Submitted by Catherine Christie
(service found in Mandate, 2010, prepared by Miles Russell)
Greeting and Announcements
Call to Worship:
After the dormancy of winter,
new growth springs to life.
The birds return from their southern home.
Buds emerge on the trees as they discover again the warmth of the earth.
Crocuses and other early spring flowers begin to carpet the land as it throws off its wintry coating.
The creation awakens to the possibilities of spring.
Life shows itself in every corner of the earth.
God is our Creator, who continues to create in the rhythm of life we call the seasons.
Come let us worship. Come let us enter into the Spirit of God’s creative moments. Come let us sow the seeds of new life.
Hymn: For Beauty of Prairies VU 303
Opening Prayer (unison)
Gracious God, open our eyes that we may see the abundance of your creative love in all that surrounds and sustains us. Enable us to become people of hope and life, who plant the seeds of your earthly garden for the benefit of all. Help us to be gardeners and caregivers for the earth that is home for all life. Fill us with your gentle love, that we may walk tenderly on the earth, cooperating with your intention of abundant love and life. Amen.
Blessing of the Soil: (a bowl of soil is brought forward)
Farmer: O Lord, all the earth is yours. We bring before you this rich and living soil that you may bless it and our lands with abundant fertility
All: In the name of the Creator of heaven and earth, bless this living soil, that it may produce for those who respect and love it, food in abundance for birds, beasts and all people.
Let the heavens rejoice and let the earth be glad.
Let the field be joyful and all that is in it.
Blessing of the Farm Machinery:
This tractor, whose discer turns the soil, we bring before you, O Lord, that you may look with favour on all we do to cultivate the soil.
God most High, bless this tractor and all who work the soil. May the Lord open the heavens for us, his rich treasure house to give rain upon our land at the proper time, and bless every thing to which we turn our hand
(by Brendan O’Malley, from Celtic Blessings and Prayers)
Hymn: God Whose Farm is All Creation VU 300
Genesis 1:11–12 (creation of plants and seeds), Genesis 2: 7, 15
Psalm of Spring’s Coming
Each day I take delight, Creator God, as did my great grandparents, the earth creatures, Adam and Eve, enjoying the garden of Eden called earth, which each spring graciously grants an encore of your first act, creation. I stand and applaud with all earth’s audience and cry out with gratitude, “Again, again, please do it again”.
And you smile and return to centre stage to repeat the song you sang so long ago.
And blades of grass shoot up through crusted soil, as seductive flowers sway in the breeze and young, green leaves dance on the tips of twigs, while soft, gray clouds pour down liquid life to make all the earth come alive.
Like the primal parents of paradise, part of me longs to stand naked once again, stripped of the symbols of society which so easily separate me from my flesh, which is dust, and from my bone, which is stone, to once again walk in the cool of the garden in innocence with you, my God.
(By Edward Hays, from Prayers for a Planetary Pilgrim)
Matthew 13:31–32 (parable of the mustard seed)
John 12:24 (a grain falls into the ground and dies)
Blessing Prayer for a Garden
Lord of Creation, who planted Your own garden called Eden, come and bless this soil which is to be our garden.
All that dies becomes earth, and so it lives again. May this garden soil be both womb and tomb, a home for death and life, so that seeds of living things – of plants, of foods and flowers – may die and resurrect here in our garden.
Ancient earth, our mystical mother, teach us, your children that all things die to nourish life.
Gentle earth, be blessed with our love as we work in you. Make us mindful that one day you will be our final bed of love and ecstasy. Amen
(by Edward Hays, from Prayers for the Domestic Church)
Blessing Prayer for Seeds:
Seeds, pregnant with life, teach us the Easter secret of life, as we ask God to bless you.
Lord of all Life, who did hide Your Seed in all that lives, be present here as we greet these tiny seeds with their gifts of life.
Seeds of life – so small, and yet, in the mystery of death and burial, you will produce life tenfold and more.
We sprinkle you with water, sacred sign of life, asking that you may be embraced by our mother the earth, fed by rain and kissed gently by the sun.
In caring for you we shall experience the most ancient profession of the human family, the primal vocation of being workers in the garden. Soon you will be our pride and joy. Soon you will be our food as you give up your life that we may live.
(by Edward Hays, from Prayers for the Domestic Church)
Hymn: We Plough the Fields VU 520
Seeding Our Prayers
Receive these seeds, signs of the power you have to join with God as stewards of the earth, as people who plant in the soil of the earth and in the soil of our words and deeds.
Action in response:
Seeds are planted in small containers of earth (one for each person). As each seed is planted, the following responses are made one at a time:
1. We sow this seed in God’s good earth, trusting in the promise of hope.
2. We sow this seed in God’s good earth, trusting in the promise of abundant life for all.
3. We sow this seed in God’s good earth, trusting in the gift of life for all.
4. We sow this seed in God’s good earth, trusting in the possibility of compassion for all.
5. We sow this seed in God’s good earth, trusting in the assurance of faith that the dream of God is possible, for a creation that is blessed and named good.
6. We sow this seed in God’s good earth, praying for all who care for the land, for all who produce the food that feeds the earth.
7. We sow this seed in God’s good earth, praying for a just sharing of the abundance that is part of God’s creation.
8. We sow this seed in God’s good earth, praying that we would learn to walk gently on the earth and so preserve it for future generations.
After all seeds are planted, as offering dedication, conclude with the following: We offer the seeds of the earth and the seeds of our lives, that they might bring blessing to all the world. We pray in the name of Christ, who sowed the seeds of transforming love. Amen
Creed, VU p. 918
Hymn: Each Blade of Grass MV 37
May the blessing of God Almighty, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
be upon you and upon all who work upon the land, that all creation may glorify God’s name. Amen