July 2017 Environmental Prayer Diary
World Environment Month
On June 13, Herman Labuschagne wrote an emotional and beautiful piece after the Knysna fires that people are sharing far and wide on social media
“…….. As I drove out of town, my eye was drawn by an unexpected sight. There, all alone by the lakeside, stood a lonely fisherman just as if the world had never gone up in flames. I nodded to myself when I saw it. When the waters of our minds become a storm, a fisherman will take his rod and sit by tranquil waters. After Jesus had been crucified and it looked as if the hope of the whole world had been lost, His disciples had a variety of options. They chose to go fishing. No doubt in order to console themselves and rest their aching nerves
A fisherman is a man who is drawn by hope. He is drawn by better expectations. He is there because he believes that one way or another, something better might heading his way today. And if not today, then surely it must be tomorrow, or someday soon thereafter.
Fire has touched the heart of Knysna. And when the dross had been burned away, it left behind a shiny bead of gold.”
Read the full post at https://www.goodthingsguy.com/people/knysna-fire-aftermath/.
· for victims and those affected by the fire.
· for the environmental damage which will take decades to regenerate
· give thanks that the precious Knysna Forest (South Africa’s largest portion of Southern Afrotemperate Forests) escaped damage – some trees are over 600 years old.
|Sunday||2||Lord, Make our spirits sensitive to the cries of creation,
cries for justice from the air, the clouds and the sky,
cries of our fellow creatures deserted and dying.
Jesus Christ, make our faith sensitive to the groans of the
Spirit in creation, groans of longing for a new creation.
Jesus Christ, make our hearts sensitive to the songs of our
kin, songs of celebration echoing around us.
Christ, teach us to care. Amen
|Monday||3||How Great Is Our God – (Chris Tomlin)
The splendour of the King, clothed in majesty
Let all the earth rejoice
All the earth rejoice.
He wraps himself in Light, and darkness tries to hide
And trembles at His voice
Trembles at His voice
How great is our God, sing with me
How great is our God, and all will see
How great, how great is our God
Age to age He stands
The Godhead Three in One
Name above all names
How great is our God,
|Tuesday||4||“Humankind’s greatest priority is to reintegrate with the natural world.
|Wednesday||5||1 Peter 1:24
For “All flesh is like grass and all its glory like the flower of grass. The grass withers, and the flower falls,
|Thursday||6||Reflection: Pope Francis – Laudato Si
23. The climate is a common good, belonging to all and meant for all. At the global level, it is a complex system linked to many of the essential conditions for human life. A very solid scientific consensus indicates that we are presently witnessing a disturbing warming of the climatic system. In recent decades this warming has been accompanied by a constant rise in the sea level and, it would appear, by an increase of extreme weather events, even if a scientifically determinable cause cannot be assigned to each particular phenomenon. Humanity is called to recognize the need for changes of lifestyle, production and consumption, in order to combat this warming or at least the human causes which produce or aggravate it. It is true that there are other factors (such as volcanic activity, variations in the earth’s orbit and axis, the solar cycle), yet a number of scientific studies indicate that most global warming in recent decades is due to the great concentration of greenhouse gases (carbon dioxide, methane, nitrogen oxides and others) released mainly as a result of human activity. Concentrated in the atmosphere, these gases do not allow the warmth of the sun’s rays reflected by the earth to be dispersed in space. The problem is aggravated by a model of development based on the intensive use of fossil fuels, which is at the heart of the worldwide energy system. Another determining factor has been an increase in changed uses of the soil, principally deforestation for agricultural purposes.”
Prayerfully reflect on this
|Friday||7||Learning from Nature – “If we are willing to be still and open enough to listen, wilderness itself will teach us.”
|Saturday||8||In his book Last Child in the Woods, Author Richard Louv coined the phrase ‘nature deficit disorder’ to describe the human cost of alienation from nature. Children often spend too much time slumped in a chair staring at a smartphone, tablet or TV screen, and too little time outdoors running, riding or playing in the fresh air.
“Now, my tree-climbing days long behind me, I often think about the lasting value of those early, deliciously idle days. I have come to appreciate the long view afforded by those treetops. The woods were my Ritalin.”
Pray for all children to have the opportunity to be able to enjoy nature
|Sunday||9||We do not accost a physician as we do any mere nobody; nor a magistrate as we do a private individual. We try to get some advantage from the skill of the one and the position of the other. Walk in the sun, and your shadow will follow you, whether you will or not.
Saint Basil of Caesarea (4th century)
|Monday||10||A series of reports from NATO warns of the growing threat from climate change to peace and security in the Middle East and Africa, and urges all nations to stick to the Paris Agreement. The Middle East and North Africa is home to 5% of the world’s population, but has access to just 1% of its renewable water supply Another report said that the present refugee crisis and political instability in the Middle East could be a ‘harbinger of things to come.’ “It is distinctly possible that global climate challenges could trigger mass movements in regions which no longer have the water and agricultural resources needed to support life.”
Pray for solutions to this crisis
|Tuesday||11||World Population Day
World Population day is an annual event, observed on July 11 every year, which seeks to raise awareness of global population issues. The event was established by the Governing Council of the United Nations Development Programme in 1989. It was inspired by the public interest in Five Billion Day on July 11, 1987 – approximately the date on which the world’s population reached five billion people. World Population Day aims at increase people’s awareness on various population issues such as the importance of family planning, gender equality, poverty, maternal health and human rights.
Every year the world continues to get more and more crowded. While we’ve a tendency to pack ourselves into massive cities, and there are presently still long open stretches of countryside, every year that gets whittled away at more and more. The power and food needs of the world continue to place a greater and greater strain on our ability to meet them, and resources in general are becoming harder and harder to come by. World Population Day comes along each year to remind us that our present rate of population growth is unsustainable, and the present social and logistical issues we are experiencing to meet the demand of that population will only get worse if we don’t do something.
Pray for global solutions to the over-population crisis to be found and implemented.
|Wednesday||12||SDG Goal #1:
End poverty in all its forms everywhere
· By 2030, ensure that all men and women, in particular the poor and the vulnerable, have equal rights to economic resources, as well as access to basic services, ownership and control over land and other forms of 13 property, inheritance, natural resources, appropriate new technology and financial services, including microfinance
Pray that this Target may be achieved.
|Thursday||13||Read Mark 10:17-30
If the man in the gospel could not sell everything, what hope is there for us with our wealth of possessions? Surely it doesn’t apply to us today? We cannot give up our car, mobile phone and computer. Don’t we need these to live our Christian lives?
But perhaps we risk watering down the gospel. Will we become like the Pharisees, making up rules as to what constitutes the right way to follow God?
Jesus is calling for total commitment. He invites us to “come follow me”, and the journey that Jesus is taking is to the Cross – what good will our possessions be to us then?
Going without is counter-cultural. The media tells us that life would be better if we had more of everything. Our society is built on increasing consumption year by year to maintain growth. This may fill our lives with possessions, but it will not bring us life in all its fullness.
Rather than accruing belongings, we could aim to live more simply, removing the clutter that gets in the way of our relationship with God, being more in tune with creation and supporting those in need throughout the world. Mark 10:17-30
Jesus, You are the way. Help us to shed those things in our lives which hinder us on our journey of faith. Amen.
This reflection and prayer were written by Sue Cooper from Corpus Christi parish, Wokingham. – Taken from CAFOD – www.cafod.org.uk
|Friday||14||Father, we thank you for the new awareness among many people of the need to care for and heal your world. Show us, we pray, the actions we each can take to play our part in the healing process, to lead by example and to be prepared to give reasons for what we do.|
|Saturday||15||Dear Father, you have inspired scientists down the ages to search out the mysteries of your creation and to benefit humankind in so many fields. Send us your Holy Spirit now, in this our time of supreme need, that he may reveal to us the path we must follow if we are to fulfil your purposes on earth. Remove from our society all prejudice, special pleading and vested interests, that we may truly seek your will and find the courage to surmount all obstacles. This we beg in the Name of your dear Son, Jesus Christ|
|Monday||17||SDG Goal #2: End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture
· By 2030, ensure sustainable food production systems and implement resilient agricultural practices that increase productivity and production, that help maintain ecosystems, that strengthen capacity for adaptation to climate change, extreme weather, drought, flooding and other disasters and that progressively improve land and soil quality
Pray that this Target may be achieved.
Spend 67 minutes in quiet reflection and prayer:
· Give thanks for God’s awesome creation
· Bring your environmental challenges to God and acknowledge your failings in environmental care
· Consider ways you can act in a more environmentally friendly way in everything that you do
· Pray for the carers of the environment.
· Pray for protection for those carers who put their lives on the line every day (such as the anti-poaching patrols)
Visit www.wwf.org.za/act_now/green_living for more ideas on greener living
Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds! And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? If then you are not able to do as small a thing as that, why are you anxious about the rest? Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass, which is alive in the field today, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith!
|Friday||21||God of love, you gave us this universe filled with your gifts. Help us to reverence all of your Creation, respecting the rights of all species, and the integrity of the elements, so that all Creation may live with you for all eternity|
Pope Francis – Laudato Si
“18. The continued acceleration of changes affecting humanity and the planet is coupled today with a more intensified pace of life and work which might be called “rapidification”. Although change is part of the working of complex systems, the speed with which human activity has developed contrasts with the naturally slow pace of biological evolution. Moreover, the goals of this rapid and constant change are not necessarily geared to the common good or to integral and sustainable human development. Change is something desirable, yet it becomes a source of anxiety when it causes harm to the world and to the quality of life of much of humanity.
19. Following a period of irrational confidence in progress and human abilities, some sectors of society are now adopting a more critical approach. We see increasing sensitivity to the environment and the need to protect nature, along with a growing concern, both genuine and distressing, for what is happening to our planet. Let us review, however cursorily, those questions which are troubling us today and which we can no longer sweep under the carpet. Our goal is not to amass information or to satisfy curiosity, but rather to become painfully aware, to dare to turn what is happening to the world into our own personal suffering and thus to discover what each of us can do about it.”
Prayerfully reflect on this
|Monday||24||Lord, grant us the wisdom to care for the earth and till it.
Help us to act now for the good of future generations and all your creatures.
Help us to become instruments of a new creation, founded on the covenant of your love.
|Tuesday||25||May all I say and all I think, be in harmony with thee,
God within me, God beyond me,
maker of the trees.
Chinook prayer, Pacific Northwest Coast, North America
|Wednesday||26||Lord, help us to maintain a reverent attitude towards nature, threatened from all sides today, in such a way that we may restore it completely to the condition of brother/sister and to its role of usefulness to all humankind for the glory of God the Creator.|
|Thursday||27||“Glance at the sun. See the moon and stars. Gaze at the beauty of the green earth. Now think.”
Hildegard of Bingen
In the midst of Winter, when the days are cold and wind can pierce – remind us of the warmth of your love.
In the midst of Winter, when days are short, dawn comes late, and dusk arrives early remind us that in the darkness your light still shines.
In the midst of Winter, when the flowers of spring still lie hidden in the earth, when leaves are off the trees, and the world can seem bleak remind us that your love endures.
And when in our lives we feel as if we are experiencing a season of winter, reach out to us with the power of your resurrection so that we may feel the warmth of your love and see your light that alone can take away the darkness of our soul.
|Saturday||29||Father, we thank you for your gifts of inventiveness and resilience which enable us to respond to the challenges of a changing climate. Help us to acknowledge our dependence on you for every human achievement. “Take not thy thunder from us, but take away our pride.
1 There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens:
2 a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot,
3 a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build,
4 a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance,
5 a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
6 a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away,
7 a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak,
8 a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.
9 What do workers gain from their toil?
10 I have seen the burden God has laid on the human race.
11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.
12 I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live.
13 That each of them may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all their toil —this is the gift of God.
14 I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it. God does it so that people will fear him.
15 Whatever is has already been, and what will be has been before; ¶ and God will call the past to account.
16 And I saw something else under the sun: In the place of judgment – wickedness was there, in the place of justice – wickedness was there.
17 I said to myself, “God will bring into judgment both the righteous and the wicked, ¶ for there will be a time for every activity, a time to judge every deed.”
18 I also said to myself, “As for humans, God tests them so that they may see that they are like the animals.
19 Surely the fate of human beings is like that of the animals; the same fate awaits them both: As one dies, so dies the other. All have the same breath; humans have no advantage over animals. Everything is meaningless.
20 All go to the same place; all come from dust, and to dust all return.
21 Who knows if the human spirit rises upward and if the spirit of the animal goes down into the earth?”
22 So I saw that there is nothing better for a person than to enjoy their work, because that is their lot. For who can bring them to see what will happen after them?
|Monday||31||World Ranger Day
World Ranger Day commemorates rangers killed or injured in the line of duty, and celebrates the work rangers do to protect the world’s natural and cultural treasures. World Ranger Day is observed annually on the 31st of July, and is promoted by the 63 member associations of the International Ranger Federation (IRF), by the IRF partner the Thin Green Line Foundation, as well as individuals who support the work of rangers and the IRF. The first World Ranger Day was observed in 2007 on the 15th anniversary of the founding of
In South Africa, game rangers stand up to poachers almost daily as they battle to end the decimation of wildlife species, ranging from the poaching of rhino and abalone to the illegal removal of plants such as cycads and Proteas.
· Pray for blessings, protection and strength for the courageous men and women involved in this important work