Day 5: Earth as the Original Icon

Video, Audio and Written Guides for Morning and Evening Prayer

Morning Prayer

Opening Prayer: We gaze upon Earth as a window into the divine glory, radiant and wonderful.  Mother of all Creation, guide us in our prayers to a heart of compassion for all of creation’s wounding at our hands. Sustain us in our sorrow and grief at all that has been lost.

Song: Mother Earth

First Reading: Angela of Foligno

Immediately, the eyes of my soul were opened, and in a vision I saw God’s wholeness and the wholeness of creation. In the sea, and also in everything beyond the sea in outer space, I saw nothing but God’s power and God’s presence. It was totally indescribable. My soul was overcome with wonder at everything.

I shouted, “The world is pregnant with God!” That’s when I understood how small creation is when the enormity of God is considered. God’s power fills the sea and everything beyond it.

Sung Psalm Opening: O Justice, open my lips and my mouth will declare your praise. (Repeat)

Psalm 60

I feel cast adrift and alone among a people
who don’t care about doing right or following you.
I am angry and discouraged.
Help us back, take us back! Force us back!
before we do irreparable harm to your creation.
Shake the earth!
Flood the land
Burn us up
dry us out!
But especially, come close so that we can
See you, know your love for us and for all the earth.

A still, small voice in the heart:
You are all mine, and I claim you.
I walk with you when you do my will
I nudge you to life
I help you in hard times.
Together we will prevail.

Sung Doxology: Glory to the Maker, Lover, and Keeper; as ago, in this breath, and will be ever. Amen, Amen.

Second Reading: Saint Bonaventure

Just as you see that a ray of light entering through a window is colored in different ways according to the different colors of the various parts, so the divine ray shines forth in each and every creature in different ways and in different properties.

Silent Contemplation

Prayers of Concern:

We offer prayers now for all that is on our hearts.

The tiny droplet of water cradled in the crease of the leaf dances in the morning sun.  How pure and delicate it is, so full of your glory.  Shimmering Presence, draw our attention to these tiny evangelists all around – Fairy Foxglove, ladybird, butterfly cocoon; and open our hearts as we contemplate their wisdom.  Enlarge our compassion to gently hold the most vulnerable of earth’s inhabitants in justice and love.

Sung Response – O God of Earth, we turn to you in troubles.

The vast ocean teems with life: tiny, darting minnows, impressive crashing whales.  Yet our hearts cry out, shocked by images of dolphin snouts trapped in plastic rings and sharks caught in discarded fishing nets.  Hear our anguished lament, O God.  Replace our selfishness with a commitment to recycle and reduce our use of plastic.  Then may our oceans and her creatures thrive once more.

Sung Response – O God of Earth, we turn to you in troubles.

The herb garden’s scents delight our nostrils as we gaze in awe at nature’s medicine cabinet.  We give thanks for Hildegard of Bingen and the ancient ones who have taught us about each plant’s properties.  Encircle those whose wounded bodies and souls long for herb’s healing balm.  Tender God, in this broken and hurting world, may your greening power renew and restore all life.

Sung Response – O God of Earth, we turn to you in troubles.

Please add the prayers you are longing to express.

Sung Response – O God of Earth, we turn to you in troubles. 

Closing Song: Viriditas

Closing Blessing

Gaze upon Creation with your eyes soft,
a holy icon revealing the face of Love.
See the beauty of green Earth arising,
make space for the ache of our neglect,
exploits, ravages, see the scars
across field and mountain,
allow the river of tears at all
that suffers to flow freely through you,
do not resist this grief,
the otter choked with oil
the sky darkened with grime,
the seas heavy with plastic,
the koalas fleeing the great fire.

Make room for a world of sorrow,
let anguish be your song
and grief bloom and grow.
Ask the Source of Love who created our tears
and tender hearts, and with them
the promise of reconciliation,
to create a new place within,
where a different story can arise,
where we can all turn toward a vision
of wholeness once again.

Sung Amen

Credits

Credits: All songs and texts used with permission

Opening Prayer written by Christine Valters Paintner

Opening Song: Mother Earth by Betsey Beckman

First Reading from Angela of Foligno. Quoted in Carmen Acevedo Butcher, A Little Daily Wisdom: Christian Women Mystics. Paraclete Press (2005) Kindle Edition.

Sung Psalm Opening and Doxology by Richard Bruxvoort Colligan

Interpretation of Psalm 60 by Rev. Christine Robinson

Second Reading from Saint Bonaventure. Quoted in Ewert Cousins (trans), The Soul’s Journey into God (Classics of Western Spirituality). New York: Paulist Press (1978) p. 26.

Prayers of Concern written by Valerie Allen

Sung Response by Betsey Beckman

Closing Song: Viriditas by Betsey Beckman

Closing Blessing: Earth as the Original Saints written by Christine Valters Paintner

Please note: All of the Opening and Closing Songs are published on CDs in the Abbey of the Arts collection. In addition, these songs have accompanying gesture prayers and/or dances created by Betsey Beckman that can be found on the corresponding DVD (each album has a DVD companion).  The Psalm Opening, Doxology, and the Response to the Prayers of Concern also have accompanying congregational gestures. The audio and video recordings of these are available at AbbeyoftheArts.com.

Evening Prayer

Opening Prayer: Let us cry out in grief over anything that has distanced us from Earth and her wisdom this day. We ask God as Source of all beauty and life to help us to see more clearly the way forward to a new vision. As we move into evening we ask for dreams to inspire us.

Opening Song: Now I Walk in Beauty

Sung Psalm Opening: O Justice, open my lips and my mouth will declare your praise. (Repeat)

Psalm 85

O God, you have given us a beautiful earth—
Grant us the wisdom to honor its gifts.
Lead us to an inner life in which we can rejoice.
Speak peace to us, that we may live in peace.
May your mercy and truth meet together
Righteousness and peace kiss each other,
Surrounding us with your light.
Help us know true prosperity,
And be gentle with your Earth.
Guide our feet in the ways of peace.

Sung Doxology: Glory to the Maker, Lover and Keeper as ago, in this breath and will be ever Amen, Amen.

Reading of the NightSt. Ninian

QUESTION: And what is the fruit of study?

ANSWER: To perceive the eternal Word of God reflected in every plant and insect, every bird and animal, and every man and woman.

Silent Contemplation

Closing Poem: St Paul and the Lions

His throat dry as the desert
which embraced him
a hundred years, the hermit
finally breathes his last
at the sand’s hot edge.

Anthony arrives to find his friend
gone into the great night,
sits vigil all day until the sky
is covered in bruises,
weeps a river into the dust.

From shadows emerge two lions,
great golden paws and claws dig
a deep hole and roar with grief,
lower the monk’s body into riven earth
and stand together in silence

until the dawn cracks apart
and sparrows sing the world awake,
until both human and animal
standing on the unsteady ground
that will one day claim them

come to know only two things
as solid:
death, like iron, immovable

and companionship.
A communion of creatures ready
to join in our lament for all
that has been lost, waiting
with us for all that is coming home again

Closing Song: Surrender

Credits

Credits: All songs and texts used with permission

Opening Prayer written by Christine Valters Paintner

Opening Song: Now I Walk in Beauty by Lorraine Bayes

Psalm Opening and Doxology by Richard Bruxvoort Colligan

Interpretation of Psalm 85 by the Rev. Christine Robinson

Reading of the Night from Saint Ninian. Quoted in Robert Van de Weyer, ed. Celtic Fire: The Passionate Religious Vision of Ancient Britain and Ireland. New York: Doubleday (1990) p. 78.

Closing Poem by Christine Valters PaintnerThe Wisdom of Wild Grace. Paraclete Press (2020).

Closing Song: Surrender by Deirdre Ni Chinneide

Please note: All of the Opening and Closing Songs are published on CDs in the Abbey of the Arts collection. In addition, these songs have accompanying gesture prayers and/or dances created by Betsey Beckman that can be found on the corresponding DVD (each album has a DVD companion).  The Psalm Opening, Doxology, and the Response to the Prayers of Concern also have accompanying congregational gestures. The audio and video recordings of these are available at AbbeyoftheArts.com.