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Paying attention to the sky

A creation time service for all ages

Download the service sheet

 

Additional materials

Prepare the space

Find an ideal earth projection image 

 

Hymns and songs

All creatures of our God and King
For the beauty of the earth
God in his love for us lent us this planet
O Lord my God, when I in awesome wonder
Touch the earth lightly
Big blue planet (from Big Blue Planet: and other songs for worship in God's world, Judy Jarvis (Ed.) Stainer and Bell, ISBN: 978-1-85994-038-9.

The Hymn for earth’s healing, included in the text of the service, has been specially written by Jan Berry, for this service and as part of the Hymns for Healing Project: theological reflection and research into hymnody and healing.

The two songs, Pay attention to the sky and Questions of me,see below, are by Graham Philpott, a community musician working with Urban Expression in Manchester.

 

Gather

Gathering words

Today we use the story of Job, a man who dares to ask God the difficult questions, to help us think about how we can work with God to care better for creation. Assure everyone that it is fine for people to play with their PlasticineTM, as long as they keep the colours separate for an activity later.

 

Call to worship Job 38.4-7

Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?
Tell me, if you have understanding.
Who determined its measurements – surely you know!
Or who stretched the line upon it?
On what were its bases sunk,
or who laid its cornerstone
when the morning stars sang together
and all the heavenly beings shouted for joy?

 

Gathering activity chant

Questions of me

Download the music. Actions may be used to demonstrate each line.

Questions of the sky,
Questions of the sea.
Questions of the Earth and
Questions of me.

Why is there an earthquake?
Why are clouds so high?
Why is there a snowflake,
falling from the sky?

Questions of the sky,
Questions of the sea.
Questions of the Earth and
Questions of me.

Why do trees get taller?
Why do they have leaves?
Why are flowers tasty,
for all the flying bees?

Questions of the sky,
Questions of the sea.
Questions of the Earth and
Questions of me.


© Graham Philpott, 2012

 

Prayer

Creating God, your universe is incredible:
spiralling galaxies of trillions of stars,
clouds of dust forming nebulae,
birthing new star systems,
gravity’s relentless pull forming black holes.
Wow God!
You blow our minds.


Creating God, your earth is incredible:
blazing sunsets painting the sky pink,
the pull of the tide washing the beach
of yesterday’s sandcastles,
spiders spinning the most intricate of webs.
Wow God!
You blow our minds.


Creating God, your people are incredible,
finger prints carving out
each person’s unique identity,
hearts that beat over two billion times,
bones that knit themselves together,
emotions, falling as tears,
or creasing us up in laughter.
Wow God!
You blow our minds.
Amen.

 

Open the Word

Script for the Dramatic reading of Job.

This dramatic reading attempts to tell the whole story of the Book of Job and relate it to the current issues of environmental destruction, sustainability and justice for the earth. It is designed to be read by a narrator with an actor miming the actions shown in brackets.

 

Song

Pay attention to the sky
To the tune of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star (traditional)

When you think of asking why,
pay attention to the sky.
When God first created Earth,
gave us life and gave us birth.
When you think of asking why,
pay attention to the sky.

When you think of asking why,
pay attention to the sky.
Changing landscape all around,
acid rain comes falling down.
When you think of asking why,
pay attention to the sky.

When you think of asking why,
Pay attention to the sky.
Keep our skies and rivers clean,
Oceans blue, and fields so green
When you think of asking why,
Pay attention to the sky.

When you think of asking why,
pay attention to the sky.
Sky at night and clouds above,
without questions show God’s love.
When you think of asking why,
pay attention to the sky.


© Graham Philpott, 2012

 

Respond to the Word

Confessional song

Big blue planet (from Big Blue Planet: and other songs for worship in God's world, Judy Jarvis (Ed.) Stainer and Bell, ISBN: 978-1-85994-038-9.

 

Creative activity

Download ‘Big Yellow Taxi’ on Ladies of the Canyon, by Joni Mitchell, Warner Brothers

 

Prayer activity

Download 'Missa Gaia/Earth Mass album' by Paul Winter, Living Music

 

Prayer

Forgive us, God,
when we are so caught up in our own troubles
that we fail to see the bigger picture
of the destruction of the earth,
and sufferings of whole communities of people.
Help us, God, to pay attention to the sky,
to think about growing things before buying things,
to put saving water and energy at the top of our ‘to do’ list,
to find creative ways to upcycle
and live sustainably on your earth.
In the name of Jesus, the cosmic Christ.
Amen.

 

Send out


Hymn for earth’s healing 

Tune: The Bard of Armagh/Streets of Laredo 12.11.12.11

We listen with joy to the song of the morning
when angels rejoiced, and the skies came to birth;
when God placed the sun, moon and stars in the heavens,
shaped mountains and rivers and seas on the earth.

We dance in a world that is filled with God’s glory,
of green growing beauty and creatures at play;
we laugh with its wonder and cry with its sorrow,
and rest in its quiet at the end of the day. 

We weep for an earth that’s in need of God’s healing,
the oceans that roar and the rivers that cry,
we search for solutions, and shout out our questions,
to God who commands us to look to the sky. 

We dream of a world that is living together,
with beauty and goodness and loving to share;
the answer God gives to our hope and our longing:
‘The world that I fashioned is placed in your care’.

© Jan Berry, Hymns for Healing, Holy Rood House.

 

Blessing

We bring our questions and our sense of awe and wonder
at a seemingly infinite creation,
beyond the limits of our imagination,
to the living, creating God.
We bring our sense of anger and injustice
that this earth is not as it should or could be,
naming our fears that in the future, it might not be,
to the cosmic Christ, present in, through and under creation.
We bring our hopes and our dreams,
of humanity living in harmony with each other
and with the earth that is restored and life giving,
to the Spirit of wisdom, who breathes life through creation.
May the blessing of God, Creator, Redeemer and Sustainer,
go with us as we entrust the earth into each others hands,
now and into the generations that are yet to be.
Amen.

 

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