World Council of Churches

A worldwide fellowship of churches seeking unity, a common witness and Christian service

Time for Creation prayer service

This material was compiled by members of the Ecumenical Centre worship committee as an inspiration for congregations celebrating Time for Creation.

11 August 2010

Time to listen to the drumbeat of creation

Time to act for climate justice

Time to listen, to wait and to hope for the birth of Christ

Every year, from 1 September - the first day of the Orthodox Church year - to 4 October - the feast of Saint Francis of Assisi in the Catholic tradition - churches are called to become involved in the “Time for Creation” for the protection of God’s creation and the promotion of sustainable lifestyles. In 2010, the WCC is proposing to extend Time for Creation until 10 October, to join the 101010 campaign with prayers, vigils and actions.

After a reading from each day of the story of creation in Genesis 1, cries and hopes from a different region of the world are read out, 50 drum beats are beaten, or people could clap their hands fifty times, you can find creative ways to do this. This means that by the end of the service there will have been 350 hand claps or drum beats to remind us of the 350 parts per million of carbon that is the limit of what the earth can bear.

For each day of creation and of the glorious growing diversity celebrated in Genesis 1 there is a different colour of the rainbow. During the drum beating a piece of cloth in this colour can be laid down to gradually form a rainbow, sign of God’s covenant. A sign of hope and of transformation.

The service as outlined here last approximately 25 minutes. Please adapt it for local use by adding songs, a reflection, or by writing your own prayers. Do share any prayers you may write with us.

Download the outline of the prayer service (pdf)

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Introduction

Sing: Gloria a Dios, Gloria a Dios!

Day one of creation - colour red

Genesis 1, 1-5

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. 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.

Cries and hopes from the Pacific

Atua! Your Pacific people call out to you, even as the waters continue to rise...
hear our prayer, we who trust in your love!

Atua! Your Pacific people call out to you, even as our land disappears before our eyes...
hear our prayer, we who hope in your love!

Atua! Our strength! Our life! Our love!

50 drum beats

Sung response: Gloria a Dios, Gloria a Dios!

Day two of creation - colour orange

Genesis 1, 6-8

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.

Cries and hopes from Africa

Namalenga! God of all creation, as the elephants trumpet their distress when looking for water in drought stricken lands, hear our cries for our beautiful lands despoiled by the greedy looking to make easy money from natural resources.

Chiuta! See the deserts grow, the lakes and rivers shrink, animals die, crops fail.

Modimo, You are above and over all things, we trust you will transform our hearts of stone and call us to protect your creation even as we seek your protection.

50 drum beats

Sung response: Mayenziwe Ntando Yako

Day three of creation - colour yellow

Genesis 1, 9-13

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. 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.

Cries and hopes from Asia

O Lord protect the earth and all its abundant life.
Help us to conserve nature and serve all creation;
Transform our greed to consume into a thirst to share;
Wash us clean of carelessness and callousness.
Bless all our efforts to protect our environment.

May the seasonal rains continue to nourish the lands
May the glaciers continue to adorn the mountains,
rivers flow unhindered, teeming with life,
and people live in harmony with Mother Earth.
O Lord protect the earth and all its abundant life.

50 drum beats

Sung response: Mayenziwe Ntando Yako

Day four of creation - Genesis - colour green

Genesis 1, 14-19

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.

Cries and Hopes from the Middle East

Great God, hear us as we cry out to you for peace and justice for the peoples and the land itself. Grant us homelands where water, land and resources are respected and shared by all. Teach us to trust in hope that one day soon all may dwell beneath their vines and fig trees in peace and happiness. May your justice truly course through our lands like an unstoppable torrent.

Hear our cries. Grant us hope.

50 drum beats

Sung response: Mayenziwe Ntando Yako

Day five of creation - Genesis - colour blue

Genesis 1, 20-23

And God said, ‘Let the waters bring forth swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the dome of the sky.’ So God created the great sea monsters and every living creature that moves, of every kind, with which the waters swarm, and every winged bird of every kind. And God saw that it was good. God blessed them, saying, ‘Be fruitful and multiply and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.’ And there was evening and there was morning, the fifth day.

Cries and hopes from North America

Lord, have mercy on us, for we consume more than our share of the earth's resources, and in so doing we grind the faces of the poor.

Christ, have mercy on us, for we too often respond to bullies with bullying, fight terror with terror, answer violence with violence.

Lord, have mercy on us, that we may learn to doubt our doubts, to follow where you lead us and to nurture the hope we have in you.

Grant us your peace, O Lord, and put a new and right spirit within us.

50 drum beats

Sung response: Mayenziwe Ntando Yako

Day six of creation - Genesis - colour indigo

Genesis 1, 24-31
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.

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.

Cries and hopes from Europe

Creator God, our history teaches that we often don't use the freedom and responsibilities you give us well. We dominate rather than steward creation, build walls to keep others out instead of inns where all are welcome, we let fear and pride freeze us up instead of moving into your future. Help us to trust in our identity as your children, accept our thanks for the women, men and children, faith groups and political parties who show in action that indeed you created us good.

50 drum beats

Sung response: Mayenziwe Ntando Yako

Day seven of creation - Genesis - colour violet

Genesis 2, 1-3
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.

Cries and hopes from the Latin America

God in Creation, we recognize the presence of your Spirit in the midst of our Abya-Yala, in the mountains of the Andes, the tropical rainforests in Central America, the savannas and pampas, the rivers and the oceans.

We listen to the cry of the poor, who continue to suffer because of injustice. We listen to the cry of the Earth, which longs for liberation.

Help our peoples to continue to affirm that an alternative way is possible and deepen our spirituality and commitment for life.

50 drum beats

Sung response: Mayenziwe Ntando Yako

As the rainbow is woven and finished we stand and affirm together:

As long as the earth endures,
seedtime and harvest, cold and heat,
summer and winter, day and night,
shall not cease.’
Gen. 8.22

Silence

We keep silence, hoping and praying that the drum beats will stop, that each of us and the whole of humanity will take action to not exceed the 350 units of carbon that is the limit of what God’s beautiful and fragile creation can bear without irrevocable change.

Lord's prayer (said by each in their own language)

We stand to listen to and commit ourselves to the hope and promise of the gospel.

John 1.1-5
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.

Blessing

Sing: Ameni or Halleluja

This service was put together by members of the Ecumenical Centre worship committee. Please note that the biblical quotes are from the NRSV and copyright of the NCCUSA.

Download : time_for_creation_liturgy.pdf