On Christmas Eve, December 24th, 1968 the crew of Apollo 8, the first manned-mission to the Moon entered orbit (but did not land). During a live broadcast, they read from Genesis 1 and sent back the first pictures of Earth from another World, images that to this day remind us of just how precious “this, our Island Home”(Eucharistic Prayer C) is. I first drafted this liturgy during seminary, at a class on environmental reconciliation at Boston University, and give permission for others to use it for Earth Day, Feast of St. Francis or other celebrations of God’s Creation—simply giving credit. It is written using the King James Version as that was the translation used at the Moon—but others can be substituted if a church wishes. It can also be updated to reflect recent tragedies, like the Gulf Oil Spill of 2011.
Fun fact- first Sacrament received on the Moon was Presbyterian Communion, from Buzz Aldrin after the Apollo 11 Landing, with a reading from John 15:5. The first food and drink consumed on another world was the Body and Blood of Christ. –Kieran Conroy, MDiv
In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness. And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.
Gracious God, you created light out of darkness, sending your Spirit into chaos to make a Universe that could sustain life. But we have squandered our inheritance, and wasted the Gift of this World you created. Send again the True Light of your Son into our hearts, as we confess with grieving hearts of the brokenness of Your Creation.
Good Lord, forgive us.
And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters. And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so. And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day.
Nurturing God, in Your care you crafted Oceans of Water and Oceans of Air for us to dwell between, a tiny sliver of life between the many waters and cold of space. But we have polluted Sea and Sky, these treasures upon which we all depend. We confess to you, Good Lord.
And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so. And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas: and God saw that it was good. And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so. And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind: and God saw that it was good. And the evening and the morning were the third day.
Wise God, in your wisdom you created the boundaries of the Earth, spaces for all creatures to live, and move and have their beings. You made the Earth fertile, a green oasis in the vastness of space. But we have threatened that balance, draining rivers dry and laying forests bare for greed, and failing to share food with those peoples in greatest need. We Confess to You, Good Lord.
And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years: And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so. And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also. And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth, and to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and God saw that it was good. And the evening and the morning were the fourth day.
Patient Lord, in Your wisdom you established the Seasons and very balance of life itself. But in our arrogance and shortsightedness we have thrown the Climate itself asunder. Icebergs melt and Oceans rise, taking homes from animals and peoples alike, and the life giving Sun brings drought and famine to the neediest among us. Like Babel, we have built our towers to the Heavens, and now risk a great fall. We Confess to You, Good Lord.
And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven. And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good. And God blessed them, saying, Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth. And the evening and the morning were the fifth day.
Generous God, from the Oceans, we know so much of life comes, the food of the world and algae which makes the very air we bring. Reefs of coral stretching for cities, and the mighty whales, the largest beings to cross this world. Yet we have made the Oceans our toilet, and cast oil, waste and nuclear fire into their pristine depths. We Confess to You, Good Lord.
And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so. And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good.
Creating God, the life you planted upon this Earth has spread to every corner, in forms to varied and beautiful to count. From the beauty of wild predators to domestic creatures who feed and clothe our children, you have painted this world with life. Yet, every day uncounted multitudes of the creatures You called good fall before our uncaring greed, some never to be seen again. Merciful God, have compassion on our uncaring hearts.
And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth…. Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them.
Holy God, You created Humanity in Your Image, the pinnacle and guardian of Your Good Creation. We have learned to dance among the stars, but have deeply wounded this Earth which gives us life. We have subdued the Earth without replenishing it, and worst of all we have abused Your very Image in each Human face for differences of faith, gender or simply the color of the skin you gave us. We take for ourselves, with no thought of those who come after us. Just God, forgive us for the wounded Earth and the spilt blood of Your dear Children.
And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.
Creating God, You created this World and rested, but grant that we might not rest while Creation groans before Your Throne. Let we who walk in the Resurrection life of Your Beloved Son care for this Vineyard You have given us, that You will not return to find it barren. Let us work tirelessly not just for ourselves but for future generations, for the next 7 Generations, as our Native American brothers and sisters say, and beyond. In Your Holy Name, we Pray,
Let us care for the life of this World, until You return with life eternal to wipe away every tear and destroy the power of Death forever.