Net Zero comes in all sorts of sometimes quite scarily stringent versions ( Scope 1, 2, and 3) with the ambition to emit no more in terms of greenhouse gas or equivalents from our activities than we also ensure is removed, is an ambition so great that to do it any justice at all, we need to consider all aspects of our life and work. Not merely to make life hard – because life is already hard for those people and creatures already suffering from effects of the climate crisis – but to make life better, healthier, holier. If the City of Glasgow can offer wildflower meadow as part of their own campaign, what beauty can we offer? This written prayer, the adaptation or quoting of which is warmly encouraged, if offered as a step to help the campaigns be seen as a positive response of faith, rather than boring or slavish capitulation to secular targets. [Downloadable PDF here, and under it, the text which can simply be copied and pasted ]
Use with John 5, making sure you use versions which include the ancient, though not universally transmitted words about the angel who ‘troubled’ the waters, leading to healing. If it’s too long a sing, omit verse 2.
A few ‘stilling videos’ to begin worship or parts of worship, either online of in person.
In gratitude to Forest Church, where the idea seems to have originated.
*Running time 2 mins 20s or less.
Come back to this page to see further additions throughout the summer and beyond.
Titles so far: “On the rocks” ( seabird colony) “Seapink” (robust flowers by seashore) “Wind in the branches” (the relationship between trees and wind) “Arrochar Alps” (from a walk up Ben Vane). “Castlerigg” -( at the exceptionally located stone circle in northern England) “Major Oak and Dandelion” the different scales and timescales of plants that share a habitat )
The mountain: not getting there, but getting there https://vimeo.com/670372075
You have been my refuge https://vimeo.com/667249030
Epilogue – the valley of the shadow https://vimeo.com/655927450
The mystery Bible character (for the URC General Assembly) 12 mins 37 many locations https://youtu.be/_v3hx9hYhZQ and https://vimeo.com/664217421
Royal Presence: Bees! 9 mins 50 ( a visit to a beekeeper at work) https://youtu.be/TQV9QWqwjgc
Heart Wood – walking round an area of ancient woodland, Music, no commentary 8min 27
The Great Wee Hill ( Hill of the Angels Iona) 6 mins 45 https://youtu.be/2PdpHtBegOs
The Bad judge ( sketch based on James 2) 5 mins 30 https://youtu.be/_nTjt6UsTvM
Mungo: Forest in the Temple:14 mins 46 ( Glasgow Cathedral at the tomb of Mungo, and many other locations: looking to COP and being inspired by the stories of Glasgow’s patron saint) https://youtu.be/jJ1q3WuOD-Y
Talks for gatherings :
The mystery Bible character (for the URC General Assembly) 12 mins 37 many locations https://youtu.be/_v3hx9hYhZQ
Address for National Synod of Scotland 23 mins https://youtu.be/FAxefc7GNiM
Interview on ‘Reflections at the Quay’ https://youtu.be/hwMImoZ8ELA
If not, why on Earth not? https://youtu.be/iCs3DR4VDDA 13min 05
Climate emergency How to respond : For Aberdeen churches: https://youtu.be/vLqlXSVVJJI
The Happy Apocalyptic ( for Wildlife week, Iona) https://youtu.be/QTuPw83Me-A
Malvern Progressive Christian Network 18 mins https://youtu.be/AvhrNBkNlGA
A fixed camera record , at Castlemilk, of the neglected question about Matthew 10:16
Times & Seasons
Season of Creation year A
Week 2 https://youtu.be/1H6a9c6zNxE
Week 3 https://youtu.be/1ZgoFRYfyWw
Week 4 https://youtu.be/SxOsZKrwBkg
Season of Creation year B:
Week 1 The Earth, including Us https://youtu.be/wG65QWcLnoo
Week 2 Creation Speaks God’s language https://youtu.be/-gOTP8edXRc
Week 3 The tree and their fruit https://youtu.be/V8zFgbmDwBM
Week 4 The Obstacle Course https://youtu.be/jHR6sRC-Mi4
Week 5 the gift of the Name https://youtu.be/7AgGEcIt9DU
Mark 13, for Advent 1B : https://youtu.be/40AbS_DOiF4
Ash Wednesday from a heap of Ash https://youtu.be/3hsqdlgZdVk
Lent 1 C ‘A land possessed ( Location: Five sisters Bing (industrial waste tip) https://vimeo.com/676935225
Lent 2C as transfiguration https://vimeo.com/673271625
Lent 3 C: ‘Blazing’ ( Location: Cadzow ancient oaks) https://youtu.be/TGd5-vhxd8A AND https://vimeo.com/677594550
Lent 4C circle of justice https://vimeo.com/681938533
Lent 5C Divesting from despair Ben Lomond https://vimeo.com/697347648
Lent 1B Complete service https://youtu.be/UVFAGrOjf3w
Lent 1B from Greendykes Bing https://youtu.be/YnCPgifuXLo
Lent 2B Standing up to the devil’s Advocate https://youtu.be/F8At_TU0Ldg
Lent 3B Zeal for your house https://youtu.be/jrMVev3LWAk
Lent 5B John 12:20-33 The Tipping point https://youtu.be/kRn8JvNh9hQ
Mothering Sunday: Flowers for Mother Earth https://youtu.be/hE-fei6kZLA 13 mins 07
Having worked towards a church visit on Lent 4/Mothering Sunday, the UK went into semi-emergency mode. The reflections in preparation come together in this video. This is also presented in three parts, as sermons cover a lot of ground. Taking cue from Laudato Si
Good Friday :Dream of the Rood: for devotional use on Good Friday: 15 min 20 Aa reading and consideration of the Anglo-Saxon Poem quoted on the Ruthwell Cross.
Palm Sunday – from Edinburgh Episcopal Cathedral https://youtu.be/n1kV1aAp9wM
Palm Sunday -From a deserted Edinburgh City Centre https://youtu.be/lBQ_8T-dM0o
11 min 8
Palm Sunday: Pavestones Gravestones: the stones shout aloud! Luke 19:40
https://youtu.be/GTlUAhXNpcQ 3 mins 11
Maundy Thursday: John 13 Footwashing reflection, for Annual Gathering, with introduction
https://youtu.be/aiIVKcKabjY 6 min 16:
also without introduction https://youtu.be/UgqYCAd3yX0 4 min 08
Easter Sunday 2020 – no holds barred Easter Sermon https://youtu.be/vDgrSXgJMK4 13 mins 25
Easter Sunday 2021 The Inclusive Commission https://youtu.be/-t48xMOX_q0
Easter Sunday 2022 Risen High, Risen Low ( St Margaret’s Chapel and St Filan’s Cave) https://vimeo.com/697347648
Pentecost 2020 https://youtu.be/zspRpFqstPY 10 mins 26
Pentecost Projection art on Colonsay (also for BIAPT) https://youtu.be/20e3z-kBCAM
Pentecost Turbine https://youtu.be/l3w8yZjm9sk
Late Harvest : reflections on a “plentiful” – or a daunting – harvest https://youtu.be/9ZAlzvQKUhE 6 min 53
Emmaus- Luke 24: a sermon on wheels -riding the distance walked in that wonderful conversation. The walk to Emmaus, against the background of lockdown in the city of Edinburgh. One outing per day permitted for mental and physical health…. but what about spiritual wellbeing? – And could this be a pligrimage?
https://youtu.be/Ou_Cy3lg7-g 8 mins 02
Lockdown Gospel – if the disciples had used Zoom whilst waiting for the resurrection.
(-Gospel of John version of gift of Spirit) https://youtu.be/fP8MktgP7go
8 min 44
Ezekiel 37 : Indecent Hope 11min 57
Words and pictures and more, for the final week of Lent, and the scariest story of the Old Testament https://youtu.be/vOh2QD_PmIw
Sermons by Gospel content
Matthew 11: 16-19, 25-30 and Zechariah 9:9-12 Weeping and Dancing https://youtu.be/47fPz00rk4M 12 mins 41
Matthew 25: Recycling the sheep and the goats https://youtu.be/z5TYVB-mY34
Mark 1: 14-20 – Discipleship https://youtu.be/mXmplBGD7Ow
Mark 1:21-28 1` Cor 8:1-13 Knowing enough to get on with it https://youtu.be/FOjrbk7lWyM
Mark 4:26-34 Holy Habitats ( Cedar and Mustard Bush, Ezekiel Ezekiel 17:22-24 Mark 4:26-34 https://youtu.be/nz57186bZI8
Mark 5: 21: Mess and miracle https://youtu.be/iETzlSamRQE
Mark 10: Proper 24 yr B: Job 38, No fire without smoke https://youtu.be/08hXqcpKdO8
Mark 13, for Advent 1B : https://youtu.be/40AbS_DOiF4
Luke 13: 6-9 with Isaiah 55:6-13 “Manure for fruitful trees”. https://youtu.be/RlH_0AZj-UY
John 10:10 – led, not force-fed :8 min 57
Reflection for EcoChaplaincy on John 10:10: a highly provocative ‘cuddly story’.
Acts 17: Capital Games Thoughts on Acts 17, for an online retreat with a local church.
https://youtu.be/b4ME5jQvlGs 9 min 59
Acts 10 1 Kings 4 More wisdom than you can shake a stick at ( Solomon and Jesus)
Genesis 22 Cross that bridge where we come to it: a bike ride across the Forth Road Bridge whilst reflecting on Abraham and Isaac https://youtu.be/XAjzFaRE7U4 9 mins 53
Matthew 9:35-10:23 and Romans 5:1-8 No holds Ba’ad – fear and Christian Character https://youtu.be/y5sAjUA63Vw 10 mins 53
Romans 8 : Groaning Creation: getting out of our Depth
https://youtu.be/nFEE_qw-gNA 9 min
Matthew 20: workers in the vineyard : Beyond Harvest Sermon for Costorphine, delivered on location. https://youtu.be/gjdR3Zd5sp4 15 min 17
O the life of the world https://youtu.be/YBq4nNIK22o
What will change your life’s direction https://youtu.be/XbyWVDdIyn4
From the waters’ fond embrace https://youtu.be/j3NqhCZ2g1M
Now Christ lives here https://youtu.be/xG5XE7qxFz8
( to ‘Courage, brother) https://youtu.be/p7SLOxOR2J0
Our legacy is dire https://youtu.be/JzEwGMvjVS0
One day I said sorry out loud to the Earth https://youtu.be/cKA8PvX86YA
Deep our longing ( Westminster Abbey) https://youtu.be/ljdOzsMQ50A
For those traditions where there is scope for text variation in the Communion prayers:
-Taking note of the great Commission of Mark 16, and the multiple rebukes given by the Risen Christ, which authenticate, in character, that the Risen one shares the identity of Jesus of Nazareth who was killed and buried. Known in the breaking of bread – and in the love with which Christ speaks out!
An environmental chaplain treads a tightrope. On the face of it I seem to work with enviable freedom: I can take or leave the various invitations which trickle in.
For some, my presence would be merely ornamental. Or just filling a gap. (They don’t get priority. – or if I do go along, they’re liable to get a green wolf in sheep’s clothing ).
Some genuinely wish to listen, and some like to think they do. I take this at face value. Both of those score higher on allocating diary slots. There are things I wish to say and those I might aspire to wish to. And plenty I need to hear, too. Over and above the terrifying news I hear each day about the state of health of the Earth. Stories of local congregations’ green initiatives bring a healing balance.
But as to what I can bring: my hands are tied by global circumstance. By the searing experience of COP at close quarters, and by the repeatedly alarming announcements from the UN. I can’t make these things unsaid, unhappened. And the knowledge that the Ukraine war, blotting out climate concerns, is both a symptom of ‘our addiction to fossil fuels’ [Admiral McGann, US Navy] and a cause of even greater damage and danger to the environment. The climate crisis gets worse, not better, when we look away. And though I may be somewhat less in danger of being hung drawn and quartered for saying what I have to say, nonetheless. “Here I stand. I cannot do otherwise. God help me. Amen.” [said Martin Luther, reputedly, on trial for heresy, 501 years ago ].
I hope I’m lacking Luther’s obsession with his own guilt and unworthiness, but I know enough to know that I’m a long way from being a great example of a life lived green. But as with others, doing what I can is a start. And that means, as far as possible, ‘zero waste’ of the resource that the chaplaincy has become for the churches of Scotland. My time is not my own, in that sense.
Few invited visitors to a church will ever have been bearers of such terrifying news, which has, over the time I’ve been in post, become progressively more terrifying, with the authority of 99% of peer-reviewed climate science and the notoriously cautious and diplomatic United Nations to back up that sense of urgency so counter-cultural to the churches I’ve grown up with. Where ‘slow us down, Lord’ takes precedence over ‘Hosanna’ (God, HELP!) or ‘Lord, come quickly!’.
Colleagues have told me they couldn’t dare put it that clearly, or bluntly, and with twenty plus years of the extreme pressures to which local Christian leaders are subjected by those who also support and encourage their ministry, I have understanding. I have very great sympathy.
Could or would I have said as a local pastor, with Mr or Ms X in the congregation, what I feel compelled to say as a visitor? For I’m at least notionally in conflict with something very different from opposition to Christianity as such: rather with the culture of unrecycled wisdom and faithfulness to which love, loyalty and respect is quite reasonably due.
And there is conscientious expertise, hard-won by those into whose specialisms I might at most have dipped a toe. How to run the money. What hymns are The Hymns of The Faith. What a host may impose own their guests (as in Fair trade and recycling, for instance). What is too holy to be green? (-nothing, actually-) What constitutes well-run church grounds: is it a tidy monoculture, or a bee-welcoming mini-meadow? What Scriptures go with which situation: which are to be dutifully read and ignored ( because, perhaps, they’re too wild and scary) and which, shorn of their grounding in the Earth, are being marshalled to prop up a status quo with might well seem all we have left after two centuries or so of decline.
And yet even the quietly and comfortingly accepted narrative of the church’s eventual fading away is threatened. We’re neither dead nor useless: we are custodians of treasure, even if we keep it in glass cases, or overlaid by well-meaning habits of translation and performance.
Resurrection is the ultimate recycling and repurposing; sweeping us along too, with a Saviour who is recognised not just in the breaking of bread, but in the ‘Get on with it’ rebukes of the Risen Christ, acting in character with all the warnings. The Good News that we are warned. The Good News that we can change. The Good News -for all Creation- that, with Christ, despair is not a story to live by.