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Call to Worship
In the name of the Creator, who colours the sky,
the name of Jesus, who died under dark skies,
and the name of the Spirit, the wind in the sky.
ALL: Holy! Holy! Holy! Sky is filled with God’s presence.
Christ, we come to into your presence today, to worship in this sanctuary called Earth,
ALL: Holy! Holy! Holy! Earth is filled with your presence.
Compassionate Creator we give thanks for the clear blue sky, for the clouds both beautiful and gray, for the glory of the sunrise and the majesty of the sun setting at the end of the day. We are grateful for the life-giving energy of the sun and the rain that waters the earth. Allow us to revel in the beauty of the stars and admire the character of the moon. Give us a heart of compassion for your creation so that we may take up our responsibility to care for it and protect it. In your many names we pray, Amen.
The Wisdom of e.e. cummings
“I thank you God for this most amazing day, for the leaping greenly spirits of trees, and for the blue dream of sky and for everything which is natural, which is infinite, which is yes.”
The Wisdom of Linda Rondstat
“When the night wind starts to sing a lonesome lullaby, it helps to think we’re sleeping underneath the same big sky.”
The heavens are telling the glory of God; and the firmament proclaims God’s handiwork. Day to day pours forth speech, and night to night declares knowledge.
Yet there is no actual speech, nor are there words; their voice is not audible; still, their voice goes out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In the heavens God has set a tent for the sun, which comes out like a couple getting married from their wedding canopy, and like an athlete it runs its course with joy. Its rising is from the end of the heavens, and its circuit to the end of them; and nothing is hid from its heat.
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“Oh Beautiful for Spacious Skies”
When I travel throughout the United States I am often struck by how different the sky appears from one place to another. The blue of the sky in the east is a color unto itself. It is beautiful beyond imagining. And yet that clear blue sky will always be a reminder of the terrible events of September 11, 2001. The sky was splendid that day. It is one of my most vivid memories of the daylight hours of that date.
In the West the sky looks some how more expansive. The clouds sometimes descend onto the roadway on high mountain roads. The stars in the night sky reveal a tapestry of beauty hidden to those of us who live in light polluted urban areas reminding us of the vastness of space and the infinity of the universe.
Today we celebrate week three in Creationtide with a special emphasis on the sky. The heavens in general play important roles in the stories from our sacred texts. Ezekiel’s wheel appeared in the sky. Jesus is said to have ascended into the sky. And in the creation story the sky became the dome that separated the waters so that the dry land could appear.
We look to the sky in the morning to assess whether it will rain or be sunny. We look to the sky at night to admire the moon and track the starts in their movements. These stars were used by the ancients to navigate both land and sea. The rhythms of the sky affect us in profound and subtle ways. The movement of the moon around the earth and it’s phase affect the tides of the oceans. The dance of the planets in their orbits in the heavens is as captivating as any ballet.
The sun’s energy warms our skin but can burn it and cause skin cancer if we over indulge. Plants take the energy from the sun and convert it to growth in a process called photosynthesis. The damaged ozone layer above the earth now allows in more harmful rays from the sun that reach us. And we are learning how to harness the energy of the sun through solar energy to help power our world with clean ever renewing energy.
But we also need the rain that comes in the night and the clouds that cover the sun to make the rain that waters the earth. The rain falls on both the righteous and the unrighteous according the Matthew’s gospel. Rain that sometimes causes floods and clouds that sometimes spawn tornados causes crops to grow and provides water for humans and animals.
We need the brilliance of the sun and we need the quiet and darkness of the night for rest. We need everything that the sky has to offer us for us to live a balanced life of wholeness and health. In our busy worlds of work and responsibility we are often inside, shielded from the beauty of nature and the ever-changing sky above us. Light pollution robs us of the magnificence of the night sky with the broad swath of the Milky Way strewn across the heavens like glitter. Getting away from the city lights and just looking at the night sky can be a spiritual experience in itself.
This week let’s go outside a little more and when we do let’s look up to the heavens and see the wonders of the sky. Perhaps if we become more aware of the natural world around us we can reconnect with our essence, the spark of the divine placed in us by God. We know so little about the world around us. Let us enjoy these days of late summer and autumn in the northern hemisphere and really look at the beauty of the world around us as a way of giving thanks for the beautiful magnificent world that God has given us. And let us recommit ourselves to its care so that generations and generations of humans will have it to enjoy long after our time here is done. Amen.