Climate Sunday – Sunday June 6th 2021

Welcome

Good Morning and welcome to you all whether you are joining with us online or here in the building with us.

Call to Worship

In the beginning before time, before people, before the world began,

God was.

Here and now, among us, beside us, enlisting the people of earth for the purposes of heaven,

God is.

In the future, when we have turned to dust and all we know has found its fulfilment,

God will be.

Not denying the world but delighting in it, not understanding the world, but redeeming it, through Jesus Christ, by the power of the Holy Spirit,

God was, God is, God will be.

Worship

Collect

Tearfund “Hope for Creation” prayer

Lord, make us people who recognise,

nurture and act towards a more sustainable world for the benefit of all who draw life from this planet.

Raise up campaigners who will speak out for wisdom, restraint and compassion.

And teach us to partner you in protecting this precious world and the lives of our most vulnerable global neighbours.

Amen

1 In the abeginning, God created the heavens and the earth. 2 The earth was bwithout form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.

3 And God said, c“Let there be light,” and there was light. 4 And God saw that the light was good. And God separated the light from the darkness. 5 God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day.

6 And God said, d“Let there be an expanse1 in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.” 7 And God made2 the expanse and eseparated the waters that were under the expanse from the waters that were fabove the expanse. And it was so. 8 And God called the expanse Heaven.3 And there was evening and there was morning, the second day.

9 And God said, g“Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear.” And it was so. 10 God called the dry land Earth,4 and the waters that were gathered together he called Seas. And God saw that it was good.

11 And God said, h“Let the earth sprout vegetation, plants5 yielding seed, and fruit trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind, on the earth.” And it was so. 12 The earth brought forth vegetation, plants yielding seed according to their own kinds, and trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. 13 And there was evening and there was morning, the third day.

14 And God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night. And let them be for isigns and for jseasons,6 and for days and years, 15 and let them be lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light upon the earth.” And it was so. 16 And God kmade the two great lights—the greater light to rule the day and the lesser light to rule the night—and the stars. 17 And God set them in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth, 18 to lrule over the day and over the night, and to separate the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good. 19 And there was evening and there was morning, the fourth day.

20 And God said, “Let the waters swarm with swarms of living creatures, and let birds7 fly above the earth across the expanse of the heavens.” 21 So mGod created the great sea creatures and every living creature that moves, with which the waters swarm, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. 22 And God blessed them, saying, n“Be fruitful and multiply and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.” 23 And there was evening and there was morning, the fifth day.

24 And God said, “Let the earth bring forth living creatures according to their kinds—livestock and creeping things and beasts of the earth according to their kinds.” And it was so. 25 And God made the beasts of the earth according to their kinds and the livestock according to their kinds, and everything that creeps on the ground according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.

26 Then God said, o“Let us make man8 in our image, pafter our likeness. And qlet them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”

 27  So God created man in his own image,

in the image of God he created him;

rmale and female he created them.

28 And God blessed them. And God said to them, s“Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” 29 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. tYou shall have them for food. 30 And uto every beast of the earth and to every bird of the heavens and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.” And it was so. 31 vAnd God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.

Gen 1
1-31

Word

The Parable of the Mustard Seed

30 Again he said, “What shall we say the kingdom of God is like, or what parable shall we use to describe it? 31 It is like a mustard seed, which is the smallest of all seeds on earth. 32 Yet when planted, it grows and becomes the largest of all garden plants, with such big branches that the birds can perch in its shade.”

Mark 4
30-32

“I love it when a plan comes together” was the catchphrase from Hannibal Smith, the leader of the A-team and today this is seems rather appropriate. For having planned for some time to celebrate Climate Sunday today, it was only this week that I discovered that yesterday, the 5th June was World Environment Day. World Environment day was first celebrated back in 1974. Around 143 countries take part and the day focuses on environmental concerns ranging from pollution to global warming and sustainable food production to the protection of wildlife, all of which are subjects that we have looked at over the our recent series based on Ruth Valerio’s ‘Saying Yes to Life’

This main focus for World Environment day this year was ‘Beat Plastic Pollution’ which again is a theme a number of you have spoken about in your reflections and responses to ‘saying yes to life’ but we will find out more about that later.

Our reading from Genesis is the passage that we took six weeks to explore. Over that time, we discovered how God created the environment and spaces, that would later be inhabited. It began with  the creation of light making day and night, before  the separation of the waters to create the sky, and then the separation of the seas, forming land in between. After the third day God stops and looks and declares the work to be good,  each element having it’s own intrinsic value. The creator moves on to fill the spaces beginning with the Sun and Moon, the stars and the seasons, providing an inherent rhythm to the created order. The sky was then filled with birds along with the creatures that lived in the sea, before on the sixth day, the creatures who lived on land and human beings were came into being. Once again God declared each day to be good.

We considered the differences between the biblical story of creation with its contemporary ancient texts, noting the care and intention with which God created the world in comparison to the violence and death through which the world came into being told in the other ancient texts.

We considered how each element was reflected throughout scripture and the imagery used within this: light, water, trees and the animals.

We were encouraged to broaden our concept of Salvation, of being saved to incorporate not just humanity but the whole of creation,

We looked at a number of contemporary issues, the use of electricity, the scarcity of water, deforestation, light pollution, plastic pollution, loss of animal wildlife and what we choose to eat. 

We saw how all living beings animals, birds and fish, have God’s breath in them and just as the spaces were declared good so too we these.

We noticed the difference in humanity in that we were made in the image of God and given a purpose, to be stewards and we have mourned our part in the current climate crisis.

We spoken about the need to be more connected to the world we live in to value and appreciate it and to take care of it.

And so our gospel reading this morning is one of hope, an affirmation that God will accomplish great results from small beginnings.[1]  This parable told by Jesus offers a image, a picture, a vision of God’s kingdom, whilst it might start small, it indeed spreads and grows abundantly to a point that once grown it becomes the greatest of all shrubs, putting forth large branches so the birds of the air can make nests in its shade, the image of which reflects the inclusive nature of all within the kingdom of God.

What we miss in the modern day that the first century hearers may well have picked up on is the picture of restoration found in the prophet Ezekiel. In Chapter 17, you will find a parable, of two eagles and a vine and Ezekiel’s vision, tells of the Babylonians, carrying off some of the inhabitants of Jerusalem, they will prosper and return in comparison to those who remain in Jerusalem, for those will perish.[2] The promise is held at the end of this passage and v23 says

Ezekiel 17: 23

 On the mountain heights of Israel I will plant it; it will produce branches and bear fruit and become a splendid cedar. Birds of every kind will nest in it; they will find shelter in the shade of its branches. 

Jesus draws on this image, connecting the hearers to the scriptural promises and just as it did so then, it does so now too.

In response to the series, I have heard a number of you say that there no easy answers, that it is important to get a balance, but our gospel passage this morning reminds of of the hope that we at All Saints should have. That together as we make connections with those on our front-lines and especially amongst those that for whom the climate emergency and the issues we have explored are really important, perhaps we might find a common purpose that creates the space for God to reveal himself. Perhaps we will see this image come into being in this place that we consider to be home, for we are indeed part of something much bigger than us, for we, along with the whole of creation are a part of God’s kingdom in the here and now and we await for this to be fully realised in the future.

[1]      Williamson Jr. L., Interpretation: A Biblical Commentary for Teaching and Preaching: Mark, p: 98

[2]      McGrath, A. NIV Bible commentary, p.194

Witness

Prayers of Intercession

Let us offer our prayers to God for the life of the world
and for all God’s people in their daily life and work.
God, the beginning and end of all things,
in your providence and care
you watch unceasingly over all creation;
we offer our prayers
that in us and in all your people your will may be done,
according to your wise and loving purpose in Christ our Lord.
Lord of life:
hear our prayer.

We pray for all engaged in research to safeguard crops against disease,
and to produce abundant life among those who hunger
and whose lives are at risk.
Prosper the work of their hands
and the searching of their minds,
that their labour may be for the welfare of all.
Lord of wisdom:
hear our prayer.

We pray for governments and aid agencies,
and those areas of the world affected by climate change.
By the grace of your Spirit,
touch our hearts
and the hearts of all who live in comfortable plenty,
and make us wise stewards of your gifts.
Lord of justice:
hear our prayer.

We offer ourselves to your service,
asking that by the Spirit at work in us
others may receive a rich harvest of love and joy and peace.
Lord of faithfulness:
hear our prayer.

God of grace,
as you are ever at work in your creation,
so fulfil your wise and loving purpose in us
and in all for whom we pray,
that with them and in all that you have made,
your glory may be revealed
and the whole earth give praise to you,
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen.

The Lords Prayer

Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins
as we forgive those who sin against us.
Lead us not into temptation
but deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power,
and the glory are yours
now and for ever.
Amen.

Act of Commitment

‘While all creatures stand in expectation, what will be the result of our liberty?’
(Thomas Traherne)


As the whole of creation looks with eager longing for the redemption of humankind, let us pledge ourselves anew to serve our Creator God, the Father who is the maker of all things,
the Son through whom all things are made, and the Holy Spirit,
the giver of life, who renews the face of the earth.
Let us stand to affirm our commitment to care actively for God’s creation.

Lord of life and giver of hope,
we pledge ourselves to care for creation,
to reduce our waste,
to live sustainably,
and to value the rich diversity of life.
May your wisdom guide us,
that life in all its forms may flourish,
and may be faithful in voicing creation’s praise.

May the commitment we have made this day be matched by our faithful living.
Amen. Amen. Amen.

Blessing

May God the Father,
who clothes the lilies of the field
and feeds the birds of the air,
provide you with all we need for life in its fullness.
Amen.

May God the Son,
who fed the five thousand and turned water into wine,
feed you with his life and transform us in his love.
Amen.

May God the Holy Spirit,
who hovered over the waters of creation
and formed the world from chaos,
form you in the likeness of Christ and renew the face of the earth.
Amen.

Dismissal

Tend the earth, care for God’s good creation,
and bring forth the fruits of righteousness.
Go in the peace of Christ.
Thanks be to God.

Community

The community of S17 has drawn together during these unusual times in a very special way. This is reflected in the great work of the S17 COVID-19 Community Support group.

The group aims to support those in the community who may be in need and to provide a support network to the S17 community at this time.

“If there are needy people in our community let’s ensure we help them out with things like bringing shopping to their door.”

The Wardens of All Saints Totley have been producing regular newsletters with helpful links, thoughts and resources. The latest of these is here.

We have also started to add resources for the younger members of our church, to add to this virtual service. They can be found here, and here.

Reminder

If you have any feedback on this service or any other ideas, suggestions or contributions, for future services please do send these to comments@allsaintstotley.church