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Hymn Poem – God the Sustainer

(To go with Exodus 33:12-23 Matthew 22:15-22) Meter 11 10 11 10 – Was Lebet, Was Schwebet [Brightest and best…] CH4 327 or CH4 634

Downloadable PDF below

1) God the Sustainer is God who embraces

weaves and connects all that’s known and obscure;

Seas and the skies suffer human injustice:

Earth shares a voice with the downtrodden poor.

2) God in Christ Jesus speaks love full of warning:

counsels we build on the rock, not on sand

teaches alertness and wide-awake walking

faith is God’s gift for the good of the land.

3) Kingdoms will suffer from violent corruption –

Even the Kingdom of Heaven itself 

Earth, God’s Creation, is balanced in beauty:

fragile, our friend, needing care for good health .

4) Nothing we do, say, or pray is irrelevant:

neither to neighbours next door, nor afar.

God’s is the glory that’s known in Earth’s goodness

Empires do fall, when such truth they ignore.

Pentecost opening prayer

(A variant of the prayer used in Iona Abbey in 2022 when Pentecost was also the start of Wildlife Week AND St Columba’s Day )

Prayer of Approach and Confession 

Irrepressible God, incarnate in the Earth 

Made Flesh, through love, 

and sharing thus,  in Christ 

all we, too,  share 

with birds and beasts and green things.

On this Day of Celebration

when Church is born to rejoice 

in diversity;

On this Day of Wonder, building with gratitude 

on the customs and wisdom of many peoples;

On this Day of Sabbath, 

when Earth needs rest and healing;

On this Day

We praise you, with all that breathes:

The Earth and all whose home Earth is.   

And yet this day,

our way of life pays wayward court to other gods:

to profit, domination, endless growth, 

disrupting cycles you built in 

to the World you gave your Son for;

By choice,

We are addicted to injustice,  

and even when we see the need for change

we spout delay in place of wisdom,

and blame the poor,  or sow despair 

when hope and rapid change bring healing.

Ever and again we build on sand

knowing that the flood is on the way.    

So, on this Day

may we breathe a liberating  Air 

fearless of how it might look

to live as those forgiven,  healed, set free

from what we need carry no longer. 

God, Christ and Spirit;
eager to welcome all who are lost;

where damage is done
by choice or neglect
repurpose your compassion


Kyrie ( where customary sung)

Declaration of Forgiveness 

God of Good Earth, 

who, in Christ, forgives

before we get things right:

Show us our place and purpose 

through the friendship of Christ 

sharing flesh with all life. 

And getting on with it!


2023 Week 1: September 3rd


Moses  (Exodus 3) takes notice of God-given pointers to remediable injustice despite the strong demands of everyday work and commitments. But the tasks from the midst of which he’s called are not irrelevant: the ‘pastoral’ obligations which prepare him for leadership.  Each of us, and each congregation, has gifts. Our particular prayers and action as followers of Christ are God’s gift to the Earth.

Jeremiah  (15) reflects grimly on the personal cost  and  yet the purposefulness of responding, even where change seems beyond his own resources.  In Romans (12), we find Paul in the midst of the necessary building of community, equipping the church with a powerfully counter-cultural love for all whom God makes and calls – repurposing our  instincts for hatred and revenge  not by passivity, but ‘overcoming evil with good’.  A world in climate crisis is one in which every conflict hurts every creature.  And yet Jesus’ determination to confront evil on the Cross ( Matt 16) forces us to reflect on the even more terrifying cost of ignoring the signs of our times, in the illusion that pursuing a quiet safe life in the status quo will make it all go away. The makers of  gothic horror films would despair at this technical  Biblical identification of “satanic” with seeking a quiet, safe life. Maybe that’s the scariest of all. Dare you use that language when faced with denial and misinformation?