Call to worship
Praise God, all you people of the earth.
Blessed be God forever.
From the rising of the sun to its setting
blessed be God forever.
As high as the tree soaring above the forest,
as beautiful as the river flowing through many lands,
as rich as the ecosystems of an abundant earth,
as close as the smallest creature on the ground,
so good is the God of all creation.
blessed be God forever.
I sing the almighty power of God
that made the mountains rise,
that spread the flowing seas abroad
and built the lofty skies.
I sing the wisdom that ordained
the sun to rule the day;
the moon shines full at his command
and all the stars obey.
I sing the goodness of the Lord
that filled the earth with food;
he formed the creatures with his word
and then pronounced them good.
Lord, how your wonders are displayed
where’er I turn my eye,
if I survey the ground I tread
or gaze upon the sky!
God’s hand is my perpetual guide
He guards me with his eye
Why should I then forget the Lord
Whose love is evermore.
Cop26 is gathering in Glasgow.
But what is it?
The full title is the ‘United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties’ followed by 26, as this is its 26th iteration. As well as needing to look up what ‘COP’ stood for, I needed the dictionary to look up ‘iteration’, which means (thanks to Merriam-Webster) ‘a procedure in which repetition of a sequence of operations yields results successively closer to a desired result’ (Merriam-Webster). As this is number 26 that means that for 25 years plus of gatherings, we are still talking about it but not doing enough to change it. ‘It’s a fair cop’ perhaps. Let us pray:
Adoration & Confession
You did good making this planet!
It’s beautiful, amazing –
from tiny wriggly things,
to trees and mountains,
and people of all races, extraordinary people.
For the mess we make.
The rows, and the violence,
no feeling for being part
of something so much bigger.
We can’t see how to do it,
how to undo the mess we’ve made, how to work together.
How to love your way, earth and sea and human, and how we fit together.
Find a gentle way, give stuff up, take things on, live a way of healing?
Reminds me now of Jesus, his inclusive way of love.
For the healing of the nations,
Lord, we pray with one accord;
for a just and equal sharing
of the things that earth affords;
To a life of love in action
help us rise and pledge our word,
help us rise and pledge our word.
Lead us forward into freedom;
from despair your world release,
that, redeemed from war and hatred,
all may come and go in peace.
Show us how through care and goodness
fear will die and hope increase,
fear will die and hope increase.
All that kills abundant living,
let it from the earth be banned;
pride of status, race, or schooling,
dogmas that obscure your plan.
In our common quest for justice
may we hallow life’s brief span,
may we hallow life’s brief span.
You, Creator God, have written
your great name on humankind;
for our growing in your likeness
bring the life of Christ to mind,
that by our response and service
earth its destiny may find,
earth its destiny may find.
Mark 12.38-44 (NRSVA)
As he taught, he said, “Beware of the scribes, who like to walk around in long robes, and to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces, and to have the best seats in the synagogues and places of honour at banquets! They devour widows’ houses and for the sake of appearance say long prayers. They will receive the greater condemnation.”
He sat down opposite the treasury, and watched the crowd putting money into the treasury. Many rich people put in large sums. A poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which are worth a penny.
Then he called his disciples and said to them, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the treasury. For all of them have contributed out of their abundance; but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on.”
Last week I was on holiday in Chichester with family and we decided to visit the cathedral. We wanted our grand-daughter to see the current moon sculpture installation as she’s doing a school project on the solar system. It’s called
‘The Museum of the Moon’, by Luke Jerram.
You can’t tell from my wonky photo but the moon measures 7m in diameter and is a detailed NASA imagery of the lunar surface.
At an approximate scale of 1:500,000, each centimetre of the internally lit spherical sculpture represents 5km of the moon’s surface. There were quite a few people milling around the Cathedral and some of the visitors were trying to take those photos you may have seen where they appear to be holding ‘the moon’ in their hands. The sculpture is beautiful, but perhaps not perfect. As we walked round to see it from the other side, we noticed a tiny patch of white light showing from the internal lighting of the sphere, and we wondered if there was little rip in the moon!
From Chichester Cathedral to the Temple precincts, which is where our gospel passage
is set. There were a lot of people milling around there too and at first glance it might have appeared to be a perfect scene, but Jesus, observing the crowds, saw that it was imperfect. There were those who wanted the best seats, more concerned with appearance and being seen than action. But Jesus saw someone else too, the poor widow who put all she had to live on into the coffers.
From the Temple precincts to Glasgow and COP 26, where there have been a huge crowds this week of people from all over the world as they discuss climate change. Is it me or does it seem a little ironic that many have travelled to Scotland by plane? I wonder what that has done to the planet.
For years we have celebrated, boasted even, about the success of industrialisation in Manchester. We were a mining community, and the work was dirty, dangerous, led to ill health and was sometimes fatal. Life was hard and dirty, but squalid though the living conditions were the community was strong and took pride in the importance of their work . They did not know then that they were contributing to the greatest threat to human life on earth, or impacting the whole ecosystem. Climate change was not a thing.
But we are not ignorant, or innocent, we cannot claim to know nothing about the effects of industrialisation, about carbon emissions, about plastic in the sea, and so on. And when you think about the future for our grandchildren and great grandchildren and generations to come, how can we take action?
Repentance is always a good place to start, in that sense of turning around and moving in an entirely different direction, in this case leaving behind old habits that are bad for the planet and taking on those that may lead to transformation.
Some have said this week that COP26 may be the last real opportunity to change the future and save the planet. For us, as it was in Jesus’ day, it’s not about us being seen in the right places wearing our best clothes, but of acting on our beliefs and holding the earth in loving hands, being responsible stewards as God intended, and saving the planet for our grandchildren and future generations.
It’s all they have to live on.
Let us pray:
We are grateful, Creator God,
for all the benefits extracted from land and sea,
for all the people who have risked their lives for our comfort, our health, our wealth, our mobility.
We did not know, God who is with us in our darkness,
we did not know the cost to our radiant planet.
We did not wish to know, God who illumines our darkness, we did not wish to know the cost to your people;
health destroyed, communities ruined, land degraded, children labouring, conflicts raging.
For the sin we could not confess, for the sin we did not confess, for the sin we chose not to confess; Lord have mercy upon us. Amen.
God in his love for us lent us this planet,
gave it a purpose in time and in space:
small as a spark form the fire of creation,
cradle of life and the home of our race.
Thanks be to God for its bounty and beauty,
life that sustains us in body and mind:
plenty for all, if we learn how to share it,
riches undreamed of to fathom and find.
Long have our human wars ruined its harvest;
long has earth bowed to the terror of force;
long have we wasted what others have need of,
poisoned the fountain of life at its source.
Earth is the Lord’s: it is ours to enjoy it,
ours, as his stewards, to farm and defend.
From its pollution, misuse, and destruction,
good Lord, deliver us, world without end.
Words © 1973 The Hymn Society
We believe that this is God’s world and all that lives on it;
we believe that living gratefully
and giving generously are marks of faith.
We believe that all of humanity
should have equal access to the earth’s resources,
and that every individual must now act to preserve this world so that the children of tomorrow will not be burdened by the mistakes of today.
And so we commit ourselves
to think globally,
to trade fairly,
to live responsibly,
and to love this world as it is loved by God, who in Christ became one with creation. Amen.
From heaven you came helpless babe
Entered our world, your glory veiled
Not to be served but to serve
And give Your life that we might live
This is our God, The Servant King
He calls us now to follow Him
To bring our lives as a daily offering
Of worship to The Servant King
There in the garden of tears
My heavy load he chose to bear
His heart with sorrow was torn
‘Yet not My will but Yours,’ He said
This is our God …
Come see His hands and His feet
The scars that speak of sacrifice
Hands that flung stars into space
To cruel nails surrendered
This is our God …
So let us learn how to serve
And in our lives enthrone Him
Each other’s needs to prefer
For it is Christ we’re serving
This is our God …
Copyright © 1983 Thankyou Music
For the COP26 Conference:
at this moment in earth’s history
when humanity must take account of earth’s destiny, give to those leaders who gather in Glasgow
a sense of urgency,
a perception of necessity
and the wisdom and will
to secure the health and well-being of the world
at whatever the cost to wealth,
political advantage or prestige.
Mother and Father of all life,
God-with-us, help us:
to begin again our stewardship of your creation.
with knowledge and understanding.
Awaken within our hearts:
a passion for sustainable living.
to take lighter footsteps on your good earth.
to find ways of living more simply.
All prayers and affirmation from
‘Living Faithfully in the Time of Creation’;
Kathy Galloway & Katharine M. Preston (Eds).
ePub: ISBN 978-1-84952-803-0
along with some thoughts inspired by the book.