In this Season of Creation, September 1 through October 4, we celebrate by joining with thousands of Christians in honoring Our Common Home. Together, let us share responsibility for taking care of the earth, and all of God’s creation, ensuring it’s well-being for generations to follow.
We invite you join us this Season of Creation as we listen to the cry of the earth and cry of the people made poor. May we unite together in prayer, reflection and action as we create A Home for All!
September 1 - World Day of Prayer for Creation
In this Season of Creation, we pray that the breath of your creative Word would move our hearts, as in the waters of our birth and baptism. Enlighten us with the grace to respond to your covenant and call to care for our common home. In our tilling and keeping, gladden our hearts to know that we participate with your Holy Spirit to renew the face of your Earth, and safeguard a home for all.
Humans have directly altered at least 70% of Earth’s land, mainly for growing plants and keeping animals. These activities have led to deforestation, the degradation of land, loss of biodiversity and pollution.
“The Lord God took the human and put him in the garden of Eden to till it and keep it.” Gen 2:15
Beef is by far the biggest offender, generating 60 kilograms of greenhouse gas emissions per kilogram of meat produced—that’s more than twice the emissions of the next most polluting food, lamb.
“And God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food.” Gen. 1:29
By planting and harvesting your own garden or buying produce from your local farmer, co-op or farmers market, you are working to maintain a healthy environment, a vibrant community, and a strong and sustainable local economy.
“God saw that all creation was very good.” Gen 1:31 #localfarmersmarket
September 5 - Jesus the Living Water
Read Matthew 3:5-11 and place bowl of water on the table and pray:
Creator God, thank you for the gift of water – for the rains that water our gardens and farmland, for the lakes that host your geese, for the streams that house your fish, and for the oceans where the humpbacks sing. Please remind us to respect these waters, to be mindful of our use of them, and vigilant in safeguarding them from harm. Please let us never forget that someone lives downstream, and that clean water is not a commodity to be traded or bought, but a basic right for all, given by You.
Pour this water on a plant in your house or yard.
At least 8 million tons of plastic end up in our oceans every year, and make up 80% of all marine debris from surface waters to deep-sea sediments. Marine species ingest or are entangled by plastic debris, which causes severe injuries and deaths.
“Who turned the wonderworld of the seas into underwater cemeteries bereft of color and life?” ~Pope Francis, Laudato Si’, 41
All the water on Earth came from space in exactly the form it is now: H2O. Water was created out in space. It was formed billions of years before the solar system.
“And God said, “Let the waters under the sky be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear.” And it was so. God called the dry land Earth, and the waters that were gathered together he called Seas. And God saw that it was good.” Gen. 1:9-10
The rising sun that breaks upon the earth will establish justice. This is the meaning of the Hebrew idiom “every valley shall be raised up and every mountain and hill made low” (Isaiah 40:4) in other words, there will be a great leveling. God’s justice will throw down the mighty and elevate the lowly.
The electricity you use at home each day requires 250 gallons of water per person. The two-liter bottle of coke in your refrigerator required five liters of water to produce.
“Jesus cried out, ‘Let anyone who is thirsty come to me, and let the one who believes in me drink.” John 7:37
South Dakota farmers and ranchers have experienced some intensity of drought in 2020-2021. 72% is in Moderate Drought. 42% is in Severe Drought. 11% is in Extreme Drought. If just an inch of rain falls on ½ acre, that’s 13, 577 gallons of water!
“The Spirit of God hovered over the face of the waters.” Gen. 1:2
“Obsession with a consumeristic lifestyle can only lead to violence and mutual destruction.” Laudato Si, #204
O God of the poor,
help us to rescue the abandoned
and forgotten of this earth,
who are so precious in your eyes…
God of love, show us our place in this world
as channels of your love
for all the creatures of this earth.
God of mercy, may we receive your forgiveness
and convey your mercy throughout our common home.
Praise be to you! Amen. (Pope Francis)
September 12 - Honoring our Prairie Land
In this Season of Creation, we join in celebration with thousands of Christians in honoring Our Common Home. This week we honor the beautiful Prairie Land.
Blessed are You, Lord God, creator of the universe. You are the giver and sustainer of life, bringing forth the fruits of the earth to feed and nourish Your people. We cultivate the land and sow the seed, but you alone, Lord, can give the growth. Let Your blessing lie upon this land, bringing gentle rains and ripening sun for a joyful harvest. Give us the grace to use Your gifts well, that the poor may be fed and the hungry filled with good things. Then and always shall we give You glory, Father of all. Amen.
Prairies are enormous stretches of flat grassland with moderate temperatures, moderate rainfall, and few trees. When people talk about the prairie, they are usually referring to the golden, wheat-covered land in the middle of North America. The Great Plains, in the United States and Canada, has some of the world’s most valuable prairies, which grow some of the world’s most important crops. (https://www.nationalgeographic.org/encyclopedia/prairie/)
“For I know the plans that I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11
Some animal species contribute to the prairie ecosystem’s agricultural value. The bison, a relative of cattle, is native to the North American prairie. Bison are the largest land mammals in North America, but they have small, pointed hooves. These hooves turn up the soil, just like a plow does. This aerates the soil and allows it to hold more water.
By the middle of the twentieth century, nearly all of the North American prairie grasslands had been destroyed due to extensive farming. The result was miles and miles of soil with no strong prairie grass to hold it in place, and few trees to block the wind. When drought, a period of little rain, struck the prairie in the 1930s, high winds blew the dry soil into huge, frequent dust storms, devastating the Great Plains. The Great Plains were called the Dust Bowl during the Great Depression period. (https://www.nationalgeographic.org/encyclopedia/prairie/)
Lord, grant us the wisdom to care for the earth and till it. Help us to act now for the good of future generations and all the creatures. Help us to become instruments of a new creation founded on the covenant of your love. Amen
The White Prairie Clover (Dalea candida) is an eco-beneficial perennial that draws the eye in with tall green spikes emerging from a crown of white flowers that work their way up wards throughout the season. White Prairie Clover is a native perennial that thrives in mesic (average moisture) to dry conditions, with full sun or partial shade. It attracts a variety of wildlife. A beautiful, forb that will boast a long blooming season so vital for our ecosystems. (https://www.kb.jniplants.com/white-prairie-clover-dalea-candida/)
“To make a prairie it takes a clover and one bee, one clover, and a bee. And reverie. The reverie alone will do, if bees are few.”
~ Emily Dickinson (1830-1886)
In declaring St. Francis of Assisi the Patron saint of those who promote care for nature, the Church recommends St. Francis as a guide for animal and nature lovers, environmentalists and ecologists. St. Francis showed us how to live in a way that respects and honors nature as God’s creation.
St. Francis lived faithfully to a popular ecology that involved the relationship between humanity and other creatures. Although, he certainly loved nature, St. Francis never used the term natura but instead chose biblical terms and ideas that he found particularly in the psalms and canticles of the bible which he prayed daily. Such prayer together with his interaction in the world informed his vision of creation. By us getting to know St. Francis himself – through his writings and the early stories about him – we discover his extraordinary relationship with all creatures inspired by scripture and learn how we ourselves might relate to nature and the world in a new way; how to relate to God’s creation as members of God’s family.
St. Francis prayed in nature and discovered more about God and himself through the practice of contemplative prayer in nature. Today, with all our modern comforts and conveniences, many tend to be alienated from the earth and from ourselves. St. Francis spent up to half of each year praying in different places amongst nature and the wilderness, living in caves, under lean-to’s, and on mountainsides, interspersing this with preaching to animals and plants as well as to people. Through these experiences and the recognition of his own relatedness to nature as part of creation, he himself was helped to grow more fully into the mystery of God, his beliefs liberating him to become more fully alive.
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace. Where there is hatred let me sow love; Where there is injury, pardon; Where there is doubt, faith; Where there is despair, hope; Where there is darkness, light; Where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek To be consoled as to console; To be understood as to understand; To be loved as to love. For it is in giving that we receive; It is in pardoning that we are pardoned; And it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
September 19 - Honoring American Indian Tribes
In this Season of Creation, as we join in celebration with thousands of Christians in honoring Our Common Home, we honor the American Indian Tribes who walked the land before us.
Native Americans have the longest history of any of us in North America. Their oneness with creation and nature and their belief that all things are connected set them as models for all of us. This we know: “All things are connected, like the blood that unites us. We did not weave the web of life. We are merely a strand of it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves.” ~Chief Seattle
We invite you to walk barefoot and feel the earth beneath your feet.
It is the story of all life that is holy and is good to tell, and of us two-leggeds sharing in it with the four-leggeds and the wings of the air and all green things, for these are children of one mother and their father is one Spirit. Black Elk
We encourage you to rise early to watch the sunrise.
September 21 - International Day of Peace
Celebrating International Day of Peace
Recovering Better for a Sustainable and Equitable World International Day of Peace, September 21, 2021
Each year the International Day of Peace is observed around the world on September 21. The United Nations General Assembly has declared this as a day devoted to strengthening the ideals of peace, both within and among all nations and peoples. The International Day of Peace was established in 1981 and the first Peace Day was observed in September 1982. In 2001, the General Assembly established September 21 as an annual day of nonviolence and cease-fire. The United Nations invites all nations and people to honor a cessation of hostilities during the day, and to otherwise commemorate the day through education and public awareness on issues related to peace.
Let there be Peace on Earth
Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me, Let There Be Peace on Earth, The peace that was meant to be
With God as our Father, Brothers all are we, Let me walk with my brother, In perfect harmony.
Let peace begin with me, Let this be the moment now.
With ev’ry step I take, Let this be my solemn vow, To take each moment and live each moment in peace eternally
Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me.
Source: LyricFind, Songwriters: Jill Jackson / Sy Miller
Opening Prayer: Leader: We gather here as a community of believers to celebrate the International Day of Peace. We are reminded that we are all part of one global human family living together in a world that remains broken and divided. We join in prayer in hopes that the universal desire for peace may be realized. Loving God, help us to recognize that you call each one of us to commit ourselves to the effort for peace in the world. Amen.
CLICK HERE to continue reading this International Day of Peace Prayer Service.
Every step that we take upon the earth should be done in a sacred manner; each step should be a prayer. Black Elk
Take time to sit quietly and at peace as you listen.
“The whole universe is enhanced with the same breath, rocks, trees, grass, earth, all animals and man.” ~Hopi Indians
Challenge yourself to spend an hour sitting motionless, welcoming the Great Spirit.
“One thing we know for sure. The earth was not made for man, man was made for the earth.” ~Chief Seattle
Try to go without fresh fruit and vegetables for a meal.
“I was particularly fond of the little groves of oak trees. I love to look at them, because they endure the wintry storm and the summer’s heat and—not unlike ourselves—seem to flourish by them.” ~Sitting Bull
Step out of your routine and walk to a place where you would normally drive.
September 26 ~ Honoring our Farmers and Ranchers
In this Season of Creation, as we join in celebration with thousands of Christians in honoring Our Common Home, we honor Farmers and Ranchers.
Despite research and scientific breakthroughs, and despite innovations in technology, farming remains largely an act of faith. You plant a seed and you harvest a crop. Farmers and ranchers plan for what can be anticipated and adapt with perseverance for what cannot. So much of what happens in between is out of their control.
“Farmers who wait for perfect weather never plant. If they watch every cloud, they never harvest.” Ecclesiastes11:4
Jesus said to them,“The times and occasions are set by my Father’s own authority, and it is not for you to know when they will be.”Acts 1:7
We thank you, Creator God, for the rich variety of our food, from many parts of the world. We thank you for the enjoyment and pleasure we find in sharing food in celebration and fellowship. We pray for those people who have touched the soil and have known it intimately. We pray for those who have cared for animals, touched them, and nurtured them carefully. Being a farmer can be a hard life, the bills don’t match the income, the weather doesn’t co-operate or the markets are fickle. As they try to achieve the impossible, grant to them a sense of their part in the poise and balance of all life.
We ask for the protection and safety of all those working to ensure our food security – farmers, farmworkers, and all who are involved in food production and distribution, especially during this global pandemic – we ask you God to abundantly bless them for their hard work, dedication, and providing for the common good.
We hold before you those who buy, often in ignorance of the hardships facing those who produce. We hold before you those who produce, often receiving scant reward for their labor and their investment in land and equipment. We lift up those in need of food and pray that they find support and assistance from all who are able and in a position to share.
adapted from https://prayerist.com/prayer/farmers and https://www.agriculture.com/family/26-bible-verses-for-farmers
Through modern conservation and tillage practices, farmers and ranchers are reducing the loss of soil through erosion, which protects lakes and rivers. Careful stewardship by America’s food producers has spurred a nearly 50-percent decline in soil erosion on cropland since 1982. (https://www.fb.org/viewpoints/11-enviro-facts-about-farmers-and-ranchers)
“Good planning and hard work lead to prosperity, but hasty shortcuts lead to poverty.” Proverbs 21:5
Farmers are producing more milk from dairy cows with fewer resources. The pounds of feed (grain, forage, etc.) a cow needs to consume to produce 100 pounds of milk has decreased by more than 40 percent, on average, in the last 30 years. (https://www.fb.org/viewpoints/11-enviro-facts-about-farmers-and-ranchers)
“Be sure you know the conditions of your flocks, give careful attention to your herds; for riches do not endure forever, and a crown is not secure for all generations.” Proverbs 27:34-35
One U.S. farm feeds 166 people annually in the U.S. and abroad. The global population is expected to increase by 2.2 billion by 2050, which means the world’s farmers will have to grow about 70% more food than what is now produced. (https://www.fb.org/newsroom/fast-facts)
“Plant your seed in the morning and keep busy all afternoon, for you don’t know if profit will come from one activity or another—or maybe both.” Ecclesiastes 11:6
More than half of America’s farmers intentionally provide habitat for wildlife. Deer, moose, birds and other species have shown significant population increases for decades. (https://www.fb.org/newsroom/fast-facts)
“But ask the animals what they think – let them teach you; let the birds tell you what’s going on. Put your ear to the earth – learn the basics. Listen – the fish in the ocean will tell you their stories. Isn’t it clear that they all know and agree that God is sovereign, that he holds all things in his hand?” Job 12:7-12
Two million farms dot America’s rural landscape. Farm and ranch families comprise less than 2% of the U.S. population. (https://www.fb.org/newsroom/fast-facts)
“Fill your minds with those things that are good and deserve praise; things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, and honorable. Put into practice what you learned and received from me, both from my words and from my actions. And the God who gives us peace will be with you.” Philippians 4:8-9
About 98% of U.S. farms are operated by families – individuals, family partnerships or family corporations. Women make up 36% of the total number of U.S. farm operators; 56% of all farms have at least one female decision-maker. (https://www.fb.org/newsroom/fast-facts)
St. Isidore, patron saint of farmers, was himself a farmer born in the city of Madrid, Spain, about the year 1110; His chief appeal is to those who, as he did, work the land. But his good qualities–whole-hearted trust in God, his enthusiasm and vigor in doing his job, his spirit of prayer and devotion to religious practice can be admired and imitated by all laboring people. His feast day is celebrated throughout the United States on May 15. (https://www.catholicculture.org/culture/liturgicalyear/prayers/view.cfm?id=1276)
In this Season of Creation, as we join in celebration with thousands of Christians in honoring Our Common Home, we celebrate our gratitude for the harvest today.
“For each new morning with its light, For rest and shelter of the night, For health and food, For love and friends, For everything Thy goodness sends.” ~Ralph Waldo Emerson (1802-1882)
Harvest allows us to gather what has been planted in the spring. It was critical to our ancestors, but is also crucial today to the health and wellbeing of feeding those made hungry. Did you know, according to SDG 2, 2.37 billion people are without food or unable to eat a healthy balanced diet on a regular basis? (source: SDGs.UN.Org)
We invite you to practice gratitude for the land, those who tended it and the harvest as we enjoy local produce. Buying local does not only help support the local economy and farmers, but also reduces CO2 emissions needed to grow and transport the food we eat. Many communities celebrate this time by holding Harvest Festivals, as a way to give thanks to the land and for the gifts of the harvest. Harvest is also a great time to show gratitude for other things that we are grateful for.
Creator, we give thanks for the blessings of food and the nourishment to our bodies. We ask that you grow in us a harvest for the world. Spread a seed of hope within our souls, that might yield goodness, patience and kindness in abundance. Sow a seen in our lives God, that we might bear the fruits of forgiveness, compassion and righteousness. Come sow a seed of love in our hears that others would reap the blessings of family, friendship and community. May each seed of hope, peace and love grow within us into a harvest that can be feasted by all. Amen
(prayer adapted by Julie Palmer)
October 4 ~ Feast of St. Francis
As the official Season of Creation ends today, we will continue to join with others around the world as we care for Our Common Home. Today we celebrate the Feast of St. Francis.
St. Francis believed that nature was the mirror of God. He called all creatures his brothers and sisters. Along with Catherine of Siena, he was designated patron saint of Italy. He later became associated with patronage of animals and the natural environment, and it became customary for churches to hold ceremonies blessing animals on or near his feast day of 4 October.
Most high, omnipotent, good Lord, grant your people grace to renounce gladly the vanities of this world; that, following the way of blessed Francis, we may, for love of you, delight in your whole creation with perfectness of joy; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.