“Earth”

Worship Script 1


 

Earthly Love

Worship Script (1 of 4)

 

OPENING WORDS

By Joy Harjo, Adapted


Remember the earth whose skin you are:

Red earth, black earth, yellow earth, white earth, brown earth.

We are earth

Remember the plants, trees, animal life who all have their

tribes, their families their histories, too.

Talk to them.

Listen to them. They are alive poems.

Remember the wind. Remember her voice she know the

Origin of this universe.

Remember you are ll people and all people are you.

We are earth

Remember you are this universe and this universe is you

We are earth

Remember all is motion, is growing, is you.

We are earth

Remember language comes from this. Remember the dance language is, that life is.
Remember

We are earth.

 

HYMN #21 For The Beauty of the Earth

 

FIRST READING

Excerpts from “Epiphany in the Beans” from Braiding Sweetgrass, by Robin Wall Kimmerer

Maybe it was the smell of ripe tomatoes, or the oriole singing, or that certain slant of light on a yellow afternoon and the beans hanging thick around me. It just came to me in a wash of happiness that made me laugh out loud, startling the chickadees who were picking at the sunflowers, raining black and white hulls on the ground. I knew it with a certainty as warm and clear as the September sunshine. The land loves u back. She loves us with beans and tomatoes, with roasting ears and blackberries and birdsongs. By a shower of gifts and a heavy rain of lessons. She provides for us and teaches us to provide for ourselves. That’s what good mothers do.

I looked around at the garden and could feel her delight in giving us these beautiful raspberries, squash, basil, potatoes, asparagus, lettuce, kale, and beets, broccoli, peppers, brussel sprouts, carrots, dill, onions, leeks, spinach. It reminded me of the little girls answer to “How much do I love you?” “Thiiiiiiiis much,” with arm stretched wide, they replied. This is really why I made my daughters learn to garden - so that would always have a mother to love them, long after I am gone.


SECOND READING
Gratitude by Swiftwalker


Let’s start with the people we love
and those who love us,
thankful they are in our lives
obliging us to open our hearts.

Let open hearts embrace the Earth,
the sea and soil and stars,
blessed by bold beauty,
the bounty of being.

Then with hearts open to beauty
let us embrace the arts
and the generation of learning
that we should have wisdom.

Let what wisdom we have,
wan and wanting, lead us to
strive so the seventh generation
hence can live more fully.

It is in that work, and that alone,
that we can express our thankful spirit.
May we make it so.

For the opening to make it
so, let us be truly grateful.

Amen

 

HYMN #1073 The Earth Is Our Mother

 

STORY FOR ALL AGES

The First Greek Goddess, by Emily DeTar Birt

 

Do any of you know about Greek Mythology? Do you know of any Greek gods or goddesses?

(wait for response from children or adults)

Some of the most famous greek gods and goddesses are Zeus, Hades, Aphrodite. Can you name others?

(wait for responses)

But do you know about the first, and in Greek times believed to be most powerful of all the gods and goddesses?

Her name was Gaia.

Gaia had no parents, and was born out of chaos and void. She was Mother Earth herself. It was from her that all the gods and goddesses came to be. It was from her that the order of the universe was made. She was Mother Earth, who carried for all her children god and goddesses, who cared for plants and animals, and was the goddess of the young.

Historians ponder whether she was considered one of the most powerful gods, because none of the gods or goddess could escape her gravity, or live away from her universe and center.

While there are many other folklore that sees earth embodied as Mother across cultures, countries, and continents, the Greek myths of Gaia, or Mother Earth are some of the most prominent portrayals of the Earth as a Mother figure. Gaia is even used in modern times as a scientific word, to help describe the complexity of earth and climate science and interwoven ecosystems. This First Goddess, or Mother Earth, has had a lot of power to stay in our collective imagination until today.

 

MEDITATION
Entwined by Stephen M.  Shick


Spirit of Life, God of Love,

 I am entwined in your delicate web of mutuality. The life energy that makes me reach for the sun also moves me to become wrapped, like the strong bittersweet vine and the delicate sweet pea, around those I meet and love. Here in the tangle of my daily life I feel your pulse and sense what it means to be alive. Here, twisted and knotted, I thrive, seeking the light that will pull from me the fragrant blossom of love.

Spirit of Life, help me to experience the beauty of your interwoven and intricate web, that I might always embrace, without reserve, all those whom my life touches.

 

CANDLES OF JOY AND CONCERN

Those who are so moved are now invited to come forward to light a candle, expressing a joy or concern in their lives.  As you do, you may briefly share what it is.  We ask that people coming forward speak for no more than a sentence or two, and speak from the heart about issues in their lives, rather than political issues, which we can take up at coffee hour or in the parking lot.

 

SERMON

To Love the Earth by Meg Riley, senior minister, Church of the Larger Fellowship

 I have described in earlier columns the deep and abiding joy I felt when I began to read Robin Wall Kimmerer’s book, Braiding Sweetgrass. Both a scientist and an enrolled member of the Potawatomi Citizen Nation, she describes her relationship with the earth as one of mutuality, generativity, and respect. She articulates better than any other writer I’ve ever encountered my experience of deep peace when I am in my garden, where I feel most at one with nature.
 

However, I should also tell you that I hit a point in the book where I could no longer easily accompany her; where my upbringing as a dualistic white westerner became an obstacle to allowing her to accompany me anymore. In a chapter called, “Epiphany in the Beans,” she describes coming to a profound realization that is fundamental for her.
 

“Maybe it was the smell of ripe tomatoes, or the oriole singing, or that certain slant of light on a yellow afternoon and the beans hanging thick around me. It just came to me in a wash of happiness that made me laugh out loud…. I knew it with a certainty as warm and clear as the September sunshine. The land loves us back. She loves us with beans and tomatoes…by a shower of gifts and a rain of lessons. She provides for us and teaches us to provide for ourselves. That’s what good mothers do…. Suddenly there was no intellectualizing, no rationalizing, just the pure sensation of baskets full of mother love. The ultimate reciprocity, loving and being loved in return.”
 

I have been wrestling with this idea since I first encountered it. Does the earth love me? Do I really know that? I think it would feel wonderful to know this kind of love, but my mind keeps twisting. “Isn’t it kind of anthropomorphic?” I asked a friend, who says she knows in her very cells that the earth loves her. (In other words, “Isn’t that attributing human traits to something that is not human?”) My friend drew herself up and said, quietly but with clear and focused anger, “I absolutely hate that question. Do you see the arrogance of that question? That question presumes that humans are the ones who know how to love, that love begins with us. That we invented love. How dare we presume that?”
 

That stopped me, and set me to ruminating more. My friend is right. I stand firmly in my committed belief that love is the strongest force in the universe, and that human ability to love is a gift we are given, not something we invented. I don’t care if people call its source God or life or just affirm love without worrying about its source. So why am I so stopped by fear when I consider publicly naming Earth as the biggest source of love I know? Why do I worry about ridicule, about being thought simple, for believing this when I have so much tangible evidence, starting with my very breath and body, of the earth as a source of love?
 

Ultimately, unable to stand my own mental contortions on the subject, I decided to approach the question in a different way. Kimmerer suggested this, after she found graduate students who hit the same wall of rationality and freezing that I did when confronting the question. She asked them: What do you suppose would happen if people believed this crazy notion that the earth loves us back?”
 

She describes what happened when she framed the question this way: “The floodgates opened. They all wanted to talk at once. We were suddenly off the deep end, heading for world peace and perfect harmony. One student summed it up, ‘You wouldn’t harm what gives you love.’”
 

So, I can hypothetically imagine what it would be to believe the earth loves me, loves all of us earthlings. Still, I want to go deeper with this. My friend who knows the earth loves her spent several months in deep meditation, simply feeling that love. I am shy about this, but I want to know that same kind of love. In these winter months, when gardening is not a daily experience for me, I am instead committed to exploring whether I can feel the love of the earth. Kimmerer, again: “Knowing you love the earth changes you, activates you to defend and protect and celebrate.” (Yes. This I know in my bones.) But then she continues: “But when you feel that the earth loves you in return, that feeling transforms the relationship from a one way street into a sacred bond.… It is medicine for broken land and empty hearts.” I want to know that sacred bond enough to struggle for it, if need be.  Even more than I need the approval of my scientist father and rational readers here, who I imagine shaking your head disdainfully now.


I can say I love you, easily and without hesitation, to the life that unfolds before me in my garden. I love the earth as I plant and weed and tend and harvest and tuck in for the winter. Now I need to take time to be quiet, to receive love. Winter in Minnesota and other northern climates is a good time for listening to the earth. Without the distraction of all that activity, with the garden in a time of deep rest and hibernation, perhaps I will find something deeper in myself, a pathway I haven’t felt before, that can receive the earth’s love. In the meantime, I’ll bring out beans and corn and tomato sauce from the freezer, and remember the earth’s generosity that allowed them to grow.
 

 

HYMN #195 Let Us Wander Where We Will

 

BENEDICTION

By Frederick E Gillis

 

May the Love which overcomes all differences,

Which heals all wounds,

Which puts to flight all fears,

Which reconcilies all who are separated,

Be in us and among us

Now and always.