Healing of nature and environment
Liturgical prayers for the Healing of nature and environment
An important aspect of Christfulness is seeing the fullness of Christ as the restoration of creation, bringing humankind and nature to their fulfilment. We were created through God’s Word (Logos) who laid down his own nature into creation as the law of life, i.e. his serving love. Thus, as this order has been distorted through sin, God’s Logos had to become human to restore humankind once more to become stewards of God’s creation and reinstalling the law of life. Following the law of life is serving each other and the whole in love.
In the liturgy we in a microcosmic event proleptically experience the order of creation being restored and have a glimpse of the fulfilment when everything that is created through the Logos of God is united to him. Through him and in him and for him everything is created.
We present two ways of forming a healing prayer on behalf of creation. The first one is a Eucharistic Prayer used at the eight Celtic festivals following the cycle of the Sun through the seasons of the year. This is a very Western liturgy as it makes use of the four elements as physical representations of creation.
The second one is very Eastern. The framework is the perhaps oldest Chinese Christian liturgical text (8th Century), a praise of the holy Trinity. These Christians made an attempt to express their Christian faith in Chinese religious language. The translation I use is mainly from Martin Palmer: The Jesus Sutras. Rediscovering the lost religion of Taoist Christianity. London 2001, but some expressions are taken from other translations. Inserted into this praise follows the interceding for creation. Usually it is said that Chinese religion knows five elements, but that is a too static and material interpretation. Phases are a better translation as its not only elements in Western meaning, but also colors, seasons, tastes, corners of the world, smells, senses, domestic animals, parts of the body, planets. The prayer for restoring creation is more about flow than fixed elements, as we pray God to breathe the Holy Spirit into creation to restore the flow of Qi (the vital spirit or energy) in Wu Xing (the five seasons, phases and processes). Creation is also related to Tao that is manifested in creation as the way (Tao means Way) to follow to be in a simple harmony with the flow of life. We meet Tao as God’s creative Word (Logos) who was incarnated in Jesus Christ to restore creation.
A Eucharistic prayer as healing prayer for creation.
Priest: The Lord be with you!
Answer: And with your spirit!
Priest: Lift up your hearts!
All: We lift them up unto the Lord!
Priest: Let us give thanks unto our Lord God!
All: It is meet and right so to do!
Priest: It is very meet and right, that we should at all times give thanks unto thee, Father God,
Almighty, through Jesus Christ, our Lord.
Through Him you called forth all creatures out of darkness. Also humans were created by you; in your image you created us. You gave us responsibility for this earth, and you allowed us to recognise your presence in all which you have created, that we as one human race of brothers and sisters would serve you and worship your presence. We confess that we have broken your confidence, but when we sat in darkness and in the shadow of death, you did send to us. Christ your Son, the sun of righteousness with healing in his wings. He showed us the kingdom of Light, but descended through the cross into the darkness as a corn of wheat that falls into the ground and dies. But he rose from the dead as the first fruit of restored humankind.
All: Father, in the name of Jesus Christ, we approach you as members of the earthly creation and as those you have called to be responsible for our fellow creatures. We offer the world, ourselves and our fellow creature into your healing love.
Now follows the healing prayer within the Eucharistic prayer.
Assisting participant 1 brings a crystal to the North of the altar:
We offer you the element of earth, the world of the minerals and every which you have created out the earthly matter, plants, trees, birds, animals and humans.
Assisting participant 2 brings a bottle of pure water to the West of the altar:
We offer you the element of water and every creature which lives in the water and every creature which you refresh and sustain through it.
Assisting participant 3 brings a burning candle to the South of the altar:
We offer you the element of fire which transforms matter into energy, and we offer you everything that has its warmth and light from the fire or contains its nature.
Assisting participant 4 brings some feathers to the East of the altar:
We offer you the element of air in which we breathe, and we offer you every creature that breathes and lives in the air.
Priest: Let us hold out our hands towards the altar as a symbol of our world and say:
All: The entire created world belongs to you, God:
the physical world with the elements,
the psychical world that contains life, feelings, and thoughts,
the invisible world of spirit in which we open ourselves to you.
Heal the nature, the creatures of the earth and humankind, and make this world whole.
Assisting participant 5:
Imagine how God breathes life into the world and unites all creatures and humankind in one breath, that we live, and move, and have our being in God.
And imagine how the divine light of Christ, accepted into our hearts, becomes a light to our fellow creatures and humankind.
Priest: Lord, when you send your Spirit, they are created!
All: And you renew the face of the earth!
The healing prayer is taken up in the Eucharistic prayer:
Priest I: Father! You are God, greater than principalities, powers, authorities, or names in this age, but in the age to come, yea in all ages. Thus, the entire creation will be fulfilled in the worship of you, and thus we with your congregation on earth as in heaven, chorusing with all angels sing the praise of your glory:
All: Holy, holy, holy, Lord God of hosts,
heaven and earth are full of thy glory.
Hosanna in the highest.
Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.
Hosanna in the highest.
Priest I: See to us, o God, [he takes the bread in his hands] and bless, and sanctify this bread, yea send your Holy Spirit and make it unto us the body (+) of your Son Jesus Christ,
All: Who in the same night that he was betrayed, took bread, and, when he had given thanks, he brake it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, Take, eat, this is my Body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of me.
Priest I: See to us, o God, [he takes the cup in his hands] and bless, and sanctify this wine, yea send your Holy Spirit and make it unto us the blood (+) of your Son Jesus Christ,
All: Who after supper took the cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of this; for this is my Blood of the New Testament, which is shed for you and for many for the remission of sins; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.
B Praise to the Trinity and lifting up creation to God
L: The highest skies are in love with you
The great Earth opens its palms in peace.
Our truest being is anchored in your purity.
You are God: Compassionate Father of the Three.
All: Everything praises you, sounding its true note.
All the Enlightened chant praises.
Every being takes its refuge in You
And the light of Your Holy Compassion frees us all.
Men: Beyond knowing, beyond words
You are the truth, steadfast for all time.
Compassionate Father, Radiant Son,
Pure Breath of God – three in one.
Women: In the midst of kings and regents,
You are supreme
Among the World Famous,
You are Lord of everything.
Men: You live perpetually in the light
The light which enters every sphere.
You have never been seen
No eye can see Your Form
Or Your Unclouded Nature.
Women: Among all spirits You alone are unchanging
Making all that is good, beyond reckoning.
The root and essence – the thing itself!
All: Today I reflect on your Compassion and Grace,
I delight in that wondrous bliss that covers our land.
Lifting up creation to God
L: Compasionate Father, Holy World Honoured God. You manifested yourself to us calling the world into being through your Son, the eternal Dao, and breathing your lifegiving Spirit into creation.
King of Heaven and Earth let your love for us in your incarnated Dao, Jesus Christ, restore the order of creation, that we may follow your Dao. Breathe your Spirit into creation to restore the flow of Qi in Wu Xing (the five seasons, phases and processes): that we rejoice
L lifting up the branch:
in the season of Spring and the vitality of life in plants, trees, and all that grows; that we rejoice
L lifting up the burning candle:
in the season of Summer full of swelling, flowering and brimming with energy; that we rejoice
L lifting up the stone:
in the earth and in the Long Summer, dampening and fruitful; that we rejoice
L lifting up the metal:
in the Autumn season and the work of harvesting and collecting; that we rejoice
L lifting up the water:
In the season of Winter, where stillness and storage pervades.
L burning some incense:
Our life comes from you Compasionate Father, Eternal Dao and lifegiving Spirit
All: Receive our praise and prayers as a sweet savour of incence
Continued praise of the Trinity
L: Messiah, Great Holy Son of the Honoured One
Saviour of countless of the suffering souls –
All: Supreme King, Will of Ages,
Compassionate Joyous Lamb
Loving all who suffer
Fearless as You strive for us.
Free us of the karma of our lives,
Bring us Back to our original nature,
And deliver us from all danger.
Women: Divine Son invited
To stand on the right of the Father,
Great Messiah, hear our prayers
Send Your raft of salvation
To save us from the burning streams!
All: Great Teacher, I stand in awe of the Father
Great Teacher, I am awed by the Holy Lord
Great Teacher, I am speechless before the King of Dharma
L: Everything looks to You,
Shower us with Your Healing Rain!
Help us to overcome, give life to what was withered,
And water the roots of kindness in us.
All: Great Holy World-Honoured One,
Boundless Sea of Compassion
And the Clean Pure Wind
To you be honour and glory, now and evermore. Amen