Sunday, June 4, 2017

Praying the Earth's News: Pentecost Edition

June 4, 2017

Today against a backdrop of another week of alarming climate news, we celebrate that long ago Pentecost described in Acts (Acts 2:1-21). The Holy Spirit descended on Jesus’s followers with “a sound like the rush of a violent wind” and the sight of “divided tongues, as of fire”, and then Jesus’s followers were speaking in languages they had not known before so that they could go to the whole world and tell the Good News. 

Just as those early Christians were empowered to leave their small community of believers and go out into the world, we pray that we may be empowered to go out from our churches today and find ourselves with the words and power we need to tell the world about Jesus’s way of living. 

“O Lord, how manifold are your works!” Psalm 104, the Psalm designated for today, reminds us of the wonders of creation and that God, the Creator of everything, rejoices in all of creation. An important part of the story we share with the world — and a part that is essential for the survival of civilization — is the story of God’s love for the world and our duty to take good care of what God has made. 

We have a lot of work ahead of us. There is no time for discouragement. Pray for the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

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 Larsen C ice shelf in Antarctica and our response to its effects on the rest of the world. The crack in the Larsen C ice shelf has grown rapidly in recent weeks, and an iceberg the size of the state of Delaware is expected to break off very soon. According to

Though the changes are happening in the most remote part of the planet, they’re being felt thousands of miles away as ice turns to water and starts to lap against increasingly beleaguered coastal communities around the world. And the impacts will only grow more severe unless carbon pollution is reined in.

Our planet as atmospheric carbon dioxide levels in May reached an all-time monthly high. May is always the peak month for atmospheric carbon dioxide levels records at the Mauna Loa observatory in Hawai’i. Brian Kahn of Climate Central reports that this year’s average reading for May was 409.65 ppm. (The goal for climate stability is 350 ppm.) Kahn writes: 

The reading from May is well above the 407.7 ppm reading from May 2016. And it’s far above the 317.5 ppm on record for May 1958, the first May measurement on record for Mauna Loa, the gold standard for carbon dioxide measurements. Prior to the Industrial Revolution, carbon dioxide stood at roughly 280 ppm.

Lord, have mercy.

The world’s ability to mitigate the effects of climate change despite the President’s attempts to remove the United States from the Paris climate accord. Leaders of other nations, several states and major cities in the United States, and leaders of industry have vowed to work around the proposed U.S. federal withdrawal from the climate accord. Pray for courage, wisdom, and creativity for those leaders who have the vision and will to lead us in making the changes necessary for our survival. 

O God our heavenly Father, you have blessed us and given us dominion over all the earth: Increase our reverence before the mystery of life; and give us new insight into your purposes for the human race, and new wisdom and determination in making provision for its future in accordance with your will; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. 
Prayer for the Future of the Human Race (The Book of Common Prayer, p. 828)

As we pray for others, we might also pray for our own hearts to be broken 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)