September 27, 2019, is an important day for climate justice, where many people across the globe are joining in marches and actions to work for a healthier planet. We know too that we are called to care for this creation that God called “very good” every day. Such care can take many forms and as we respond, we pray for forgiveness for where we have fallen short and guidance for how to do better.
Call and Response Lament and Prayer for Climate Justice
The following prayer may be freely used for worship or reflection. Endnotes with Bible passages are provided for those who wish further Scriptural study.
Creator God, maker of heaven and earth,
We see with wonder the world and all that is in it; the air, the waters, the land, plants, and animals.[i]
We perceive creation’s goodness and your love for all the earth. In so doing, we also perceive how we have failed to love creation as you have shown.
Please forgive us, Lord, for when we have failed to show love for all your creation.
We know that you know when even the mountain goat gives birth, or the raven’s young go hungry.[ii] Yet we confess we have often been the cause of hunger in creation around us, whether that creation is humans uprooted by drought or famine, animals endangered through destruction of their habitat, or plants that can no longer find nutrients in over-farmed or polluted soil. Our youth rise in protest that we endanger their future. We hear creation groan[iii] and we realize we are part of its suffering.
Please forgive us, Lord, for when we have been careless in our consumption and destructive in our habits.
The Psalmist too tells us that the earth is Yours, and all that is in it,[iv] but those of us with means have often dominated the land and all who depend on it, acting as though creation is ours to dispose of as we will. We have often not acted as faithful caretakers. To increase our profit or avoid sacrifice, we have often attempted to thwart those who were actively caring for your creation, trying to serve you faithfully.
Please forgive us, Lord, for when we have not protected and cared for creation to the best of our ability and means, and for when we have been unwilling to give up comforts or privileges that harm your creation.
Gracious God, when your son, Jesus, spoke of knowing a tree by the fruit it produces, he reminded us that our words and actions show what is in our innermost heart.[v]
Help our hearts to be filled with love and wonder for all your creation, and to act with loving care and just action toward what you loved first.
All this we pray in Jesus’ name,
– Prayer by Justice Ministries, The Presbyterian Church in Canada
[i] Genesis chapter 1
[ii] Job 39:1–4 and 38:41
[iii] Romans 8:22
[iv] Psalm 24
[v] Luke 6:43–45