A Prayer for Earth Week

Life-giving God, our hearts overflow with gratitude in response to your overflowing generosity. Over millions of years, you worked with loving patience to bring together in perfect proportion all the ingredients necessary for there to be life on this tiny planet we call earth. With perfect precision everything connects together for the good of the whole. In perfect balance every part gives of itself and receives for itself. With breath-like-rhythm, giving and receiving … receiving and giving … nourishing and being nourished…loving and being loved.

No part of your creation stands on its own, for you have not created anything that is self-sufficient in and of itself. Everything is humbly interdependent on everything else. Humble interdependence is the very fabric of creation. No wonder the web of life threatens to unravel, when this humble interdependence is rebelled against and broken.

Life-giving God we confess that we have rebelled against the humble interdependence of your creation and of our being. We have done so in ignorance and arrogance. We have done so unaware of the infinite knock-on effects of our actions. We have done so believing it is our privileged right as so-called “superior” beings to play by different rules. We have done so stubbornly refusing to listen to the mystics and prophets who called us to honour the perfect oneness of your creation. We think we are exempt from the perfect rhythm of giving and receiving … so we take more than we give. We take more than we need and more than what we can ever return and replace. Not content with living from the balance of the present, we consume from the future … and we rob the future of life.

And now the deathly consequences of our stubbornness are already being felt – the natural world dominos into deathly extinction – but many of us continue to live in denial. While others of us feel powerless to make the changes that are now urgently necessary: they feel too big, and we feel too small. And besides we have become dependent on the very things we need to change, for our survival. Some of us even campaign for change to happen, but we secretly hope that change will take place without us ourselves having to actually change.

We ignorantly thought it would be impossible to use up all the ingredients for life on earth – but our unlimited greed is fast revealing the limits of your creation when forced out of it replenishing rhythm. Your creation that promises there to be more than enough if only we do not take more than we need. We not only take more than we need but we envy those who have taken the most – we read their books and listen to their podcasts to learn their secrets of “success”. As of old, we choose Barabbas and crucify Jesus. We worship the killers of life and crucify the life saviours of the world. Life saviours who invite us to walk more gently, justly and humbly … or simply to walk more and drive less.

We confess, we are fools – we contaminate the soil in which our food grows – we poison the water we drink – we pollute the air we breathe. Thinking only of today we destroy tomorrow … which soon becomes today. Truly we have unpicked the fabric of humble interdependence and even done so with pride, believing falsely that so-called self-sufficiency is the highest virtue.

Life-giving God, it has only taken us a few hundred years for us to threaten and destroy what has existed for millions of years – making us the most destructive animal that has ever lived on earth. And yet you continue to follow us with goodness and mercy. Your grace is embodied in your creation, responding with mercy the instant we stop and turn from our abusive ways. Your creation imitates your own heart of forgiveness and resurrection power by restoring to life that which was dead … that which we have killed. We have seen this with our own eyes during the forced standstill brought about by Covid that revealed to us that the instant the natural world is left alone it returns with abundant beauty.

By your mercy help us to honour the humble interdependence you have created us for. Amen.

In grace,

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