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Devotional Life

Clergy and Lay leaders can find much to meditate on in the sources cited below. Know that these also make excellent resources for worship and for devotions at meetings and retreats. 

Devotional materials:

Earth Gospel:  A Guide to Prayer for God's Creation by Sam Hamilton-Poore (who teaches spiritual life at San Francisco Theological Seminary (Upper Room Books, 2008).   The book offers prayers for morning, midday, and evening for every day for four weeks, supplemented with meditations, biblical texts, and prayerful reflection.

Green Bible Devotion, (HarperSnFrancisco, 2009) is a daily devotional that is a companion to the Green Bible (an NRSV version of the Bible with passages related to creation highlighted in “green”).

Earth Prayers from Around the World: 365 Prayers, Poems, and Invocations for Honoring the Earth edited by Elizabeth Roberts (HarperSanFrancisco, 1991).

Earth and All Stars: Reconnecting with nature through Hymns, Stories, Poems, and Prayers from the World’s Great Religions and Cultures, edited by Anne Rowthorn (Wipf and Stock, 2009)

Thirty Days of Creation, a devotional booklet available for free download in the section on “manuals” in the Green Congregation Program section of the Web of cCeation website (www.webofcreation.org) .

Luther College Ministries and Dakota Road Music Offer Liturgy for Earthkeeping A core mission of Lutheran higher education is the integration of faith and learning in service of the common good.    In that spirit a liturgy for the broader church was commissioned in honor of Luther's sesquicentennial.  It is a collaborative project between Dakota Road Music and Luther College Ministries.  The Liturgy for Earthkeeping is being offered as a resource for congregations and ministries that worship in outdoor settings to help strengthen connections between sustainability, liturgy, spiritual formation and joyful stewardship.


Reflections/ Meditations:

Holy Ground: A Gathering of Voices on Caring for Creation, edited by Lindsay Moseley (San Francisco: Sierra Club Books, 2008).

Love God, Heal Earth edited by Sally Bingham (Pittsburgh: St. Lynn’s Press, 2009)

Please consider also the poetry of Wendell Berry, Mary Oliver, Gary Snyder, and the nature reflections of Annie Dillard.

Spiritual Disciplines: Guidelines to reorient your relationship with nature

If we are to care for creation, we need to cultivate our relationship with nature. Here are some ideas and resources to do that.

1. Know that earth is full of God’s glory. Just as you may see God in the faces of others, so also see God in the presence of other living things.

2. De-center yourself and other humans by thinking of your property or your neighborhood as a piece of earth you share with other living things. How can you get to know the trees and bushes and flowers and animals to see yourself as part of earth community? A good source is Anthony Westin, Back to Earth: Tomorrow’s Environmentalism (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1994).

3. Look to nature as a source of renewal. There is a therapy designed to bring human wholeness and healing through a relationship with the rest of nature. See Eco-Therapy by Howard Clinebell (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1994) and Reconnecting with Nature by Michael Cohen (Lakeville: Ecopress, 2007). The Last Child in the Woods by Richard Louv names the loss of a connection with nature as “nature deficit disorder.” Books in your local library will identify ways to restore your connection.

4. Let all creation praise God. The Bible says that the seas are to “roar” and the tress “clap their hands” and the fields “exult.” Next time you worship, think of the earth around you as the sanctuary in which you are worshiping and imagine yourself part of an Earth community that is praising God by their existence.

5. Spend time with nature. Take some time each day to be present with trees and animals. Look at them carefully, listen to the sounds of life around you, appreciate them, and love them. Recognize the interrelationship you have with others in earth community and give thanks.

6. Stop to think about the ways your daily decisions affect the life around you: lawn care, car emissions, furnace emissions, waste, and so on. Seek to change decisions that generate a harmful impact on life around you.

7. Pay special care to life in your home—pets and plants. Imagine what you might need to do to care for all plants and animals in your arena of life in the same way. We take care of our cars but we love our children. Let’s love nature as we love our family.

8. Pray for the life of nature. Intercede especially for endangered species. Know that God cares for all of life and has created the world so as to “provide [animals] their food in due season.”

9. Eat your food with care. Be grateful that you are fortunate to have food. In your table blessing, pray not just about the food “for our use” but pray that plants and animals may thrive for their own sake and be treated with care.

10. Recognize that you are nature—a mammal, a higher primate, sharing much of the same gene pool, depending on the rest of nature for life and breath, and thoroughly embedded in creation as a whole. Know you kinship with the community of life.

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