Mondays in climate emergency

These climate emergency prayers are offered with the hope that you will help refine them. Please consider responding to some or all of the questions at the end in the comments box to help in the refining and reworking process.

There is a brief guide to the principles informing daily prayer in climate emergency here.

You can listen and join in using this podcast link.

— ɷˡˡ̷ —

God is the Lord, who created the heavens and stretched them out, who spread out the earth and what comes from it, who gives breath to the people upon it and spirit to those who walk in it. [Isaiah 42:5]

Who is it that we seek?
We seek God: Maker, Begotten and Upholding.
Let’s seek God with all our heart
Amen. God be our centre.
Let’s seek God with all our soul
Amen. God be our vision.
Let’s seek God with all our mind
Amen. God be our wisdom.
Let’s seek God with all our strength
Amen. God be our souls’ shelter.

God, by your Spirit, move over the face of our hearts and minds.
order our decisions, enliven our attitudes and
enlighten our thinking; enticing our reflection towards  your Wisdom.
pause…
Reader: Let us listen for the word of life.
The Psalms and readings are announced and read. When all have been read:
Reader: God has sent forth the word
May it not return empty.
A framework for reflection, using the pattern of the Lord’s prayer may be used. We resume with a canticle:

You are worthy, our Lord and God,
to receive glory and honour and power,
for you made all things,
by your will everything persists
and was created *

Hallowed be your name in the Beloved by the Spirit;
as in the beginning, so now and for ever. Amen.

A collect may be said

Everliving God, the heavens declare your praise and yet cannot contain your glory. We join with all creation in honouring you.
Expressions of praise and thanks may be shared here
Blessèd are you, creator God;
to you be glory and praise for ever!
Your Breath was over the unformed creation, and your Spirit overshadowed Mary as the Christ was enwombed, and now flares up, intimating your delight in us, reassuring that we are your children,
Our God In heaven, you are as a father and a mother to us:
Hallowed be your name!

Creator God, send your Spirit forth to bring abundant life to human desolations: free us with truth; awaken us to the urgencies of just such times as this; empower the dispossessed.
You might consider using the prayers for COP26 resource.… prayers or biddings, ending with:
Send forth your Spirit:
And renew the face of the earth. **
Create justice,
Grow peace
Renew creation.
… prayers or biddings, ending with:
Send forth your Spirit:
And renew the face of the earth.
Everliving Lover of our souls, you draw all people to yourself, wooing us Spirit to spirit. We remember before you hearts and minds in need of turning to truth, life and love.
 prayers or biddings. The leader ends this section with:
Send forth your Spirit:
And renew the face of the earth.

Passionately faithful God; may the eternal flame of your Spirit burn in our souls and warm the lives we touch in person, process or in prayer.
prayers or biddings may be added here, ending with
Breathe your Spirit forth:
And renew the depths of our lives.

Provisioning God upholding all things by your Spirit, sustain us with the daily bread which earth has given and human hands have made
prayers or biddings for God’s provision may be added here, ending with
Breathe your Spirit forth:
And renew the depths of our lives.

We acknowledge that we have doused your Spirit, turned aside from Wisdom and begrudged others

Set aside our wrongs, we implore, help us to truly turn
to know
and offer
joyful forgiveness,

Breathe your Spirit forth:
And renew the depths of our lives.
Let us attend; Christ breathes upon us the peace and forgiveness of God.
a moment for quiet reflection on our forgiveness.

Father may your Spirit overshadow us: in all that challenges; do not let us fall away from you.
before God we think about the coming hours.
When we are becalmed
blow us forward into your purposes.
If we grow cold towards your ways and purposes,
Rekindle your love in our spirits.
If we find ourselves tested in a dry place,
Water our souls.
In our living of this day:
yours be the kingdom, the power and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.

 

Notes

 *  Revelation 4:11
** See Psalm 104:30

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Questions, having prayed these words: are there any phrases or structures that you found helpful or that you particularly liked? Are there any changes that occurred to you that could be helpful? Is there anything missing or that needs tweaking?

Daily Prayer in climate emergency navigation page -for reference.

Daily Prayer in Climate Emergency

This is the landing page for the co-creation and testing-out of daily prayers in the climate emergency. If you’re here to participate please find links below to the offices of each day. This is a growing collection and not yet complete, so come back here to see what’s new. The hope is that every few days in the next handful of weeks, a new office /form will be posted. Please simply use them in your own regular prayer times. Any thoughts or comments you have, put into the comments section to be collected in due course. I hope that sometime after COP26 in Glasgow, to revise on the basis of comments and any insights that COP26 in Glasgow might add.

Don’t feel constrained to only use forms on their named day; for a little while not all the days will be available, so praying them a handful of times regardless of which day of the week it is, may be fair enough. It’s worth considering that praying the forms several times before commenting may be useful -letting the phrases etc settle in can be helpful.

| Sundays | Mondays | Tuesdays | Wednesdays | Thursdays | Fridays | Saturdays |

There is also a ‘climate office‘ where the focus is much more on the climate crisis -just in case you’d like to use that occasionally.

Here’s the basic thinking behind the daily forms…

Many governments and organisations and churches have recognised that we are in a climate emergency, echoing the deep and consuming concerns of many of us about the accelerating effects of human production of carbon dioxide through industrial processes producing extreme weather events more frequently and changing the biomes of the world faster than living forms can adapt, leading to extinctions and precarity where once there was abundance. Added to this we find ourselves contemplating the harms of plastics leaking into ecosystems and the loss of natural wonders and beauty.

As we pray daily, many of the resources we have inherited to help us in our regular prayer, often do not acknowledge the climate emergency (many because they were written before it). On the other hand there are other prayer resources make the environment and climate concerns the whole of their concern. The difficulty with those which do not really mention it, is that we find ourselves not offered explicit encouragements, ways or words to lay before God our climate-related concerns. Yet, as we pray, those concerns are there with us and within us anyway -tangling up mentally with the words and prayers laid out for us to use. Yet, the difficulty with the very focused liturgies -that present only environmental themes and prayers- is that we do also come with other concerns in our hearts and minds: we still have work and family concerns, matters among our friends and in our churches, projects and outreach which are not directly related to climate change.

The main principle of the materials in this collection of daily prayer for climate emergency, is to work between those two approaches, holding both together. So, the aim is to acknowledge climate concerns explicitly and to offer words and ideas in prayer that allow for environmental appreciation, reflection and distress to be expressed and also to give room and means to reflect on and express other, everyday, concerns and other areas of interest to be laid before God. In short, to enable regular prayer in a climate emergency where other aspects of life go on.

Being as this is a collection under the ‘our commen prayer’ banner, there is a basic commitment to the main part of the prayers following the outline and commitments of the Lord’s Prayer -check out the principles here.

Actions and rituals

On this page, there are a number of ideas for actions and rituals that could be used with, for example, the climate lament ideas on this site.

Please try to use materials with a view to their recyclability, compostability and sustainability.

Mourning Armbands. There is a long tradition -now largely only seen on sports’ teams when they are remembering the death of one of their own- of wearing a black armband to signal a bereavement and to show one is in mourning. So the basic idea is simply to wear one for extinct species or habitats. Make your own and customise it. https://www.ehow.com/how_5143632_make-armband.html. Suggestion: to add to it a simple symbol or a word or two to make it clearer what is being mourned. Further development of this idea: to have a making workshop with prayers for the activity and to ‘bless’ the wearing of the completed armbands. The activity of donning the armband can be a significant moment to reflect and hold before God the grieving and the cause of grieving.

Sackcloth and ashes. The biblical phrase “repent in sackcloth and ashes” is still sometimes in use as a byword for recognising one was wrong about something. It harks back to times when these things were part of rituals expressing grief and/or repentance. Sackcloth could then, be used as an armband (see the armband section). Smaller pieces could be used as badges to be added to a coat or jacket. It is simple to use a safety pin to hold it in place. The suggestions about armbands could be brought to bear in the making and ‘commissioning’. One of the things that could be added might be an ashen symbol (maybe a cross maybe something else). It might be helpful to use a mix of oil and ash ( https://www.ehow.com/how_7530818_mix-palm-ash-oil.html ) to make the symbol. Other materials could be used, of course.

Imposition of humus &/or ash. ‘Imposition’ is a traditional church term which means ‘putting on’ -usually a forehead or hands are in mind and it’s commonly used for the act of smearing ash-oil mix on a forehead on Ash Wednesday. This idea is development of that. Humus is, of course, the dark soil-building material (https://www.nationalgeographic.org/encyclopedia/humus/) rather than the chick-pea paste!

Anointing and smearing. See also the imposition of humus/ash section. Other materials -symbolic crude oil (apparently vegetable oil with red or dark food colouring can work for this). Symbolic blood has also been used. It can be applied to people or objects.

Prayer wall. For many people the go-to mental image of this might be the so-called Wailing Wall which is a foundation wall of what remains of the Temple in Jerusalem and is a place where Jewish pilgrims go to pray. One of the activities there is to place a written prayer into the cracks between the stones. Some places emulate this way of praying using small pieces of paper and a suitable wall (sometimes a pinboard or netting is used to ‘receive’ the paper).

Tears -symbolic the psalmist writes/recites of God storing our tears in a bottle. This could provide an action. An eye dropper is an effective way to deliver drops of water (symbolic tears) if some precision is needed about where they land. If not then fingers may well be suitable. Symbolic tears could be dropped into a bottle (try to find an attractive one which is transparent to allow the ‘tears’ to be seen. A flask or a caraffe might be suitable rather than a fairly standard thin-necked bottle. ‘Tears’ could be dropped onto objects or words or pictures as a way to specify symbolically the occasion of, or reason for, lament. People could be invited to moisten a cheek below their eye to symbolise tears. The dropping action could accompany particular words in a liturgy and be done in such a way as to be seen by most people present or it could be even more fully participatory and members of the congregation could be invited to come to where the tears may be dropped to drop them themselves.

Tolling a bell. Most people in western cultures would associate a single bell tolling slowly with an occasion of mourning, and this association is the basis for this symbolic suggestion. It could be done as a standalone action, perhaps with a symbolic number of rings. It could be done to accompany particular liturgical words.

Slow walk. Funeral processions often have a slow walk. This could be used and is most effective if done silently. It is probably most effective to be done with participants wearing sombre clothing and/or mourning armbands and with some people carrying some kind of symbolic object to make evident the occasion for mourning.

Penitential parade. This could be similar to the slow walk though there might be other actions accompanying it and perhaps a litany being recited as the walk takes place. It is recommended that if a litany is used, that the call and responses be clear and fairly succinct to enable onlookers and over-hearers to get a sense of what it is about. This might be an action that would suit a bell tolling or a unified action.

Cairn-raising. This is a traditional funereal practice in some parts of the world -placing small rocks and large stones over a body. The association with remembering and commemorating is widely understood and so inviting people to help to build a cairn to remember extinct species, for example, could be helpful.

Composting griefs. This in simple terms would involve writing griefs, words of lament onto a compostable material (using a non-toxic writing/drawing medium) and burying them or placing them into a compost bin or similar. The symbolism could be taken to be a recognition that our laments can become something that may in due course nourish life.

Earth Overshoot days

Earth Overshoot Day is the date in the year when humanity’s use of planetary resources and  ecological services in a given year exceeds what Earth's ecosystems can regenerate or replace in that year. In 2021, it falls on 29 July. Individual countries will also have different national dates most in the West will be well before July. The liturgy below is offered to be used in part or in whole for penitential-feeling gatherings for prayer. The materials are made available under Creative Commons licence to be freely used for non-profit purposes though please acknowledge the source with a link to this page and please put emendations and additions into the comments to share-alike. You can find ideas for symbolic Actions and rituals on another page on this site.

As we pray on this day when we recognise that we humans have collectively begun to use up more of the earth’s resources than can be replenished in a year, we gather in penitence. We recognise our greed, our pride and our selfishness. We recognise our lack of charity to our neighbours who consume so much less. We are appalled by the harms that we have built into our ways of life and infrastructure. We are penitent before our future selves, our children and their children.

Creator God, we are in awe of the cosmos you have made: its vastness, its minuteness, its beauty, its intricacy. You are Good:

Hallowed be your name

O God, how gracious you are -bestowing upon us good gifts we don’t even deserve. You are Good:

Hallowed be your name.

How merciful you are -overlooking our unwholesomeness to hold us in good relation with you. You are Good:

Hallowed be your name

Your compassion is wide and deep -slow to be offended and quick to mend our brokenness. You are Good:

Hallowed be your name

You delight in all you have made and generously invite us to share in your delight. You are Good:

Hallowed be your name

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Woe to us because humans are moving the created boundaries: exploiting natural systems faster than they can regenerate.

God, be gracious:

Amen: save us and help us.

Woe to us because human enterprise is financing its growth and development by liquidating the biophysical “capital” essential to our own existence.

God, be gracious:

Amen: save us and help us.

Woe to us because our lifeways are dumping waste faster than nature can absorb and recycle them.

God, be gracious:

Amen: save us and help us.

Woe to those who delay collective effort to reduce atmospheric carbon.

God, be gracious:

Amen: save us and help us.

Woe to those who overturn the godly wisdom of our forebears. O God, be gracious:

Amen: save us and help us.

Woe to those who harm their neighbours by unseen pollutants.

God, be gracious:

Amen: save us and help us.

Woe to those who take reward from injury to the integrity of nature.

God, be gracious:

Amen: save us and help us.

Woe to those who finance the extraction of fossil carbon and its emission into the air.

God, be gracious:

Amen: save us and help us.

Woe to those who take reward to foul the land or sea or air.

God, be gracious:

Amen: save us and help us.

Woe to those who take reward to mislead by greenwash and disinformation.

God, be gracious:

Amen: save us and help us.

Woe to those who devise and promulgate laws which harm God’s good earth and its living creatures.

God, be gracious:

Amen: save us and help us.

Woe to those who employ algorithm or trick of mind to delay our collective efforts to justly reach net zero.

God, be gracious:

Amen: save us and help us.

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As ecosystems fray and wither,

Our concerns grow

Like water in a rising tide.

As soils erode and become poorer,

Our concerns grow

Like water in a rising tide.

As poisons accumulate and pollutants spread,

Our concerns grow

Like water in a rising tide.

Knowing the frailty of the systems that bring us our daily bread

Our concerns grow

Like water in a rising tide.

As the air heats, the oceans warm and biomes move,

Our concerns grow

Like water in a rising tide.

As we observe the growth of deserts

Our concerns grow

Like water in a rising tide.

As we see the loss of glaciers and diminishment of polar ice,

Our concerns grow

Like water in a rising tide.

We cast our anxieties upon you, generous and faithful God

You open your hand:

supply us in season

Wise us up to respond

Grace us to share your provision

With the bread we need for today, feed us.
Into what will sustain earthly life, lead us

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Hearing again the woeful consequences as we err and stray from the ways of wisdom …

Mindful that tipping points into runaway environmental feedback effects glower above our heads…

let us throw ourselves upon the mercy and grace of God.

Bewailing and lamenting the saws at the trees, the fires of fossil carbon, the droughts ever more frequent and storms increasingly tempestuous, we return with anguish of heart to our Creator and Upholder.

Pause.

Who can we turn to for help but to you, O God -who shares our righteous indignation for these sins?

When we have followed too uncritically the habits of our nurture in housing and transport, diet and energy use:

Forgive us and make us afresh your true fellow-workers

when we continued complicity with financial and organisational failures to account for ecocidal business models:

Forgive us and make us afresh your true fellow-workers

when we have failed to push back against the influencers and greenwashers promoting and normalising unsustainable lifestyles and aspirations:

Forgive us and make us afresh your true fellow-workers

when we have unquestioningly accepted bad laws and have not pressed for better laws.

Forgive us and make us afresh your true fellow-workers

Blessed are they whom the Lord forgives, whom God softens with compassion and fiercens with boldness for the poor and the planet.

For they live in the kindom of God

Blessed are they who fend off apathy, censoriousness and hard-heartedness

For they live in the kindom of God

Blessed are they who pursue justice: the righting of wrongs; restoring true peace.

For they live in the kindom of God.

Blessed are they who nurture life and the relationships that support it

For they live in the kindom of God.

Blessed are they who consume as planetary good neighbours

For they live in the kindom of God

Blessed are they who reuse, recycle and reduce their consumption

For they live in the kindom of God

Blessed are they who pursue the way of the cross, the path of nonviolence.

For they live in the kindom of God

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Keep us, Creator of nature’s cycles, from wasteful habits, steer us from carbon fuel conformity, defend us from the wiles of adverts, deflect us from unsustainable choices.

Lead us into gracious and merciful living;
generous and respectful within all you have made.
As we contemplate your creation, O God,
we see wildness and order,
chance and necessity,
Freedom and limits.
Grant us to use lovingly our freedoms
to be wise in living the order of things
And wary of our vulnerability to misleadings.
For yours is the kingdom, the power and the glory.
Now and forever, amen

Jesus comes to us and says, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.”
He breathes on us and says; “Receive the Holy Spirit”
       ….Pause, breathe in, recognising God’s Spirit is with us.
Let us bless the Lord:
Thanks be to God
Who gives us the victory
through our Lord Jesus Christ.