chris Johnstone (New World Library, 2012).
Hold a Creation-centered retreat
Consider organizing a morning, afternoon, or whole day retreat to facilitate a deep spiritual experience and to encourage our ecological conversion. Pray outside. Reflect on texts that speak about God’s presence and power in the natural world. Consider the cry of creation and how we can join with God to heal the world entrusted to our care.
I arise today
Through the strength of heaven:
Light of sun,
Radiance of moon,
Splendor of fire,
Speed of lightning,
Swiftness of wind,
Depth of sea,
Stability of earth,
Firmness of rock.
(A portion of St. Patrick’s Breastplate)
Feeling alarm or devastation can guide us to a deep sanity, reminding us of who we are and what we need.
It can remind us that we belong to this larger body and that we care for it. Our power to act,
our power to take part in the healing of our world, our power to bring things back into balance, comes from the same source as that devastation.
Our pain for the world, and our power to take part in the healing of our world, both come from the same place.
(Joanna Macy, “Allegiance to Life”)