Welcome 

Every year, Christians around the world and across denominations commit the month of September as a season to celebrate God’s beautiful Earth and renew our shared commitment to preserving and restoring that beauty. 

During the Season of Creation we unite as followers of Jesus, celebrating the bonds we share with each other and with “every living creature on Earth.” Together Christians celebrate the season by spending time in prayer, considering ways to inhabit our common home sustainably, and lifting our voices in the public sphere.

Together we join together in thanksgiving and lament as we pray for a restoring of right relationship with God and all of creation as we confront the reality of the systems we live in where profit is put before caring for creation, economy before protecting the health of our live-sustaining ecosystems, and politics before love for our neighbours.

SAFE CHURCH STATEMENT  

At Engadine Uniting we believe all people are created lovingly and wonderfully in the image of God, and we welcome everyone regardless of race, age, ability,  sexuality and gender.

As a Christian Community we believe that God reaches out to us in love and acceptance and that our relationships with each other should express love and respect.

Wherever you are on your spiritual journey, wherever you’ve come from, wherever you’re going, whatever is in your heart – you are welcome here.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT OF COUNTRY 

From before recorded time, the Dharawal people cared for this Land. We praise the Creator for the beauty of this Land and honour those who have cared for it.

We acknowledge the Elders and community members who have told the sacred stories and nurtured faithfulness to the Creator.

We ask God’s blessing on those who continue to work for the healing and restoration of this Land and Her Communities.

People: You set humanity at the heart of your creation, O God; charging us with stewardship of all you have made. We give thanks for those who have heeded your call.

LIGHTING OF THE CANDLE (This candle brings light into the dark as the stars light up the skies at night, revealing the beauty and wonder of our Creator God, and the beauty and wonder of the whole of creation, the beauty and wonder of humankind!

CALL TO WORSHIP 

Let us focus on the glory of God and hear the call to worship as we experience a morning in the Australian Bush 3.04  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M2urR_Y1ahM

Season of Creation Prayer

Creator of All, From your communion of love your Word went forth to create a symphony of life that sings your praise. By your Holy Wisdom you made the Earth to bring forth a diversity of creatures who praise you in their being. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge.

You called human beings to till and keep your garden. You placed us into right relationships with each creature so that we could listen to their voices and learn how to safeguard the conditions for life. But we turn in on ourselves and away from our co-creatures. We close our ears to the counsel of our fellow creatures.

We fail to listen to the cries of the poor and the needs of the most vulnerable. We silence the voices of those who hold the traditions that teach us to care for the Earth. We close our ears to your creative, reconciling and sustaining Word.

We lament the loss of our fellow species and their habitats that will never speak again. We grieve the loss of human cultures, along with the lives and livelihoods that have been displaced or perished. Creation cries out as forests crackle, and animals alike flee the fires of injustice that we have lit by our unwillingness to listen.

In this Season of Creation, we pray that you would call to us, as from the burning bush, with the sustaining fire of your Spirit. Breathe upon us. Open our ears and move our hearts. Turn us from our inward gaze. Teach us to contemplate your creation, and listen for the voice of each creature declaring your glory. For “faith comes from hearing.”

Give us hearts to listen for the good news of your promise to renew the face of the Earth. Enlighten us with the grace to follow the Way of Christ as we learn to walk lightly upon this holy ground. Fill us with the hope to quench the fires of injustice with the light of your healing love that sustains our common home. In the name of the One who came to proclaim good news to all creation, Jesus Christ. Amen.

In a spirit of humility and repentance, let us praise the God of creation with a familiar song and some Australian examples:

Hymn: ‘All Things Bright and Beautiful

All things bright and beautiful,

all creatures great and small,

all things ‘Wise and wonderful –

the Lord God made them all.

The wildflowers in their beauty,

the mountain ranges tall,

the billabongs and rivers,

and friendly birds that call,

(chorus)

The cold wind in the winter,

the bright, life-giving sun,

the ripe fruits in the garden

God made them every one

(chorus)

The coloured walls of gorges,

the gum trees green and tall,

the rocks, and pools, and palm trees,

the sparkling waterfall,

(chorus)

The many-coloured corals,

the creatures of the sea,

of bushland, field or desert,

on farms, or roaming free,

(chorus)

God gave us eyes to see them,

and lips that we might tell

how great is God Almighty

who has made all things well.

(chorus)

Cecil Frances Alexander 1818-95, Brian Black 1926- ,Used by permission

Blessing of the pets  (slide show with pet photos that were contributed by the congregation)

One: Loving God, all life comes from you: the growth in the garden, the people whom we love, and the pets who are our friends;

All: With all our heart, we thank you God

One: For the blessing of a dog’s wagging tail in welcome, a cat curled up on our lap, the curiosity of a chook or magpie or Guinea pig, for the delight of any animal companion in times of play, through moments of anxiety, and in the companionship of passing years; 

All: With all our heart, we thank you God

One: O God, smile on our hearts when we are saddened by the loss of our beloved pets; comfort those who are grieving the loss of their animal companion and help us all to remember the blessings of these special friendships gifted by you;

All: With all our heart, we thank you God

One: And for all pets both now and in the future, we pray that they and their human families experience joy and companionship together, and continue to be a blessing to each other. 

All: With all our hearts, we thank you God. Amen.

AUSTRALIAN CONSERVATION – WILD AT ART (the ACF page with all the art is here)

Last year, over 3000 children picked up their paint brushes and pens to help raise awareness of Australia’s threatened plants and animals through the Australian Conservation Foundation’s Wild at Art competition. The result was a tapestry of pieces and here are a tiny handful of the 100 finalists over several categories.  

‘Golden Numbat’ by Kaia, age 9  The numbat is the animal emblem of West Australia. There are less than 1,000 numbats left in West Australia and they are endangered! My numbat is holding a triangle. In the orchestra the triangle can be heard above all the other instruments. All endangered numbats need to be heard to be protected.

Wedge Tailed Eagle’ by Lilly, age 11 I chose the Tasmanian Wedge Tailed Eagle because I would hate to see these beautiful birds become extinct due to the careless acts of humans, such as: collision with (power lines), being hunted by humans, and the disturbance of their nests. In my painting I have put the threats in the background but the eagle still stands strong and beautiful.”

‘Patterns of Carnaby’s Cockatoo’ by Connor, age 10 Earlier in the week, I saw a large flock of black cockatoos outside our house. although I did not immediately fall in love with the animal. I chose the Carnaby’s Cockatoo for this artwork The branches in my drawing are bare of leaves as these cockatoos are threatened due to urban development limiting their food source. Doing this drawing made me now love these beautiful animals.”

‘Jewel of Our Natural Heritage’ by Prana, age 10 Nature is undoubtedly the best artist, when I saw Phaius australis the first time I was mesmerised with its natural beauty and decided to contribute towards saving this beautiful plant. An illegal collection of plants and loss of habitat are its biggest threats. Other significant threats to this species include fire, draining of habitat for housing and related infra-structure, sand mining, peat mining and agriculture.”

‘Grassland Earless Dragon in Canberra’ by Joshua, age 10 “The Grassland Earless Dragon is supposed to be in NSW, ACT and Victoria but the population is getting smaller (so) grasslands, where these wonders live, must be protected. The reason I chose this living wonder is because of the fact that there are so little of them left in the wild, which really makes me depressed. After all these years, the fate of these Grassland Earless Dragons are in our hands. 

And an environmental hero award went to Hunter, aged 7, who also produced this artwork made of marine litter which he called ‘Trashy turtles’.  Hunter collects rubbish from the beach and local parks every week. The rubbish on his picture has all been collected from parks, water reserves, and surrounding beaches The turtle eggs are Styrofoam balls that took Hunter 7hours to collect from the marina: he picked up over 3000 in total. Hunter has autism and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder which I think heightens his passion for the ocean and marine life. His picture is about making people aware of the rubbish in our ocean and the effect it’s causing our turtles and marine life. Hunter has collected 1000s of micro plastics, lots of beach rope, bottles, cans and helps out with sea shepherd beach cleans, #take3forthesea, and has even featured in tangaroa national magazine  Hunter is a very passionate, enthusiastic beach cleaning little warrior.”

PRAYER FOR FAUNA SUNDAY

Extinction

its happening every day

or so

they say

but what to do

and the black throated finch

catches our eye

as we wave her

goodbye

“Goodbye tiny wings

and shining beak”

we sigh

‘Oh what a pity, what a pity’

but

progress boys

and so we dig

and dig

and dig

Biodiversity decline and loss of ecosystem services is a major global threat to the future of our planet and our generations.

and its happening everyday

or so

they say.

O Jesus,

O Jesus Christ

who considered the lily in the field

and the sparrow

all a-hop

wake us up to our loss

that we may rise like sleeping lions

and leap out

to defend

the ones that still remain.

O God

summer is coming,

I can smell the smoke already

Run wombat run.

Will we get the bird baths ready early this year?

will we,

maybe,

even,

decide to stop eating

so many animals,

( apparently everything is connected )

or so they say

and so we pray

that we may see

the truth

of what we

be

no more this species

or that

but all souls together, Amen

Prayer 

God of all creation, you have loved this, our ancient land, long before humans knew it existed or explored it. We thank you for the diversity of the country and its people. We thank you for the first Australians who know and love this continent with an intimate and profound sensitivity. We pray for the young people whose wonderful artwork we have seen today and whose inspiring words have called us to action. May we be moved to act as stewards of the earth to protect habitat, minimise harm to our fellow creatures and to reduce pollution and address climate change. Amen.

SONG Beautiful song composed for Seasons of Creation by Mikali from Leichhardt congregation

Garden

BIBLE READINGS:  Genesis 1:1-14, Psalm 19 (Peter and Ross)

Sermonette –  Kathy

ACTIVITY – Origami – Birds/Butterflies 

SONG All creatures Lament 

All creatures of our God and King
Lift up your voices; let them ring
Fill the earth with lamentation!
Cry out abuses of our pow’r
Tell what we lose with every hour
To our greed and depredation
Lord, have mercy; Christ, have mercy
Lord, have mercy!

All creatures winging in the air
Cry out the failures of our care
Fill the sky with lamentation!
Shout through the clouds of smoke and ash
Choked with the fumes of poison gas
Tell us of our degradation
Lord, have mercy; Christ, have mercy
Lord, have mercy!

All creatures hidden in the seas
Lift up your anguished prayers and pleas
Fill the sea with lamentation!
Teach us to see your wonders now
Help us to make a holy vow
Here to halt your devastation
Lord, have mercy; Christ, have mercy
Lord, have mercy!

All creatures dwelling on the land
Join as we lift each heart and hand
Fill the world with lamentation!
Mourn the destruction of our home
Weep with the fear of worse to come
Hear the groans of all creation
Lord, have mercy; Christ, have mercy
Lord, have mercy!

OFFERTORY SENTENCE 

We cannot serve God and wealth.

We can, however, serve God with our wealth,

and do so with joyful generosity.

OFFERTORY PRAYER

God, we gladly share our wealth

for you and your way of love.

May our money meet those in need

to bring hope, healing, and peace.

Amen.

PRAYERS FOR OTHERS – Peter

COMMISSIONING AND BENEDICTION 

May we use the Earth’s treasures modestly and gratefully

May we plant thoughtfully, tend, harvest and give thanks,

May we swim in the rivers and oceans with wonder

May we regard the sky’s stars with awe

May we be warmed by the sun

May God who established the dance of creation,

Who marvelled at the lilies of the field, 

Who transforms chaos to order,

Lead us to transform our lives and the Church To listen to the voice of all creation

Let us go out in the world in the conviction that change is possible

May God bless you in your faithfulness,

And be with you and guide your path.

Amen.

Blessing Song ‘For you deep stillness’ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SpPLReD-Zuw