Earth Spirituality

PRAYER: Black Elk’s Earth Prayer

October 23, 2017

Grandfather, Great Spirit, once more behold me on Earth and lean to hear my feeble voice. You lived first, and you are older than all need, older than all prayer. All things belong to you – the two-legged, the four-legged, the wings of the air, and all green things that live. You have set the powers of the four quarters of the Earth to cross each other. You have made me cross the good road and road of difficulties, and where they cross, the place is holy. Day in, day out, forevermore, you are the life of things. Hey! Lean to hear my feeble voice. At the center of the sacred hoop With tears running, O Great Spirit, my Grandfather, With running eyes I must say The tree has never bloomed. Here I stand, and the tree is withered. Again, I [...]

SATURDAY READING: New Indigenous Forms Of Christian Healing by Amanda Porterfield

October 21, 2017

From: Healing in the History of Christianity In some contrast to the de-emphasis on transcendence in some forms of social justice theology, many converts integrated Christianity with traditional values and customs with an ease that caught many Western missionaries by surprise, if they understood what was happening.  These new indigenous forms of Christianity often revolved around healing and incorporated miracles of healing into modern forms of social consciousness.  Christians in Africa, Latin America, eastern Europe, and Asia combined social visions of Christian healing with practices of spiritual healing derived, at least in part, from indigenous traditions.  And investment in indigenous forms of spiritual healing stimulated new [...]

PRAYER: Prayer Of Confession, 19th Century India

October 16, 2017

Like the bounding stag I have sought sensual pleasures and fallen into the lake. I am the greatest sinner among sinners, unwilling to part with even a grain of rice to the noisy crow. Like the fly buzzing about without any rest, I seek. O, Father, tell me what to do that I may not die without your grace, and grant me your grace to support me. Like the bull bearing heavy burdens, I have toiled carrying the load of my own grief. Not knowing anything, I have roamed like the unclean animal feeding upon the refuse of the streets. I am lower than the dog, which tires itself out with barking in utter thoughtlessness. Holy Father, what can I do to obtain your grace to support me in my distress? I have taken pride in regarding my darkness as light [...]

SATURDAY READING: An Aboriginal Christian Perspective On The Integrity Of Creation by Stan McKay

October 7, 2017

From Native and Christian There is a sense of compromise in doing this essay as well as hesitancy in placing images on paper that reflect our spiritual insights.  The present urgency to come together for a healing vision for the Earth, “our Mother,” has brought our elders to advise us to share and risk even by writing what has been our oral tradition. Art Solomon is an Ojibway (Ontario, Canada) spiritual elder who attended the World Council of Churches’ meeting on the Island of Mauritius in February 1983.  Art wrote this prayer for the diverse group of people representing various faith communities gathered there to prepare for the Vancouver meeting. Grandfather look at our brokenness. Now we must put the sanctity of life as the [...]

POETRY: Praise Ye The Lord, O Celebrate His Fame by Peleg Folger

September 19, 2017

O Lord, how manifold are thy works! in wisdom hast thou made them all: the Earth is full of thy riches.  So is this great and wide sea, wherein are things creeping innumerable, both small and great beasts.  There go the ships: there is that leviathan, whom thou hast made to play therein. These wait all upon thee; that thou mayest give them their meat in due season.  That thou givest them they gather: thou openest thine hand, they are filled with good.  Thou hidest thy face, they are troubled: thou takest away their breath, they die, and return to their dust.  Thou sendest forth thy spirit, they are created: and thou renewest the face of the Earth.  The glory of the Lord shall endure forever: the Lord shall rejoice in his works. [...]

POETRY: On A Day In August by Thomas Merton

August 18, 2017

These woods are too impersonal. The deaf-and-dumb fields, waiting to be shaved of hay Suffer the hours like an unexpected sea While locusts fry their music in the sycamores. But from the curdled places of the sky (Where a brown wing hovers for carrion) We have not seen the heaven-people come. The clean, white saints, have they forgotten us? Here we lie upon the earth In the air of our dead grove Dreaming some wind may come and kiss ourselves in the red eyes With a pennyworth of mercy for our pepper shoulders. And so we take into our hands the ruins Of the words our minds have rent. It is enough. Our souls are trying to crawl out of our pores. Our lives are seeping through each part of us like vinegar. A sad sour death is eating the roots [...]

POETRY: Flying Fowl, And Creeping Things, Praise Ye The Lord by Isaac Watts

August 1, 2017

Mountains, and all hills; fruitful trees, and all cedars: Beasts, and all cattle; creeping things, and flying fowl. (Psalm 148:9-10) Sweet flocks, whose soft enamel’s wing Swift and gently cleaves the sky; Whose charming notes address the spring With an artless harmony. Lovely minstrels of the field, Who in leafy shadows sit, And your wondrous structures build, Awake your tuneful voices with the dawning light; To nature’s God your first devotions pay, E’er you salute the rising day, ‘Tis he calls up the sun, and gives him every ray. Serpents who o’er the meadows slide, And wear upon your shining back Numerous ranks of gaudy pride, Which thousand mingling colors make Let the fierce glances of your eyes Rebate [...]

POETRY: Wind And A Bobwhite by Thomas Merton

July 28, 2017

Wind and a bobwhite And the afternoon sun. By ceasing to question the sun I have become light, Bird and wind. My leaves sing. I am earth, earth All these lighted things Grow from my heart. A tall, spare pine Stands like the initial of my first Name when I had one. When I had a spirit, When I was on fire When this valley was Made out of fresh air You spoke my name In naming Your silence: O sweet, irrational worship! I am earth, earth My heart’s love Bursts with hay and flowers. I am a lake of blue air In which my own appointed place Field and valley Stand reflected. I am earth, earth Out of my grass heart Rises the bobwhite. Out of my nameless weeds His foolish [...]

POETRY: The Slip by Wendell Berry

June 25, 2017

The river takes the land, and leaves nothing. Where the great slip gave way in the bank and an acre disappeared, all human plans dissolve. An aweful clarification occurs where a place was. Its memory breaks from what is known now, and begins to drift. Where cattle grazed and trees stood, emptiness widens the air for birdflight, wind, and rain. As before the beginning, nothing is there. Human wrong is in the cause, human ruin in the effect—but no matter; all will be lost, no matter the reason. Nothing, having arrived, will stay. The earth, even, is like a flower, so soon passeth it away. And yet this nothing is the seed of all—heaven’s clear eye, where all the worlds appear. Where the imperfect has departed, the perfect begins its [...]

PRAYER: Summer Prayer by Jim Manney

June 19, 2017

From Ignatian Spirituality Father, Creator of all, thank you for summer! Thank you for the warmth of the sun and the increased daylight. Thank you for the beauty I see all around me and for the opportunity to be outside and enjoy your creation. Thank you for the increased time I have to be with my friends and family, and for the more casual pace of the summer season. Draw me closer to you this summer. Teach me how I can pray no matter where I am or what I am doing. Warm my soul with the awareness of your presence and light my path with your Word and Counsel. As I enjoy your creation, create in me a pure heart and a hunger and a thirst for you. [...]

POETRY: Look It Over by Wendell Berry

June 10, 2017

I leave behind even my walking stick. My knife is in my pocket, but that I have forgot. I bring no car, no cell phone, no computer, no camera, no CD player, no fax, no TV, not even a book. I go into the woods. I sit on a log provided at no cost. It is the earth I’ve come to, the earth itself, sadly abused by the stupidity only humans are capable of but, as ever, itself. Free. A bargain! Get it while it [...]

POETRY: Nothing Is Too Small Not To Be Wondered About, by Mary Oliver

May 20, 2017

The cricket doesn’t wonder if there’s a heaven or, if there is, if there’s room for him. It’s fall. Romance is over. Still, he sings. If he can, he enters a house through the tiniest crack under the door. Then the house grows colder. He sings slower and slower. Then, nothing. This must mean something, I don’t know what. But certainly it doesn’t mean he hasn’t been an excellent cricket all his [...]

POETRY: How The Grass And The Flowers Came To Exist, A God-Tale, by Mary Oliver

May 14, 2017

I suppose the Lord said: Let there be fur upon the earth, and let there be hair upon the earth, and so the seeds stuttered forward into ripeness and the roots twirled in the dark to accomplish His desire, and so there is clover, and the reeds of the marshes, and the eelgrass of the sea shallows upon which the dainty sea brant live, and there is the green and sturdy grass, and the goldenrod and the spurge and the yarrow and the ivies and the bramble and the blue iris covering the earth, thanking the Lord with their [...]

POETRY: Spring Beholding, by Mary F. C. Pratt

May 3, 2017

The fullness of joy is to behold God in everything. (Julian of Norwich) Otter washing her paws in the cold pond water. Bluebird, robin, forgotten songs come home. Vulture and hawk soaring the slope. Three thin deer, feet splayed in dry grass. Squirrels. Rabbits. Stones. Snowmelt, icy from the hills. Logging truck grunting far down the road, its work its purpose, its heavy [...]

EASTER STORY: Robin Redbreast, by Selma Lagerlöf

April 29, 2017

From Christ Legends It happened at the time when our Lord created the world, when he made not only Heaven and Earth, but all the animals and the plants as well, and at the same time gave them their names. Many stories have come to us from that time, and if we knew them all we should have light upon everything in this world which we cannot comprehend. It happened one day, when our Lord sat in his paradise painting little birds, that the colors in his paint pot gave out.  The goldfinch would have been without color if our Lord had not wiped all his paint brushes on its feathers. It was then that the donkey got his long ears because he could not remember the name that had been given him.  No sooner had he taken a few steps over the meadows [...]

POETRY: Binsey Poplars, by Gerard Manley Hopkins

April 23, 2017

felled 1879 My aspens dear, whose airy cages quelled, Quelled or quenched in leaves the leaping sun, All felled, felled, are all felled; Of a fresh and following folded rank Not spared, not one That dandled a sandalled Shadow that swam or sank On meadow and river and wind-wandering weed-winding bank. O if we but knew what we do When we delve or hew— Hack and rack the growing green! Since country is so tender To touch, her being só slender, That, like this sleek and seeing ball But a prick will make no eye at all, Where we, even where we mean To mend her we end her, When we hew or delve: After-comers cannot guess the beauty been. Ten or twelve, only ten or twelve Strokes of havoc únselve The sweet especial scene, Rural scene, a rural [...]

EASTER STORY: The Church Of The Washing Of The Feet, by Alan Paton

April 22, 2017

From Ah, But Your Land Is Beautiful The Reverend Isaiah Buti, pastor of the Holy Chuch of Zion in Bochabela, entered the room of the acting chief justice, if not with awe, then certainly with deference.  And certainly with respect too, for not only did Judge Olivier occupy one of the highest seats in the land, but he was held in high esteem by the black people of Bloemfontein.  Was he not the man who had tried to prevent Parliament from removing colored voters from the common roll? The room was the biggest Mr. Buti had seen in his life.  The table was also the biggest he had seen, and behind it was a grand carved chair, and behind the chair, portraits of those who had been chief justices of the Union of South Africa.  And now from the [...]

BLESSING: To Learn From Animal Being, by John O’Donohue

April 21, 2017

From: To Bless the Space Between Us Nearer to the earth’s heart, Deeper within its silence: Animals know this world In a way we never will. We who are ever Distanced and distracted By the parade of bright Windows thought opens: Their seamless presence Is not fractured thus. Stranded between time Gone and time emerging, We manage seldom To be where we are: Whereas they are always Looking out from The here and now. May we learn to return And rest in the beauty Of animal being, Learn to lean low, Leave our locked minds, And with freed senses Feel the earth Breathing with us. May we enter Into lightness of spirit, And slip frequently into The feel of the wild. Let the clear silence Of our animal being Cleanse our hearts Of corrosive words. [...]

POETRY: Sabbath Poem X, 1979, by Wendell Berry

April 5, 2017

Whatever is foreseen in joy Must be lived out from day to day. Vision held open in the dark By our ten thousand days of work. Harvest will fill the barn; for that The hand must ache, the face must sweat. And yet no leaf or grain is filled By work of ours; the field is tilled And left to grace. That we may reap, Great work is done while we’re asleep. When we work well, a Sabbath mood Rests on our day, and finds it [...]

POETRY: Spring Forward, by Abigail Carroll

March 29, 2017

The crocuses have nudged themselves up through the snow, have opened, never are opening, always daring, Ephemeral prophets, first of the sun’s spring projects, purple- throated chorus of will-have-beens— year after year, their oracles outlast them. Cold’s empire has not yet been undone, but the cardinals have begun to loudly declare its undoing, which is as good as the thing itself, as good as the gutters’ wild running, the spilling of rain down the tar-slick roof, the filling and pooling, the annual re-schooling of earth in the vernal properties of water. A bud both is and is not a flower: furled flag, curled-up tongue of summer, envelope of fire— What is this world but a seed of desire some dream-bent farmer sowed [...]

LENT: Final Sanity, by Phyllis Tickle

March 14, 2017

From: Wisdom in the Waiting: Spring’s Sacred Days The forty penitential weekdays and six Sundays that follow Mardi Gras and precede Easter are the days of greatest calm in the church’s year.  Since by long centuries of custom the date of Easter is annually determined from the first Sunday after the full moon on or after March 21, the intertwining of physical and spiritual seasons is virtually inevitable.  The resulting union of deep winter and holy preparation makes reflection, even penitence, a natural activity. One night years ago, toward the end of winter, there was a storm, a cold front shifting suddenly and dropping onto us with ferocity and winds that bent down the pine trees along the fence line.  Sometime after I [...]

POETRY: The Beautiful, Striped Sparrow by Mary Oliver

February 27, 2017

In the afternoons, in the almost empty fields, I hum the hymns I used to sing in church. They could not tame me, so they would not keep me, alas, and how that feels, the weight of it, I will not tell any of you, not ever. Still, as they promised, God, once he is in your heart, is everywhere— so even here among the weeds and the brisk trees. How long does it take to hum a hymn? Strolling one or two acres of the sweetness or the world, not counting a lapse, now and again, of sheer emptiness. Once a deer stood quietly at my side. And sometimes the wind has touched my cheek like a spirit. Am I lonely? The beautiful, striped sparrow, serenely, on the tallest weed in his kingdom, also sings without [...]

POETRY: Dawn Walks In Blue And Diamonds by Franz Wright

February 10, 2017

Dawn walks in blue and diamonds in robes of darkest grain wind-parted ☆ Sleeping she looked like a river Like a river at dawn, silver sliver of moon, wind in poplars, flickering of a candle that grows imperceptibly taller as it burns Manacled girl naked surrounded by flames, gigantic rose of painless fire— ☆ Now I have passed through voice and fire could I be cleansed of all desire, I don’t think so Icon: cold gold telepathic eyes ☆ Sacrament of metaphor, sacrament of matter ☆ Aren’t stars almost in your vicinity It was only the barest beginning starward- bound, only the March branches, only the first gifts of the first awakening waiting forever to be born… ☆ Dawn walked in blue and diamonds. [...]

POETRY: In The Beginning by Dylan Thomas

December 21, 2016

In the beginning was the three-pointed star, One smile of light across the empty face; One bough of bone across the rooting air, The substance forked that marrowed the first sun; And, burning ciphers on the round of space, Heaven and hell mixed as they spun. In the beginning was the pale signature, Three-syllabled and starry as the smile; And after came the imprints on the water, Stamp of the minted face upon the moon; The blood that touched the crosstree and the grail Touched the first cloud and left a sign. In the beginning was the mounting fire That set alight the weathers from a spark, A three-eyed, red-eyed spark, blunt as a flower; Life rose and spouted from the rolling seas, Burst in the roots, pumped from the earth and rock The [...]

POETRY: Rinsed With Gold, Endless, Walking The Fields by Robert Siegel

November 30, 2016

Let this day’s air praise the Lord— Rinsed with gold, endless, walking the fields, Blue and bearing the clouds like censers, Holding the sun like a single note Running through all things, a basso profundo Rousing the birds to an endless chorus. Let the river throw itself down before him, The rapids laugh and flash with his praise, Let the lake tremble about its edges And gather itself in one clear thought To mirror the heavens and the reckless gulls That swoop and rise on its glittering shores. Let the lawn burn continually before him A green flame, and the tree’s shadow Sweep over it like the baton of a conductor, Let winds hug the housecorners and woodsmoke Sweeten the world with her invisible dress, Let the cricket wind [...]

REVELATION: All Things New by Douglas D. Webster

November 28, 2016

From Follow the Lamb: A Pastoral Approach to The Revelation Then I saw a new Heaven and a new Earth, for the first Heaven and Earth had ceased to exist, and the sea existed no more. And I saw the holy city—the new Jerusalem—descending out of Heaven from God, made ready like a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying: “Look! The residence of God is among human beings. He will live among them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death will not exist anymore—or mourning, or crying, or pain, for the former things have ceased to exist.” And the one seated on the throne said: “Look! I am making all things new!” Then [...]

PRAYER: Affirmation of Faith—New Creation

November 28, 2016

From Thirdspace We believe that God creates all things, renews all things and celebrates over creation. We believe Earth is a precious sanctuary, a sacred planet filled with God’s presence, a home for us to share and to care for. We believe that God became fully human, became a part of Earth, shared family life, and celebrated with friends and community; suffered and died on a cross for all humanity and for all creation. We believe that the risen Jesus is the Christ at the center of creation reconciling all things to God, renewing all creation and filling the cosmos. We believe the Spirit renews life in creation, groans in empathy with a suffering creation, and waits with us for the renewal of creation. We believe that with the Cosmic [...]

POETRY: The Rat Of Faith, by Philip Levine

October 26, 2016

A blue jay poses on a stake meant to support an apple tree newly planted. A strong wind on this clear cold morning barely ruffles his tail feathers. When he turns his attention toward me, I face his eyes without blinking. A week ago my wife called me to come see this same bird chase a rat into the thick leaves of an orange tree. We came as close as we could and watched the rat dig his way into an orange, claws working meticulously. Then he feasted, face deep into the meal, and afterwards washed himself in juice, paws scrubbing soberly. Surprised by the whiteness of the belly, how open it was and vulnerable, I suggested I fetch my .22. She said, “Do you want to kill him?” I didn’t. There are oranges enough for him, the [...]

POETRY: October by Louise Glück

October 14, 2016

1. Is it winter again, is it cold again, didn’t Frank just slip on the ice, didn’t he heal, weren’t the spring seeds planted didn’t the night end, didn’t the melting ice flood the narrow gutters wasn’t my body rescued, wasn’t it safe didn’t the scar form, invisible above the injury terror and cold, didn’t they just end, wasn’t the back garden harrowed and planted– I remember how the earth felt, red and dense, in stiff rows, weren’t the seeds planted, didn’t vines climb the south wall I can’t hear your voice for the wind’s cries, whistling over the bare ground I no longer care what sound it makes when was I silenced, when did it first seem pointless to describe that sound what it sounds like can’t change [...]