Saturday, April 22, 2017

This Fragile Earth, Our Island Home

Today is Earth Day. Like never before, our biosphere is in a precarious place. As human greed to devour its resources increases exponentially, the cost of our privilege is measured out against the ever increasing number of those at the bottom. In the meantime "this fragile Earth, our island home" (Book of Common Prayer) suffers from the depletion of its flora and fauna due to overconsumption and the contaminants which are causing the climate to change in ways deleterious to ongoing existence of most current life forms.

That includes us.

Let us celebrate Earth Day with prayers and hymns. But let our gratitude for "this fragile Earth, our island home" not end with mere words and feel good images and songs. Let us resolve to rise to the challenge our own attitudes and behaviors have created for us and for all life as we currently know it. Let our response to these challenges, in the words of the Baptismal Covenant of the Episcopal Book of Common Prayer, be: "I will with God's help."

I offer for your consideration some prayers and hymns for this commemoration of Earth Day 2017:

A Prayer for Earth Day 2017

Holy One, Creator of the Universe, you are worthy of glory and praise. From your very Being all things came to exist: the vast expanse of interstellar space, galaxies, suns, the planets in their courses, and this fragile Earth, our island home.

By your will they were created and have their being.

From its primal elements came the human race, blessed with memory, reason, and skill. Holy One, you have entrusted us with your creation. But we have proven unreliable stewards. In our self-focus and shortsightedness, too often we turn against you and one another, despoiling your creation, betraying your trust.

Holy One, we pray you will have mercy upon us. For in the selfishness that blinds us, we harm your good Creation and all within it including ourselves. This day we pray that we may find the courage to see that which we would not look upon, to become truly sorry for these our misdoings and to humbly repent.

And because we cannot do so alone, we ask for an acute awareness of your constant presence with us this day. Assist us with your grace to find the gratitude, loving kindness and compassion that is due your good creation. Help us to turn from our destructive ways and to learn to live as responsible members of this fragile Earth, our island home. 

All this we ask in the name of the One who is the source of all that exists, the ground of our very Being and the destination of all souls.

Amen. Amin. Amina. Thathaastu. Tʼáá ákótʼée doo. So be it.

(adapted from the Episcopal Book of Common Prayer; endings from Judaic/Christian, Islamic, Swahili, Hindu, Navajo traditions)

11 Prayers for Earth Day

A Hymn for Earth Day

A beautiful rendition of the Swahili version of the Lord’s Prayer. “Your will be done on earth as in heaven…Give us today what we need….and forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us…for the kingdom…is yours, now and forever.”

A Hymn for the Earth from those at the Bottom

Sung by the little ones at the bottom of the developing world wondering what their fates will be in a world whose privileged first world members seem intent on destroying it.

A Hymn for the Earth from those at the Top

Watch Christopher Tin conduct “Baba Yetu” – his Grammy Award-winning theme song written for Civilization IV, a video game. Performed by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, the Angel City Chorale, Prima Vocal Ensemble, and Lucis at Cadogan Hall in London, July 19, 2016.

All this we ask in the name of the One who is the source of all that exists, the ground of our very Being and the destination of all souls.

Amen. Amin. Amina. Thathaastu. Tʼáá ákótʼée doo. So be it.

Harry Scott Coverston
Orlando, Florida

If the unexamined life is not worth living, surely an unexamined belief system, be it religious or political, is not worth holding.

Most things worth considering do not come in sound bites.

For what does G-d require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your G-d? (Micah 6:8, Hebrew Scriptures)

© Harry Coverston 2017


1 comment:

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