Spiritual Support Resources
I push myself to walk each day for exercise, but also as a way of clearing my mind and easing the anxieties and stresses that can build up so easily. Earlier this week, it was a cold and windy Earth Day as Gary and I walked up the dirt road near our home. Before we left home, Gary suggested that he prepare a thermos of tea, so we could enjoy that at some special place along the way. So, despite the blustery cold weather, we sat for a little while on a bench some neighbors have near their pond, sipping tea and watching the wind move across the water.
“Sometimes I almost think I can see the wind when it blows like that,” Gary said; and I thought immediately of the Holy Spirit. So often we don’t see the ways that the Spirit of God is blowing through our lives either. Like the people walking on the road to Emmaus, we don’t recognize what we do see. We miss what is right in front of us!
Gary and I sat quietly for a while, just watching the patterns created by the wind. Deep in reflection, I could feel the Spirit of God blowing through my mind, calming my thoughts and helping to ease the tension. I am grateful that I am able to experience such healing from the winds blowing and the waters flowing, from the beauty of flowers and colorful birds, and the awakening grasses and plants.
This Sunday we celebrate and commit to protect the Earth and we also contemplate the experiences of Cleopas and his traveling companion on the road to Emmaus. I invite you to look for opportunities in your week to notice the Holy Spirit moving through your life and to give thanks for the beautiful ways God is present to you. I hope you enjoy the prayers and quotes we have collected for you here as well.
In Christ’s Love,
What are some ways you can reach out to your neighbors or to those who are vulnerable? How can you bring joy into the lives of those you touch base with this week?
Offering - During this time of worshiping at home, the work of the church continues. We are reaching out through phone, letter and internet, feeding hungry people and offering spiritual support to those in need of encouragement (which is really all of us). Thank you for continuing your faithful support of our church through your offering, which may be mailed to Rutland UMC at 60 Strongs Ave. or to Church of the Wildwood c/o Cyndie Clark 1 Merrick Street Rutland, VT 05701
Earth Sunday Resources: As Christians and as United Methodists we are called to participate in God’s healing of creation through acts of personal, social, and civic righteousness. Proclaiming and modeling a new lifestyle rooted in stewardship and justice we work toward the day when all God’s children respect and share in the goodness of creation. (#1033 Caring for Creation, Book of Resolutions). Responding to our Biblical call and reflecting the particular concern Christ showed for the most vulnerable, United Methodists around the world are seeking justice for God’s people and God’s planet. For additional resources and to learn more about our church's creation care ministries, visit www.umcjustice.org
Prayer for our Earth from Pope Francis Encyclical
All-powerful God, you are present in the whole universe and in the smallest of your creatures.
You embrace with your tenderness all that exists.
Pour out upon us the power of your love,
that we may protect life and beauty.
Fill us with peace, that we may live
as brothers and sisters, harming no one.
O God of the poor,
help us to rescue the abandoned and forgotten of this earth, so precious in your eyes.
Bring healing to our lives,
that we may protect the world and not prey on it,
that we may sow beauty, not pollution and destruction. Touch the hearts
of those who look only for gain
at the expense of the poor and the earth.
Teach us to discover the worth of each thing,
to be filled with awe and contemplation,
to recognize that we are profoundly united
with every creature as we journey towards your infinite light.
We thank you for being with us each day.
Encourage us, we pray, in our struggle
for justice, love and peace.
A Prayer from Hildegard of Bingen
God is the foundation for everything
This God undertakes, God gives.
Such that nothing that is necessary for life is lacking.
Now humankind needs a body that at all times honors and praises God.
This body is supported in every way through the earth.
Thus the earth glorifies the power of God.
A Prayer from St. Basil the Great
O God, enlarge within us the sense of
fellowship with all living things,
our brothers the animals to whom thou
gavest the earth as their home in
common with us.
We remember with shame that in the past
we have exercised the high dominion
of man with ruthless cruelty
so that the voice of the earth,
which should have gone up to thee
in song, has been a groan of travail.
May we realize that they live not for
us alone but for themselves and for
thee, and that they love
the sweetness of life.
Encouragement from Rumi (Persian poet, born 1207)
The breezes at dawn have secrets to tell you
Don't go back to sleep!
You must ask for what you really want.
Don't go back to sleep.
Thoughts from Wendell Berry (contemporary novelist, poet & environmentalist)
The care of the earth is our most ancient and most worthy and, after all, our most
pleasing responsibility. To cherish what remains of it, and to foster its renewal,
is our only legitimate hope.
Encouragement from Pema Chodron (contemporary Buddhist nun, teacher & author)
Sticking with that uncertainty, getting the knack of relaxing in the midst of chaos,
learning not to panic -- this is the spiritual path.