Salvation Army - Environment Ethics

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Worship Aids

447 Webb Place  Winnipeg, Manitoba  CANADA R3B 2P2  (204) 957-2412

This package of worship aids is part of an ongoing project of The Salvation Army Ethics Centre. We are committed to providing resources for Christian faith communities on issues of moral and social importance. We would appreciate your feedback regarding these resources, and welcome any suggest ions for addit ional materials or topics.


Worship Aids – Environment

Genesis 1:1-2:1 Genesis 9 Leviticus 25:2-5, 23-24 Nehemiah 9:6 Job 12:7-10 Job 38: 1-41 For dramatic effect, the reader could solicit a commanding and booming, but also slightly sarcastic or ironic voice, when delivering this passage over the sound system, unseen by the congregation. First, set the scene with this synopsis of the story of Job: Many of us know the story of Job – the broad strokes, the main points of the oldest story in the Bible. Satan asks God if he can test Job’s faith and God agrees, as long as Satan doesn’t threaten Job’s own life. In a few swift moves, Job loses almost everything he has: his livelihood and possessions, his children, and his health. Job takes himself out into the middle of nowhere to contemplate what has happened and consider his own response to God. A few well-meaning friends show up to counsel him. “Curse God and die,” one suggests. They can’t understand how Job can remain so calm. Job does have questions for God, and the bulk of this book in the Bible is taken up with his rumblings and prayers. And at the end of the story, God finally shows up. But instead of providing direct answers to Job’s questions or clear explanations for Job’s suffering, God puts Job in his place with questions of his own. Psalm 24:1 Psalm 96:10-13 Psalm 104:24-35 (may be an effective Call to Worship) Psalm 148:1-10 Isaiah 6:3 Isaiah 11:6-9 Isaiah 24:4-6 Isaiah 43:20-21 Isaiah 55:12 Jeremiah 2:7 Ezekiel 34:17-18 2 Worship Aids – Environment

Luke 13:14-15 Romans 1:19-20 Romans 8:19-22 Colossians 1:15-17 Revelation 21-22


Worship Aids – Environment

Hymns All Creatures of Our God and King (St. Francis of Assisi, SASB 2, VU 217) All Praise to You (Stewards of Earth) (Omer Westendorf, VU 297) All Things Bright and Beautiful (Cecil Frances Alexander, SASB 25, VU 291) Before the Earth Had Yet Begun (Herbert O’Driscoll | David M. Young, VU 301) Beyond the Farthest Bounds of Earth (Miriam M. Richards, SASB 27) Creator God You Gave Us Life (Judith Snowdon, MV 27) The Earth and All Who Breathe (Ruth Duck, VU 295) Fairest Lord Jesus (SASB 177, VU 341) For Beauty of Prairies (Walter Farquharson, VU 303) For the Beauty of the Earth (Folliott Sandford Pierpoint, SASB 28, VU 226) God of the Sparrow (Jaroslav J. Vajda | Carl F. Schalk, VU 229) God Speaks to Us in Bird and Song (Joseph Johnson, SASB 31) God Who Touchest Earth with Beauty (Mary Susan Edgar | James Edmund Jones, SASB 32, VU 310) Great is Thy Faithfulness (Thomas O Chisholm | William M. Runyan, SASB 983, VU 288) How Great Thou Art (Carl Gustav Boberg, SASB 993, VU 238) Isaiah 55 (You Shall Go Out with Joy) (Steffi G. Rubin | Stuart Dauermann, VU 884) Isaiah the Prophet Has Written of Old (Joy F. Patterson, VU 680) It’s a Song of Praise to the Maker (Ruth Duck | Ron Klusmeier, MV 30) Let All Thing Now Living (Katherine K. Davis, VU 242) Like a Mighty River Flowing (Michael A. Perry, VU 267) Like a Rock (Keri K. Wehlander | Linnea Good, MV 92) Morning Has Broken (Eleanor Farjeon, SASB 35, VU 409) O Lord of Every Shining Constellation (Albert Frederick Bayly, SASB 38) O Mighty God (Carl Boberg, SASB 39) Praise God from Whom All Blessings Flow (Thomas Ken, SASB 959, VU 541) This is My Father’s World (Malthie Davenport Babcock, SASB 959, VU 296) 4 Worship Aids – Environment

Touch the Earth Lightly (Shirley Erena Murray | Colin Gibson, VU 307) We Plough the Fields (Matthias Claudius, SASB 935, VU 520) SASB – Salvation Army Song Book MV – More Voices VU – Voices United

Praise and Worship Songs Across the Lands (Keith Getty | Stuart Townend) Creation Calls (Brian Doerkson) Filled with Your Glory (Starfield) Let Everything That Has Breath (Matt Redman) Shout to the Lord (Darlene Zschechs) This God He Is Our God (Tommy Walker) Your Beloved (Vineyard)

Original hymns and songs set to familiar tunes can be found at the following websites:


Worship Aids – Environment

Responsive Prayer Leader: In a world that is crying out in pain because of imbalance, chaos and sin, we, Your church, pray for harmony in the cosmos and deep peace in the world. All: Creator of the Heavens and the Earth, hear our prayer. Leader: We pray for the health and survival of all species according to the pattern you laid out at the beginning of time, that each part of your creation would have its season, and that the divine rhythm of life would prevail over destruction and extinction. All: Creator of the Heavens and the Earth, hear our prayer. Leader: We pray for the restoration of beauty and the flourishing of all living things. May we recognize Your glory in that beauty and work to see creation thrive. May we join our voices with the rocks and trees and rivers in praising You. All: Creator of the Heavens and the Earth, hear our prayer. Leader: We plead for the coming of Your kingdom to earth, that Your justice will rule over us, Your love work in us, and that Your ways will become our ways. All: Creator of the Heavens and the Earth, hear our prayer. Leader: We ask that You turn our hearts from greed, from selfishness, from impatience and pride; that You would release us from the cycles of consumption that lead to destruction of the earth and cause us to neglect our neighbours and fellow creatures. All: Creator of the Heavens and the Earth, hear our prayer. Leader: We pray that the church as a whole, and we as individuals, would live in full knowledge of the love You poured out to create the world. Help us live in great anticipation of Your restoration, renewal and re-creation. All: Creator of the Heavens and the Earth, hear our prayer. Make us aware of what needs to be done, and courageous enough to live differently. Amen

Canticle of the Sun (St Francis of Assisi) Most high, all powerful, all good Lord! All praise is yours, all glory, all honor, and all blessing. To you, alone, Most High, do they belong. No mortal lips are worthy to pronounce your name. Be praised, my Lord, through all your creatures, especially through my lord Brother Sun, who brings the day; and you give light through him. And he is beautiful and radiant in all his splendor! Of you, Most High, he bears the likeness. 6 Worship Aids – Environment

Be praised, my Lord, through Sister Moon and the stars; in the heavens you have made them bright, precious and beautiful. Be praised, my Lord, through Brothers Wind and Air, and clouds and storms, and all the weather, through which you give your creatures sustenance. Be praised, My Lord, through Sister Water; she is very useful, and humble, and precious, and pure. Be praised, my Lord, through Brother Fire, through whom you brighten the night. He is beautiful and cheerful, and powerful and strong. Be praised, my Lord, through our sister Mother Earth, who feeds us and rules us, and produces various fruits with colored flowers and herbs. Be praised, my Lord, through those who forgive for love of you; through those who endure sickness and trial. Happy those who endure in peace, for by you, Most High, they will be crowned. Be praised, my Lord, through our Sister Bodily Death, from whose embrace no living person can escape. Woe to those who die in mortal sin! Happy those she finds doing your most holy will. The second death can do no harm to them. Praise and bless my Lord, and give thanks, and serve him with great humility.

Additional prayers and readings can be found at the following websites: Earth Ministry: Oaktree Action:


Worship Aids – Environment

Books The Lorax Doctor Seuss If you don’t have time in your service to read the entire book, split it in half and read over two weeks. After reading the story, discuss with the children how the world has become just like the place in the story: smoggy and gray, animals are in danger, etc. Talk to them about the story of creation and how God meant for people to stand up for and take care of creation, just like the Lorax. Challenge them to do just what the Once-ler suggests at the end: plant a tree, take care of it, and protect it from getting chopped down.

Songs “All I Really Need Is a Song in My Heart” (Raffi) “Go Outside” (Robbie Seay Band) “Who’s the King of the Jungle?” Who’s the King of the jungle? (oo, oo) Who’s the King of the sea? (bubble, bubble, bubble) Who’s the King of the universe? And who’s the King of me? His name is J-E-S-U-S, Yes! He’s the King of me. He’s the King of the universe, the jungle and the sea (bubble, bubble, bubble)… He’s the King of the jungle. (oo, oo) He’s the King of the sea. (bubble, bubble, bubble) He’s the King of the universe, And he’s the King of me!


Worship Aids – Environment

A number of sermons and sermon starters can be found online. Here are some examples: Christ United Methodist Church: Creation Care for Pastors: Network of Earthkeeping Christian Communities in South Africa: New Community Project:

Who’s the King of the Jungle? (unattributed) Show slides of a trip you’ve taken to some natural wonder: mountains, ocean, beautiful desert…or even to the zoo. Talk about it in detail. What did it look like? What did it do? How did it sound? What did it smell like? Describe its character and intricate beauty. What was it like to be up close to that kind of magnificence? Sense of majesty, awe, wonder? This is something like what God is doing in the book of Job. Talk about his creation this way. It’s almost like God is bragging about what he has done…but the twist is he’s letting Job know that he created all that wonder and is reminding Job who he is. Job is human. Job is not God. Job is not the centre of the universe. And neither are we. Back up to Exodus 3:14 to another guy asking questions of God. Moses wants to know who God is. God answers: I AM WHO I AM.* The Hebrew people understood that God was HOLY. That he was OTHER than us. He was I AM. A name too holy to utter. A being to be awed and feared. To be sure, God loves you. God wants to be with you. God wants to relate to you. But God is other than you. The world is full of finite things like time and space and matter. But God is OTHER than that. God is OUTSIDE matter. God is BEFORE time and BEYOND space. Hebrews understood this far better than we do. Example: Manoah – he thought he was going to die if he encountered God. Example: Moses – God had to put him in the cleft of the rock so that God’ glory wouldn’t kill him. 9 Worship Aids – Environment

God: I AM WHO I AM. I AM THE LORD. And if GOD is I AM that means WE ARE NOT. Job teaches us this. Job is the first book of the Bible. The oldest book. This story was written down before Genesis. It’s as if the first thing that God wants us to know is that we are not the centre of the universe. Recap story of Job’s faith being tested. The friends give advice. Job stays faithful but asks God for answers: What’s going on here? Am I OK? Do you love me? After pages and pages of Job’s friends prattling on with their advice, and pages and pages of Job’s own ramblings, God breaks his silence. God answers Job in a storm. Job asked questions about suffering. God answers with rhetorical questions about the order of creation. God tells Job that he is OTHER by pointing to creation. It’s as if God is saying: There’s Me, and then there is everything I created. Which one are you? Hint: You didn’t do all the cool stuff I’ve done. You’re not God. Reread passages from Job 38-40 that show a somewhat sarcastic God showing off what he has done; using irony and rhetorical questioning to put Job in his lowly place. Things to note while reading verses: Notice God bragging: Have you checked this out? How cool is that? I made it. Notice that God is enjoying things like waves and snow and sea creatures not because they are useful, but just because they exist and are magnificent. The only point to some of these things is that God delights in them! Example: Behemoth (40:15-24): like a hippopotamus? Like Snuffaluppagus from Sesame Street? “A mythical beast of gigantic proportions.” Exceedingly powerful – ranks first among God’s works. Lives free of fear from other creatures – even humans – but obeys God. Example: Leviathan (41:1-34). A sea creature – like a whale with feet? “A sea puppy”. Strong, and armoured like a warrior – neither sword nor javelin can penetrate. Awesome and terrifying. But of absolutely no use to human beings. Notice how God is describing a world without people. God seems untroubled that there are places where no humans live. From God’s perspective, humanity is only one of God’s creations – not the measure of all things or the sole test of its worth. So much of creation has absolutely nothing to do with humanity. Notice that God is talking about a scale so vast that human beings can only catch a small glimpse of it. God’s creation will stretch far beyond an individual or community – this is not about Job and his relations. God speaks only in the context of the whole of creation. The story of humanity since the Fall has been a story of clamouring to be more than human, a striving to be something like God. But here, our God-like aspirations are laid 10 Worship Aids – Environment

waste. We are part of the created order. There are only two kinds of beings here: Creator and Created. And we are NOT GOD. GOD is the centre of the universe. GOD is the ruler of creation. GOD lets human beings live here and enjoy what he made. But make no mistake - it does not belong to us. I AM and YOU ARE NOT. Remember the Sunday School/Camp song? Who’s the King of the Jungle?... Just a silly song with a gorilla sound effect? Or conveying a profound truth about the way the world really is? What would it be like if we lived as if that were true? Talk about the implications this attitude has for the way we treat the earth. If we had God’s speech to Job running through our heads all the time, what would we do with our garbage? With our cars and electricity? What would we do with our money? Or our time? Would we go outside more? Would we care more about global warming? Animal extinction? Contaminated water supply? Or the overuse of land? *Translated: THE LORD – the divine name, derived from ancient Hebrew verb: TO BE. Represented in Hebrew by what’s called the Tetragrammaton, because it consists of four consonants and no vowels. It looks like YHWH. It is printed that way because the Hebrews considered it too holy to pronounce out loud. They never said it, and didn’t include the vowels when writing it down just to be sure that no one ever said it…all these years later, no one can know for sure what it really sounds like, but scholars have spent time thinking about what it might have been and assigned vowels to it. Today, we pronounce it YAHWEH.


Worship Aids – Environment

Other Resources
Take a look at the following books and websites that offer materials helpful for developing services around the theme of environmental stewardship: Christian Concern for One World, “Walking More Lightly” (a complete worship service on climate change): Earth Ministry: This website contains resources for sermon preparation, hymns, prayers, etc. Eco-Justice Ministries: In addition to worship materials, this website provides helpful hints about nurturing a spirit of environmental justice in worship. Healing Liturgies for the Seasons of Life Abigail Rian Evans Worship resources on the environment are available on pages 383-396. This book is a worthwhile purchase for any pastor seriously hoping to engage difficult life issues.

Season of Creation: This website provides extensive resources for readings, prayers, children’s times, sermons, etc. Seven Songs of Creation: Liturgies for Celebrating and Healing Earth (An Earth Bible Resource) Norman C. Habel

World Council of Churches, “Prayer Service for Climate Justice” (an Advent service outline): World Council of Churches, “Time for Creation” (a prayer service outline): 12 Worship Aids – Environment

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