Forest

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Acknowledgement of Country

We acknowledge that the site of this church is on the land of the Kaurna people, the traditional custodians of the Adelaide Plains. We are awed that they celebrate the religious significance of place plant and all living creatures; and that care for the earth is implanted in their law.

Bible reading: Genesis 2:4 – 10 NRSV adapted

In the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens, 5when no plant of the field was yet in the earth and no herb of the field had yet sprung up—for the Lord God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and there was no one to till the ground; 6but a stream would rise from the earth, and water the whole face of the ground— 7then the Lord God formed a human from the dust of the ground, and breathed into its nostrils the breath of life; and the human became a living being. 8And the Lord God planted a garden in Eden, in the east; and there God put the human whom he had formed. 9Out of the ground the Lord God made to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food, the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. A river flows out of Eden to water the garden, …

Reflection

In this creation story found in the second chapter of Genesis we hear that creation began in a garden but I don’t think it would be like any ordered manicured herbaceous border but somewhat chaotic and wild, more like a forest.  A special forest, God’s first garden where trees grew throughout and shaded other trees. Trees that were both pleasing to the eyes and good for food. Two trees stood apart from the others in this forest; the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. This is where humans learn of beauty, of greed, of thirst for knowledge, and limits. We have been learning from forests and trees ever since and are still learning. We are finding new species of plant and animal living in forests, New medicines are regularly being discovered from forests and new aspects of beauty.  But there are many pressures that trees and forests face today, changing climate, deforestation, and pollution. We have a responsibility to act, to take care of them, because of our special relationship. The forests, the communities of trees, plants, and fungi sustain our breath and make our lives livable. Our faith brings an even richer, deeper relationship, Genesis reminds us that Eden was, in a sense, our first forest home. The forests are how we can find God through the earth and we are reminded many times to think of the mysterious, unknown voice of God residing in the forest.

Prayers for the people

God of winds and leaves, of the spirit that moves through the primeval forests,
we are here to listen to the mysteries you speak.
We pray that you will lead us to your voice
in the tallest trees and smallest seedlings, in the forest floor,
in all that crawls and flies and makes a home in your first gardens.

Hear our prayer.

Bless us with wonder and gratitude every day.
Please help us to use our gratitude for good
and to protect the forests, our teachers.

Hear our prayer.

Teach us to learn and to remember
the beauty of your messengers
the plants,
who give us our breath.
Through your grace.

Hear our prayer.

For what else do we pray today?
You are invited to pause the video to add your own prayers

Amen.

Seasons of the spirit