Friday, March 10, 2017

Praying the Earth's News: March 10, 2017

This week’s prayers follow a week in which Nebraskans saw early signs of spring, high winds, and Sandhill cranes in abundance.

Almighty God, in giving us dominion over things on earth you made us fellow workers in your creation: Give us wisdom and reverence so to use the resources of nature, that no one may suffer from our abuse of them, and that generations yet to come may continue to praise you for your bounty; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Collect For the Conservation of Natural Resources (The Book of Common Prayer, p. 827)

Please pray for:

The Arctic ecosystem.  The instability of the Arctic sea ice and its diminishment as a result of global warming means loss of habitat for both larger animals and for the algae that form the base of the Arctic food chain. Combined with other pressures from climate change, the Arctic’s indigenous species are threatened. 

People suffering and dying from extreme drought conditions in Africa. Along with the obvious effects on agriculture and people dying from malnutrition, this past week at least 110 people — mostly women and children — died in just 48 hours in one region of Somalia from waterborne diseases. People are so desperate for water that they use whatever water they can access, even if it carries diseases. 

Wisdom for the world’s leaders. In the United States, key leaders (including the new head of the EPA, Scott Pruitt), claim to deny the reality of what scientists know about climate change. The targets that the world’s leaders decided on under the 2015 Paris agreement, while a good start toward addressing climate change, are not sufficient to prevent an ice-free Arctic and its effects on the rest of the planet in coming years. Leaders with an understanding of the basic science of climate change coupled with bold and decisive action to mitigate the crisis are necessary to our survival. 

Thanksgiving for the wonder of the Sandhill crane migration.
We in Nebraska are blessed with the annual wonder of the sounds and sights of thousands of Sandhill cranes (see Sandhill crane counts report for this week’s count) pausing along the Platte River during their migration north. 

We give you thanks, most gracious God, for the beauty of earth and sky and sea; for the richness of mountains, plains, and rivers; for the songs of birds and the loveliness of flowers. We praise you for these good gifts, and pray that we may safeguard them for our posterity. Grant that we may continue to grow in our grateful enjoyment of your abundant creation, to the honor and glory of your Name, now and for ever. Amen.
Thanksgiving For the Beauty of the Earth (The Book of Common Prayer, p. 840)

As we pray for others, we might also pray for our own hearts to be open so we can see the needs in the world around us and gladly respond to those needs:

O heavenly Father, who has filled the world with beauty; Open our eyes to behold your gracious hand in all your works; that, rejoicing in your whole creation, we may learn to serve you with gladness; for the sake of him through whom all things were made, your Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Prayer for Joy in God’s Creation (The Book of Common Prayer, p. 814)