LENS - Lutheran Earthkeeping Network of the Synods

Caring for Creation: Vision, Hope, and Justice

A Liturgy

Christian concern for the environment is shaped by the Word of God spoken in creation, the Love of God hanging on a cross, and the Breath of God daily renewing the face of the earth.
The people of God gathered together as the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America are deeply concerned about the environment, locally and globally, as members of this church and as members of society.
As Lutheran Christians, we are centered in Jesus Christ who comes to us in the Word and the Sacraments. This liturgy, then, offers a format for us to center our Visions, Hopes and our quest for Justice in the Word and Sacraments


WORDS OF WELCOME (This is a good place to introduce the Social Statement on Caring for Creation: Vision, Hope, and Justice and to introduce how the liturgy relates to the Social Statement)


Call to Worship

Leader: We come to you Lord,
People: Give us a vision of your intent for creation and for humanity as creation’s caregivers;
Leader: We come to you Lord,
People: Help us to express hope and heed your call to environmental justice and commitment to creation;
Leader: Teach us Lord,
People: To live the faith by caring for creation!
Pastor: The steadfast love of God, the life of Jesus Christ, and the gift of the Holy Spirit be with you all.
People: And also with you!

Opening Song (Suggested: The Earth and Everything )


Pastor: Almighty God, you know all our desires—we can’t hide our secrets from you. Stir the Holy Spirit in us to clean our hearts and minds so we can love you perfectly.
People: Amen
Leader: "If we claim that we’re free of sin, we’re only fooling ourselves…On the other hand, if we admit our sins…God will forgive our sins and purge us of all wrongdoing." Gracious and giving God, you created and it was good!
People: But through our greed and selfishness, we have despoiled your Creation.
Leader: Oh God, you gave us dominion and control over all creation – a gift to be revered and used with responsibility.
People: But we have used creation for our selfish gain. We throw creation away on a daily basis. We don’t recycle, we don’t reuse, we don’t redesign. We simply consume and heap our waste on creation. Through our sinfulness of separation from You and the rest of creation, Your creation is weighted down and gripped in environmental crisis.
Leader: Oh God, you commanded us to be fruitful and multiply.
People: But through our sinful selfishness, we have overpopulated our world, jeopardizing efforts to achieve a sustainable future and leading to social injustices. We heap our waste on those who are the most vulnerable and turn our backs on their pleas for relief.
Gracious God, we plead for forgiveness for these sins. Through the gift of the Holy Spirit, give us the power to turn away from our sinful ways and guide us to faithful stewardship of Your creation.

Pastor: God is kind and merciful. God gave God’s son to die for us. As a called and ordained Pastor of the church of Christ, I hereby declare to you that your sins are forgiven; in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen.

Music for Confession (Choose a hymn related to the healing of creation)


Leader: That powerful sense of forgiveness reminds us that God calls us to reconcile our differences and to forgive one another. We believe that such reconciliation and forgiveness frees us for being in deeper fellowship with our sisters and brothers in Christ and helps us to engage in the work God has called us to do. Through that deeper fellowship we are able to reconcile with all of creation. Forgiven and reconciled children of God, greet one another as new creations in Christ Jesus.

Leader: Let’s join together in stating our faith in the words of the Apostle’s Creed
All: I believe in God the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord. He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit, and born of the Virgin Mary. He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died and was buried. He descended into hell. On the third day he rose again. He ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sin, the resurrection of the body and the life everlasting. Amen.

Baptism: Remembering our Baptism into the Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ

Pastor: (An assistant slowly pours water into the Baptismal font as the Pastor is speaking) Oh most holy and gracious God, You are our living water and through the waters of baptism you call us to be a part of your holy family. Even though we have polluted these waters with contaminants of convenience and greed and poisoned them with our selfishness, you purify them through your forgiveness and grace.
As you come forward for sharing the meal, please dip your fingers into these cleansing waters and make use them as you make the sign of the cross as a reminder of your baptism into the cross.

The Meal

Pastor: The Master, Jesus, chooses to come to us in and through bread and wine—elements of God’s creation—gifts from the earth itself. We believe that as we partake in this Holy Meal, we experience the real presence of our Lord. We believe we experience creation itself.

The Invitation and Words of Institution

Pastor: "The Master, Jesus, on the night of his betrayal, took bread. Having given thanks, he broke it and said,
‘This is my body, broken for you. Do this to remember me.’
"After supper, he did the same thing with the wine;
‘This wine is my blood, God’s new covenant poured out for many people for the forgiveness of sins. Each time you drink this cup, remember me.’ We pray:
All: 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
Save us from the time of trial
And deliver us from evil
For the Kingdom, the power and the glory are yours, now and forever – Amen

Pastor: Come for the meal is prepared. All of creation is invited . . . all of creation is welcome.

Music for the Meal

Distribution (Commune by "intinction." Please come forward as directed. You will be given a piece of bread, which you then dip in the cup of wine before you eat it. You can then return to your seat. All are invited. If you aren’t certain about taking part in the meal, you may still come forward for a blessing. Simply fold your hands in front of you and one of the worship leaders will offer you a blessing.)

Communion Blessing
Pastor: Through the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ you are a new creation, may he strengthen you and keep you in his grace. Amen.


Song for the Scriptures (Choose a hymn or song related to creation)

A Bible Story for the Children

The New Testament Lesson

The Reading of the Gospel (Out of Respect for the Gospel, please rise as you are able)

Pastor: The Holy Gospel according to St. __________, the _________ Chapter
People: Thanks be to God!
Pastor: (Reads the Gospel lesson) The Gospel of our Lord
People: Praise be to Christ!


Offering and Tithes – While financial offerings and tithes this day are certainly welcome, we encourage you to write a way in which you will begin practicing environmental tithing on a slip of paper and place it in the offering plate as it is passed.

Offertory Response and Prayer (Let the Vineyards Be Fruitful) Please rise as you are able.

Leader: Let us pray . . . (People’s response – "Create us anew")
God of Hope: Sin and captivity, manifest in threats to the environment, are not the last word. You address our predicament with gifts of "forgiveness of sins, life, and salvation" (Luther, Small Catechism). Help us to use the freedom you offer to be loving servants to all of creation. God of Creation,

Although we remain sinners, we are freed from our old captivity to sin and are now captives of hope. Captured by hope we pray for your help and leadership to be driven by Your promise of blessings yet to come. Guide us to be your instruments as you renew the face of the earth. God of Creation,

Captured by hope, we dream dreams and look forward to a new creation. We simply pray, Your Kingdom come. God of Creation,
God of Justice, we pray that we have the courage to face crisis and to be bold in action trusting in Your promise to be with us always. God of Creation,

You are a living God who communicates with us in the most wonderful ways. Help us to listen to those who fish the sea, harvest the forest, till the soil, and mine the earth, as well as to those who advance the conservation, protection, and preservation of the environment, knowing that you speakthrough them. God of Creation,

Help us to stand together in the face of our differences. Help us to recognize that through our discussions we grow closer to you. Help us to set aside our own selfish desires and agendas and enable us to stand together as your creation. Lord of Creation,

The earth and its fullness belong to You God. Help us to yield to the temptation to claim those as our own and to practice sufficiency in our personal and public lives, to the end that there may be enough. God of Creation,

You, in Your Glory, created a sustainable creation. There are many obstacles to sustainability. Neither economic growth that ignores environmental cost nor conservation of nature that ignores human cost is sustainable. Both will result in injustice and, eventually, environmental degradation. We know that a healthy economy can exist only within a healthy environment. We pray, therefore, for the creativity and dedication to live more gently with the earth and to actively promote sustainability. God of Creation,

All: Lord,
Your servant
doesn’t know left from right.
Even now I don’t know
Which one of your hands I am in.
Whether I am in the left or the right,
It doesn’t matter.
I am in your hands.
That’s enough. Amen.

Song for the Sending (Suggested: The Earth and Everything -- Reprise)

The Commission
Pastor: Fellow disciples of Jesus Christ…We claim the promise of "a new heaven and a new earth" (Revelation 21:1), and join in the offertory prayer (Lutheran Book of Worship, page 109): "Blessed are you, O Lord our God, maker of all things. Through your goodness you have blessed us with these gifts. With them we offer ourselves to your service and dedicate our lives to the care and redemption of all that you have made, for the sake of him who gave himself for us, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. You’ve been called and commissioned. Now go in peace and serve the Lord by caring for creation, living a life of sufficiency and sustainability, and advocating for environmental justice,

People: Thanks be to God!