Earth Vespers Evening Prayer Service

Opening Song: For the Wholeness of the Earth, by Bret Hesla

Opening Prayer: Something that introduces the topic of Earth Care and gives thanks for the beauty of creation. Create your own, or find one. Here’s an idea:

Evening Prayer, by John Philip Newell

In the infinity of night skies
In the free flashing of lightning
In whirling elemental winds
You are God.
In the impenetrable mists of dark clouds
In the wild gusts of lashing rain
In the ageless rocks of the sea
You are God and we bless you.
You are in all things and contained by nothing.
You are the Life of all life and beyond every name.
You are God and in the eternal mystery we praise you.

Readings: Choose two or more readings, one scripture and one contemporary poem. Some ideas (see credits for sources):
Scripture: Job 12:7-10

  • When I Am Among the Trees, by Mary Oliver, or
  • The Peace of Wild Things, by Wendell Berry

Song: Teach Us To Discover by Richard Bruxvoort Colligan

Current News: Gather text for a few current news items on climate change or alternative energy or other eco-topic. Some short excerpts, others longer. Have two or more people alternate reading. Follow this with a short time of silent reflection.

Prayers: Teach the short refrain, Bring Healing To Our Lives by Richard Bruxvoort Colligan. Then alternate the singing with reading its companion prayers (see same link above) or create similar with earth focus

Afterward, open it up to a time of People’s Prayers, saying simply, “For what else do the people pray?”

Closing Song: Evening is Falling, by Bret Hesla

Dismiss: Go in peace. Love our planet home. | Thanks be to God.


Support documents:
Song Links: The above songs, with leadsheets, chords, mp3s and piano parts, can be found in Singing Prayers for the Earth: thirty-one songs, hymns and short refrains addressing the climate crisis of ecology and justice. © 2017 Bret Hesla and Richard Bruxvoort Colligan.

Readings and other resources:

  • When I Am Among the Trees, by Mary Oliver from Thirst, © Beacon Press, 2006.
  • The Peace of Wild Things, by Wendell Berry. from The Peace of Wild Things, and Other Poems, © Penguin, 2018.
  • Evening Prayer, by John Philip Newell, from Celtic Benediction, © William B. Eerdman, 2000.  

Credits: Thanks to Mary Preus, from the Community of St. Martin in Minneapolis, for putting this service together. Evening Prayer, by John Philip Newell, from Celtic Benediction, © William B. Eerdman, 2000. Reprinted with permission.