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The United Nations Environmental Sabbath Service

From “Only One Earth,” a United Nations Environment Programme publication for “Environmental Sabbath/Earth Rest Day,” June 1990; UN Environment Programme, DC2-803 United Nations, New York, NY 10017.

From “Only One Earth,” a United Nations Environment Programme publication for “Environmental Sabbath/Earth Rest Day,” June 1990; UN Environment Programme, DC2-803 United Nations, New York, NY 10017. For permission to reprint any part of this service, please contact the United Nations Environment Programme directly. Contact information is on their website http://www.unep.org/contacts/.

A Call to Prayer

We who have lost our sense and our senses – our touch, our smell, our vision of who we are; we who frantically force and press all things, without rest for body or spirit, hurting our earth and injuring ourselves: we call a halt.

We want to rest.  We need to rest and allow the earth to rest.  We need to reflect and to rediscover the mystery that lives in us, that is the ground of every unique expression of life, the source of the fascination that calls all things to communion.

We declare a Sabbath, a space of quiet: for simple being and letting be; for recovering the great, forgotten truths; for learning how to live again.

A Prayer of Awareness

Today we know of the energy that moves all things: the oneness of existence, the diversity and uniqueness of every moment of creation, every shape and form, the attraction, the allurement, the fascination that all things have for one another.

Humbled by our knowledge, chastened by surprising revelations, with awe and reverence we come before the mystery of life.

A Prayer of Sorrow

Reader: We have forgotten who we are.
We have forgotten who we are
We have alienated ourselves from the unfolding of the cosmos
We have become estranged from the movements of the earth
We have turned our backs on the cycles of life.

We have forgotten who we are.

We have sought only our own security
We have exploited simply for our own ends
We have distorted our knowledge
We have abused our power.

We have forgotten who we are.

Now the land is barren
And the waters are poisoned
And the air is polluted.

We have forgotten who we are.

Now the forests are dying
And the creatures are disappearing
And the humans are despairing.

We have forgotten who we are.

We ask forgiveness
We ask for the gift of remembering
We ask for the strength to change.

Silence 

A Prayer of Healing

Reader: We join with the earth and with each other.
To bring new life to the land
To restore the waters
To refresh the air

We join with the earth and with each other.

To renew the forests
To care for the plants
To protect the creatures

We join with the earth and with each other.

To celebrate the seas
To rejoice the sunlight
To sing the song of the stars

We join with the earth and with each other.

To recall our destiny
To renew our spirits
To reinvigorate our bodies

We join with the earth and with each other.

To create the human community
To promote justice and peace
To remember our children

Reader: We join together as many and diverse expressions of one loving mystery: for the healing of the earth and the renewal of all life.

A Prayer of Gratitude

Reader: We rejoice in all life.
We live in all things
All things live in us

We rejoice in all life.

We live by the sun
We move with the stars

We rejoice in all life.

We eat from the earth
We drink from the rain
We breathe from the air

We rejoice in all life.

We share with the creatures
We have strength through their gifts

We rejoice in all life. 

We depend on the forests
We have knowledge through their secrets

We rejoice in all life.

We have the privilege of seeing and understanding
We have the responsibility of caring
We have the joy of celebrating.

Reader: We are full of the grace of creation
We are graceful
We are grateful
We rejoice in all life.

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