Bless the Earth

Thanks to Nurya Love Parish for sharing this truly Great Idea through Building Faith.

Nurya Love Parish shares the liturgical practice of Plainsong Farm in Rockford, Michigan, which is a community-based farm producing food that is given away to help folx develop food stability.

Love Parish writes:

“I have participated in this liturgy for many years, and I find myself changed each time… I am renewed in my recognition that all the work is …God’s work… We can’t make the water, the seeds, the sun, or the soil. We can’t make people donate the funds we need or make volunteers give their time. Because God has done so much, we can do a little. That perspective carries me forward with greater wisdom… And isn’t that what liturgy exists to do?”

The elements of this liturgy are adaptable to any outdoor-based ministry or setting. It is intergenerationally accessible. As Love Parish writes, “This liturgy works best when many people are involved. Invite many voices to read a section of scripture or a prayer in one location. The holy water is optional (see below), but what is not optional is being outside, under a sky, and remembering that this is God’s earth.”

So, whether you have a restored prairie, a community garden, a whole farm, or just a little plot where people gather to pray, this liturgy – or elements of it – can be the backdrop for a lovely outdoor worship gathering.

Love Parish’s article includes:

~Suggested dates (third Sunday in May):

  • The liturgy was built for Rogation Days (I had to look it up! If you’re not familiar with this observance, the definition makes this liturgy make even more sense.).
  • Also appropriate for Earth Day;
  • healing from a climactic trauma;
  • protesting development;
  • any other time the congregation would like to stand in solidarity with Earth in blessing.

~An outline of their liturgical practice

  • orienting everyone to what is about to happen: there are always newcomers unfamiliar with the practice
  • Anishinaabe acknowledgement
  • blessing of the water
  • distribution of branches
  • journey to different places on the farm to share scripture, prayer, asperges/blessing
  • tips for creating your own blessing liturgy
  • sample prayer

A few key suggestions worth highlighting include:

  • Invite those who work in the space to contribute to the liturgy; identify their specific challenges and include them in the prayers
  • Pray for the pollinators!!
  • Learn about your watershed and pray for it, all it sustains; and the living water source from which your water springs – pray for its healing
  • Inviting folx beyond your church who care for the earth to participate in these prayers – and include them in the prayers. They never may have been prayed for before; they may not know any church is praying for the healing of creation.

As Love Parish writes:

‘Your ministry might not take place at a farm, but wherever you are is a part of God’s creation too. How might you bless it, even as it has blessed you?’