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Vigil for Planet Earth

Smudging (while people gather) Andrew Wesley
The officiant invites all to stand. Officiant People Officiant

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. And also with you. Welcome to this place. From ancient times this has been holy ground. Sacred to the Mississaugas of New Credit First Nation, the land and streams which joined here before flowing into Lake Ontario marked a place of rest and refreshment for people on their journeys. We are privileged tonight to have Alanna Mitchell to talk to us. Alanna is a journalist and the award-winning author of Sea Sick: the global ocean in crisis. Tonights ritual has its roots in the traditions of Eastern Christians, specifically their celebration of the baptism of Jesus, the festival they call the Theophany. In our ritual tonight, our western prayer traditions have been adapted to include echoes of the Orthodox celebration of Theophany. We celebrate the revelation not only of Gods purpose for Jesus, but of Gods purpose for water.

Hymn Touch the Earth Lightly

During the Prayer in the Four Directions that follows, the officiant moves to the font and models the four directions by moving to different sides of the font, as indicated in the rubrics.

Prayer in the Four Directions

The officiant moves to stand at the font facing the east. Reader 1 People

From the East, the direction of the rising sun, we receive peace and light and wisdom and knowledge.

The officiant moves around the font to face the south. Reader 2 People

From the South comes warmth, guidance, and the beginning and the end of life. Lord, send out your Spirit, and renew the face of the earth. (sung)

The officiant moves around the font to face the west. Reader 3 People

From the West comes the rain, purifying waters, to sustain all living things. Lord, send out your Spirit, and renew the face of the earth. (sung)

The officiant moves around the font to face the north. Reader 4 People

From the North comes the cold and mighty wind, the white snows, giving us strength and endurance. Lord, send out your Spirit, and renew the face of the earth. (sung)

The officiant returns to the chair. Reader 5


From the heavens we receive darkness and light, the air of your breath, and messages from your winged creatures. Lord, send out your Spirit, and renew the face of the earth. (sung) From the earth we come and to the earth we will return. Lord, send out your Spirit, and renew the face of the earth. (sung)

Reader 6 People

First Reading (Revelation 22: 1 - 5) Reader 7

A reading from the Revelation to John: Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb through the middle of the street of the city. On either side of the river is the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, producing its fruit each month; and the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. Nothing accursed will be found there any more. But the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him; they will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. And there will be no more night; they need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign for ever and ever.

Reader 7 People

The word of the Lord. Thanks be to God.

The officiant invites all to stand.

Hymn Many and Great Are your Works, O God

Gospel Reading (Luke 3: 3, 7 - 9, 15 - 17, 21 - 22) Deacon People Deacon People

The Lord be with you And also with you. The Holy Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to Luke. Glory to you, Lord Jesus Christ. John the Baptist went into all the region around the Jordan, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. He said to the crowds that came out to be baptized by him, You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bear fruits worthy of repentance. Do not begin to say to yourselves, We have Abraham as our ancestor; for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children to Abraham. Even now the axe is lying at the root of the trees; every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. As the people were filled with expectation, and all were questioning in their hearts concerning John, whether he might be the Messiah, John answered all of them by saying, I baptize you with water; but one who is more powerful than I is coming; I am not worthy to untie the thong of his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing-fork is in his hand, to clear his threshing-floor and to gather the wheat into his granary; but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.

Now when all the people were baptized, and when Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, the heaven was opened, and the Holy Spirit descended upon him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven, You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.
(Silence.) Deacon People

The Gospel of Christ. Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.

Address Alanna Mitchell

The officiant may choose to comment, following the address, on concerns of particular importance to Gods people. The officiant invites all to stand.

Litany of lament
Reader 8

Hear the words of the Prophet Jeremiah: My people are foolish, they do not know me, says the Lord; they are skilled in doing evil, but do not know how to do good. I looked on the earth, and lo, it was waste and void, and to the heavens, and they had no light. I looked, and lo, there was no one at all, and all the birds of the air had fled. I looked, and lo, the fruitful land was a desert, and all its cities were in ruins. Because of this the earth shall mourn, and the heavens above grow black. This people has a stubborn and rebellious heart; they have turned aside and gone away. They do not say in their hearts, Let us fear God, who gives the rain in its season and keeps for us the weeks for harvest. Your iniquities have turned these away, and your sins have deprived you of good. An appalling and horrible thing has happened: the prophets prophesy falsely, and my people love to have it so. But what will you do when the end comes?

(Wei, wei, wei chant; silence) Officiant

Gracious God, who made a covenant with our ancestors, we gather here tonight, a rebellious people. We want to act out your intentions for us, but we keep losing our way, distracted by the glitter of the world around us. You tell us to honour all creation, yet we use other people and other creatures only to feed our wants. You offer daily bread to every living thing, yet we steal from our brothers and sisters in our greed. You promise us new life, yet we shrink back in fear. Help us and heal us, O God, lest we destroy ourselves and desecrate your world. Teach us how to honour your presence among us; for the sake of your great love, made known to us in Jesus Christ our Lord.

Reader 9

Hear the words of the Prophet Hosea: There is no faithfulness or loyalty, and no knowledge of God in the land. Therefore the land mourns, and all who live in it languish, together with the wild animals and the birds of the air; even the fish of the sea are perishing.
(Wei, wei, wei chant; silence)


Help us, O God, to accept responsibility for our sin: the way in which we abuse your creation; the role we play, both active and passive, in marring your image in ourselves, in others, and in the earth. Help us also to accept your forgiveness, to learn from our mistakes, and to live more wisely; through Jesus Christ the Lord.

Reader 10

Hear the words of the Apostle Paul: The creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the children of God; for the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and will obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. We know that the whole creation has been groaning in labour pains until now; and not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly while we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies. For in hope we were saved.

(Wei, wei, wei chant; silence) Officiant

Lord, help us to hear in the groaning of creation not death throes but birth pangs. Help us to recognize in the grief of this moment a cry against the inhumanity of the present order, and a promise for the future. Help us to glimpse in acts of protest the dawning of your justice, to see in the Cross the path to resurrection, and to find in suffering the seeds of joy; through the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, Jesus Christ our Lord.

Officiant People

The peace of the Lord be always with you. And also with you.

Hymn O Healing River
(sung in call-and-response fashion)

Thanksgiving Over the Water

Standing at the font, the officiant says, People Officiant People Officiant

The Lord be with you. And also with you. Let us give thanks to the Lord our God. It is right to give our thanks and praise. We give you thanks, almighty God and Father, for by the gift of water you nourish, sustain and renew all living things.



People Officiant

We give you thanks that through the waters of the Red Sea, you led your people out of slavery to freedom in the promised land. Glory to you for ever and ever. We give you thanks for sending your Son Jesus. For us he was baptized by John in the River Jordan, repenting for the sin of the world and restoring to water its healing work in all creation. For us he was anointed as Christ by your Holy Spirit that he might liberate the world from all the forces of evil. For us he suffered the baptism of his own death and resurrection, setting us free from the bondage of sin and death, and sharing

People Officiant

with us his own ministry of new creation. Glory to you for ever and ever. We give you thanks for your Holy Spirit who teaches us and leads us into all truth, filling us with his gifts so that we might proclaim the gospel to all nations and serve you as a royal priesthood and faithful stewards of all that you have made. Glory to you for ever and ever. Now sanctify this water that your Here the blessing servants who have been washed cross is plunged three times into the water. and made one with Christ in his death and resurrection may here be renewed in the power of his Spirit and may continue for ever in the risen life of Jesus Christ our Saviour. We give you praise and honour and worship through your Son Jesus Christ our Lord, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, now and for ever.

People Officiant


Procession to the Font

The officiant invites all to approach the font and drink from the water of thanksgiving, in these or similar words,

Let everyone who is thirsty come. Let anyone who wishes take the water of life as a gift.
Two ministers approach the font and fill the chalices. The officiant is offered a drink first, and then the water is offered to all.

Hymn I Beheld a Stream of Water

(Silence) Murray MacAdam and John Hill will each introduce proposals for action. The officiant invites all to stand.

Hymn When Pain of the World Surrounds Us


Let us pray. Holy God, source and goal of all that is, pour out your Spirit on us and upon all flesh. Grant us a continual thirst for the restoration of all things, that we may go now in love to minister the healing of your kingdom. We ask in the name of Jesus Christ, the Lord.

Deacon People

Go in peace to love and serve the Lord. Thanks be to God.

Refreshments and distribution of water

(label on bottles provided at the conclusion of the service:)

O healing river send down your waters