A prayer for the midpoint of the Paris talks.

Check back here for a one-a-day series of actions and solutions from now until 12/11, while the international climate talks (COP 21) are going on in Paris.

YairaThis prayer was written by Yaira Robinson of Texas IPL.  She wrote it for her home congregation to use on the Shabbat before the climate talks began.  Today is not Shabbat.  It is the midpoint of the climate talks.  It is the second Sunday of Advent (Christian), and the first night of Hanukkah (Jewish).  It is 2 days before Rohatsu, and we are all readying for the return of our Northern Hemisphere light beginning on the Solstice.

Tonight is a great time to settle in for a prayer that links us to the depths of our own faith traditions, that asks for help, and hope, a way forward through fear, rooted in deep conviction; asks for forgiveness, and for strength for us all, leaders and regular people alike.

Yaira’s beautiful prayer is below; her original post can be found here.  Do click through on the images to learn more about the art and artists.

We have some links to Paris COP background and more Abrahamic resources prepared in connection with the Harrisburg and Philadelphia vigils. Looking for resources from non-Abrahamic faiths?  Find the links you want on this page of encyclical-linked resources.

A Prayer for Paris Climate Talks

Adonai Eloheinu, v’Elohei Avoteinu v’Imoteinu—
Lord our God and God of our Ancestors—

God who separated the light from the darkness,
upper waters from lower waters,
and seas from land.

"Burning Bush" Isaac Brynjegard-Bialik Image Source
“Burning Bush” Isaac Brynjegard-Bialik Image Source

God who appears in a whirlwind,
in a burning bush, and
as strangers standing at an open tent.

Do You remember?
You freed us from that Narrow Place and
guided us through the wilderness,
appearing as a pillar of cloud by day,
and as a pillar of fire by night.

Do we remember?
You thundered, shook the mountain, and gave us Torah.
We were awestruck. We said:
“We will do and we will hear!”

Help us remember.
God, we’ve kind of messed things up.
We didn’t mean to. It was science and progress,
electricity and cars and plastic!

Chris Jordan "Cellphones #2, Atlanta 2005" from Portraits of American Mass Consumption
Chris Jordan “Cellphones #2, Atlanta 2005” from Portraits of American Mass Consumption

Plastic is amazing, God.
So useful.

But now, we’ve upset the delicate balance of Your Creation—
this beautiful, wildly diverse, interconnected,
pulsing, breathing planet full of life—

The storms are stronger now.
Drought more frequent, more severe.
Ice is melting, seas are rising, crops are shifting.

Hunger and disease, disaster and thirst
lead to suffering
and strife
and people—so many people—
having to leave home
in search of a safe place to live.

We didn’t mean for this to happen.
But now we know.
And now that we know, we are responsible—
we must act.

Please help us, God.
We need to make some changes, and fast—
but it’s hard.
We can do it—but it’s going to require a lot of work,
and we’ve never had to cooperate quite like this before—
all of us, all your diverse peoples, all over the world.

Climate change is a big challenge.
We’re going to have to work together,

But it’s really, really hard.

Leaders from 196 countries are about to meet in Paris
to try to agree on a way forward.

God, please help them.
Give them wisdom, and the courage to do what’s right—
rather than what’s politically expedient.

God, please help us.
Global warming is scary.
Change is hard.
Give us strength, imagination, and hope.
There’s so much we can do, right here at home.
Help us meet new challenges with hearts that are open
and attuned to You.

the "tree" of the Lena Delta wilderness in Russia. Image Source
the “tree” of the Lena Delta wilderness in Russia. Image Source

For this little blue planet,
gift of water and breath and life amazing—
Thank you, God.

Please be with us.
Guide us.
Help us mend our ways,
and repair—

And let us say: amen.