Week 2: Listen
Scripture: Psalm 19:1-4
Poetry: Silver Whispers
by Marnie Barrell, in A Heart for Creation, ed. Chris Polhill
the universe is singing.
Silver whispers from star to star,
the roar of the golden sun,
the blue Earth’s dance in the darkness.
the great drum, the solemn sea
pulsing under the moon,
the heartbeat of the sleeping land,
the crackle and snap of air.
the living creatures are singing;
each little life lifts its voice,
sings, swells, stutters to a stop,
passes its song to children’s children.
we who have ears to hear, and the gift of speech,
love the song, gather it up and sing it.
Bring words of worship and wonder,
sing for the sun and stars,
sing for the earth and all its creatures.
Tell out, shout — the beauty and bounty of it!
Sing creation’s song to the Creator!
Reading: Listening to creation as a part of environmental stewardship
by Lynn Baab
Spiritual Practice: In the outdoors, pause daily or walk in silence. Listen to the earth and to the Creator. What do you hear?
Lent often includes a spiritual practice. For a deepening spirit this season, turn your thoughts and prayers to creation: with gratitude for the life we receive from the earth, and with mindfulness of the urgent need to be God's stewards of creation
Week 1: Wonder
This week, be in awe of the miracle of soil. Bert Siemens describes soil in this way:
Soil supports life. Soil is a mixture of minerals, organic matter, gases, liquids and living organisms that combines to supports life. Soil is a medium for plant growth, a supply of water and water purification, a storage of carbon and a modifier of atmospheric conditions. Soil contains organisms, which includes but not restricted to bacteria, fungi, earthworms, insects, reptiles and burrowing mammals and birds.
Scripture: Psalm 65:9-13
God, you care for the land and water it;
you enrich it abundantly.
The streams of God are filled with water
to provide the people with grain,
for so you have ordained it.
You drench its furrows and level its ridges;
you soften it with showers and bless its crops.
You crown the year with your bounty,
and your carts overflow with abundance.
The grasslands of the wilderness overflow;
the hills are clothed with gladness.
The meadows are covered with flocks
and the valleys are mantled with grain;
they shout for joy and sing.
beneath the ice and snow lies
dormant now, waiting
for light and warmth
to awaken billions of microbes
teeming through tunnels and passages
in complex beautiful fragile
a mystery a miracle
of life waiting
beneath the ice and snow
Reading: Soil - The Miracle We Take for Granted
by Peter Steinhart
Spiritual Practice: As the weather slowly warms, walk mindfully. Be conscious of the miracle of soil beneath the snow and ice, beneath our feet. Stand in awe. Give thanks to the Creator.
Advent Mini-meditations from Mennonite Church Manitoba's working group on Palestine and Israel.
4. Shepherds and pastureland
Boy tending his sheep
near Bethlehem 2016
In that region there were shepherds…keeping watch over their flock by night.” --Luke 2:8
The first people to learn about Jesus’ birth were the shepherds tending their sheep in the fields below Bethlehem. Shepherds were hard-working people who often experienced discrimination from the larger society. Today in the hills and valleys around Bethlehem, shepherds still tend their flocks, trying to maintain a livelihood that has sustained them for generations. But pastureland is diminishing as Israeli settlements continue to expand in the area and in other parts of the West Bank, occupied by Israel’s military since 1967. Violence, confiscation of pastureland for settlements, military installations, and enemy stereotypes feed the tension and suspicion that exists between Israelis and Palestinians.
Shepherd God, as we hear the angels’ promise of “peace on earth,” we hear your call to pray and work for peace and security for all people, including Jews, Christians, and Moslems living in the land of Jesus’ birth. Amen. Advent Giving Project