LTSP Green Team: Worship Resources

There are lots of resources available to help us think about God's creation as part of our regular worship. We encourage you to consider ways to incorporate these themes and issues throughout the church year. What a powerful witness to incorporate those themes as we worship together year-round.

 

Take a look at our own Lutheran resources for liturgical language, prayers, and hymns

In Evangelical Lutheran Worship (ELW), concern for God's creation is already abundant in our prayers and liturgies. The rubric for intercessory prayers in our Sunday worship includes prayers for the "well-being of creation" (p. 105). Morning and Evening prayer are designed to highlight the way that our daily rhythms are connected to the rising and setting of the sun, and the intercessory prayers explicitly mention creation (p. 304, 316).

Take time to explore the prayer resources on pp. 64-87. See the collects for Creation on p. 81. The Eucharistic prayers highlight creation (see especially prayer VII) and Thanksgivings for Baptism, as well (see especially prayer V). Consider naming local bodies of water in your thanksgiving at the font, as we give thanks not just for water in the abstract but for the actual water that sustains us in our localities. There is a section of hymns under the subject heading "Creation" (#730-740) and additional hymns can be found in the index under the same heading.

 

Look for connections in the church calendar and lectionary

Our scriptures and our liturgical tradition are full of rich images of creation. Trees, vines, gardens and vineyards, rocks, and water all occur throughout our scriptures as symbols rooted in the world around us. Keep an eye out year round for themes relating to creation in the appointed scripture readings and incorporate those specific images into sermons and prayers. Pay attention to the calendar of commemorations for saints who may have worked specifically in some aspect of creation (Francis of Assisi, Copernicus, Chief Seattle, to name a few). In planning for the liturgical seasons, keep in mind the natural seasons in your area - see what rich connections might be made between the two.

Consider the way that you design your worship space

In spaces that have windows, allow natural light and views of the outside world to be part of the worshipping environment.Consider the plants that you use in worship: Are there cut flowers that must be thrown out every week? Or do you have potted plants that can continue to grow and thrive? Consider using arrangements of dried natural and native plants. Use candles that are made from natural products like beeswax so that the passage of time can be visibly manifested in the worship space. Consider the environment when purchasing furnishings for the worship space - using natural wood and natural fibers for albs, vestments, and paraments. Decorate during the Advent season with boughs of natural greenery. This helps keep us from jumping ahead to Christmas in our decorating and brings natural life into the worship space at the same time.

 

Do a worship energy audit

Just as you might do an energy audit for your building, analyze the use of energy for your worship service (sound systems, dishwashers for communion ware, etc.). Ask yourself what energy expenditures are essential to the proclamation of the gospel and what you might do differently to accomplish the same purpose with less energy.

 

Teach the liturgy

Involve the congregation, especially young people, in learning the liturgy. Discuss ways you can be more hospitable to guests in worship. By doing so, you may findless need for an extensive paper bulletin, and people will come to learn betterthe rich songs and texts of the church.

 

Incorporate "green" parish life with worship

If you have a community garden that sends some food to local food pantries, bring it forward in worship with the gifts of money, wine, and bread. Use locally made bread and wine. Do you have other green practices in your parish life? Think about how you could apply the same principles to your worship. For fellowship before or after worship, you could use reusable mugs like the ones pictured in LTSP's Lull Lounge.

 

Bless creation

When we bless things, people, and animals, we give thanks to God and pray for their right use. Consider blessing the church's land, new plantings on church property, animals on St. Francis' day, or whatever might fit your context. Become aware of the rhythms of the earth. Consider blessings during planting and harvest, the beginnings of seasonal changes as the earth makes huge transformations and plants shift their energies, and the changing rotation of the planets.


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