Selinsgrove: Interfaith Creation Care

On April 19, several members of PA IPL attended an  interfaith workshop put on by the Rivertown Coalition for Clean Air and Water.   There were workshops and a wonderful closing Litany of Dedication, shared below.  Look back next week for Bill Sharp’s remarks, which he kindly scribed so that we can include them on the blog (thanks, Bill!)

As you plan events within your faith communities, think about when words, images, or ideas from other traditions might enrich a discussion in your community.  As you plan interfaith gatherings, consider the balance between appealing to all and sharing differences: what, when, and how best do we gain from interfaith practices, and what, when and how best can we gain from multi-religious opportunities?   

Interfaith Creation Care Symposium
Closing Ritual
Litany of Dedication
(Editor’s notes: this Litany uses a notation common to many denominations: leaders read the regular text, the congregation joins or responds with the bold. The full prayer comes to under 1.5 pages of 12-point font.)

Creator G-d, in the beginning your Spirit, your Wind, your Breath hovered over the formless earth, and with your Word, you created all that exists.  You breathed life into your creation.  you created green plats to produce oxygen so that your creatures might breathe fresh air.  To keeping the air pure and fresh for all creatures,
I dedicate myself.

Holy G-d, you separated the waters from the dry land and made rippling brooks, flowing streams,  rushing rivers, and immense oceans and seas.  You gave us the cycle of the seasons, the rain and the snow and the giant glaciers.  To keeping the water clean and pristine,
I dedicate myself.

Lord, you made the dry land that it might produce plants of all kinds and be a home to your creatures.  You formed mountains and valleys, small hills and great plains.  To the proper, sustainable, and healthy use of the land for growing crops — planting seed, growth, and harvest, for building homes, shelter, and other structures,
I dedicate myself.

G-d of beauty, you created plants to purify the air, to feed your creatures with nuts, fruit, berries, vegetables, roots; to provide shade from the heat of the sun; to make a beautiful world with all its variety for us to live in.  Help us to use the resource of wood wisely and to plant and renew these wonderful gifts.  Thereto,
I dedicate myself.

Most marvelous G-d, in your almighty goodness you created all the members of the animal kingdom, each to its purpose, interdependent, each doing its part — the animals of the sea, the air, and the land, co-existing with us.  Such wonders you have created: the ultraviolet light-seeing bees to pollinate the flowers, the goldfish with its eyesight superior to all other creaturs, the dog with its super sense of smell, the horse with its strength, beauty, and speed, the birds with brilliant plumage, the ffogs wiht their spring chorus.  Mammals, birds, fish, reptiles, amphibians and invertebrates you created them.  To preserve their habitat, to avoid and overcome threats to their extinction, to provide them with a pollution-free existence,
I dedicate myself.

Last, but not least, Holy Lord, you created us —created in your image to have relationship with you.  Out of love we were created, for you, Holy G-d, are love.  We were placed on the earth for a purpose.  For that purpose you, over time, gave us intelligence, the use of our hands to create, the desire to discover and invent, the ability to use tools to control our environment and to bring about bigger and better things.  you gave us fire to cook our food, to build community, to warm our homes and to cleanse.  To carry out the purpose for which you made us,
I dedicate myself.

Lord G-d, the first command you gave to us, your creatures, was to shamar the earth, a word with many meanings — not just to care for or have dominion over but to treasure, celebrate, protect, keep watch over, secure, defend, preserve, and keep in all its original pristine beauty. you have made us the protectors, the custodians, the defenders, stewards and guardians of your creation.  To these ends,
We dedicate ourselves.

Let us pray together,
Holy Lord G-d, help us to find ways to live lives that are simpler, that will use fewer resources, and to seek to use renewable resources.  Help us to share with others who do not have.  Give us the fortitude, courage and will to stand up for what is right and against injustice against your creation, the poor, and those who have no voice.  To those who would pollute the air and water; risk the health and welfare of your people; destroy the streams with runoff, spills, and mine waste; who strip the land; all for profit, help us say “No.”  To politicians who turn a blind eye to toxic waste and pollution in exchange for kickbacks and to those who issue gag orders not to discuss health issues caused by industry’s pollution, give us a voice to say, “No.”  To those who operate in darkness and secrecy to deceive the public, knowing that what they are doing is destructive and wrong, give us the strength to shout, “NO.”  To all who indiscriminately kill and destroy your creation, make us declare a resounding “NO”!  Enable us to carry out our task to be about the care and redemption of all that you have made and to carry out the mandate to speak publicly to the world in solidarity with the poor and oppressed, calling for justice and proclaiming God’s love for the world.  We ask this in your holy name.  AMEN