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A Provident God
Tuesday, 25 August 2020

Naming a grace to celebrate

God is always close to us, actively present in both cosmic and human history. The first reading remembers God's words, I am establishing my covenant with you and your descendants after you. The Gospel tells of the providential care of God shown in feeding the birds of the air and adorning the lilies of the fields. Let us remember that we are blessed by the creative outreach of God just like the children of Abraham and all that exists (pause).


God of all history, in loving kindness you formed an everlasting bond between your own self, Earth and humanity. You granted a covenant to your chosen people, guiding them on their journey and generously provided for their needs. In our time may we witness to your blessings given for all the nations, remembering your deeds with joy as we sing your praise. We ask this ...


As for me, I am establishing my covenant with you and your descendants after you, and with every living creature that is with you, the birds, the domestic animals, and every animal of the Earth with you, as many as came out of the ark, I establish my covenant with you, that never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of a flood, and never again shall there be a flood to destroy the Earth.


God watches over all Earth's inhabitants

6By your word O Lord the heavens were made,all their array by the breath of your mouth. 7You gathered the waters of the sea as in a bottle; you put the deeps in storehouses. 9For you spoke, and it came to be; you commanded, and it stood firm. 13O Lord, you look down from heaven; you see all humankind. 14From where you sit enthroned, you watch over all the inhabitants of the Earth.


Stephen replied: "Brothers and fathers, listen to me. The God of glory appeared to our ancestor Abraham when he was in Mesopotamia, before he lived in Haran, and said to him, 'Leave your country and your relatives and go to the land that I will show you.' Then he left the country of the Chaldeans and settled in Haran. ... And God spoke in these terms, that his descendants would be resident aliens in a country belonging to others, who would enslave them and mistreat them during four hundred years. 'But I will judge the nation that they serve,' said God, 'and after that they shall come out and worship me in this place.' Then he gave him the covenant of circumcision. And so Abraham became the father of Isaac and circumcised him on the eighth day; and Isaac became the father of Jacob, and Jacob of the twelve patriarchs.


Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life? And why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these.


It is easy to start story telling by talking about the place where we live. It might be a positive story about a local place of geological importance, beauty or recreation. We can add details by naming a person linked with preserving or popularising the spot, or about some incident at the place. It might be a negative story about how the place became overgrown with weeds or became a rubbish dump. We can ask ourselves, how is the providence of God manifest in this place.


In every age and place, cultures embody a world view for a local people to flourish. Visions evolved as climates changed and neighbouring peoples met. In modern times, peoples have been drawn to migrate pulled on by visions of the American or Australian dream. This trend often enslaved people and led to ecological disasters. The environmental letter of Pope Francis calls for all peoples to reflect in the light of faith and paint a new vision about Earth as our common home. The covenants are stories about God's promises and human responses, a constant ebb and flow. Today we remember the words of Jesus about the providence of God who is in control and ever faithful. Do not worry. We are not alone in the human journey on Earth. Jesus calls us to find out what God is saying to us in the Earth itself, and to listen. We are to seek first the reign of God in our world, an outpouring of loving kindness. In response we work with campaigners for eco-justice as the unfolding actions of God on Earth, and all it holds, as our common home.


1.Remembering that God made an everlasting covenant promise to Noah never to again harm creation, may we respect the very existence of every creature and give us courage to work with our leaders in care for Earth as our common home. Father of Jesus hear ...

2Just as God gave land to the starving migrant people of Israel, may our community welcome ecological refugees and help provide for their needs as we confront the human causes of climate change. Father of Jesus hear ....

3.Jesus taught us to look to the birds of the air and not to worry, so, may we respect Earth's free gifts that sustain us and all. Father of Jesus hear ...

4.Since Scripture tells us to seek first the kingdom of God, may all believers be clothed with baptismal wisdom to follow their ecological vocation in our time. Father of Jesus hear ...

5.Knowing that God raises up holy women and men in every age, let us recognise the martyrs who have given themselves in defence of Earth and all it holds. Father of Jesus ...

6.Rejoicing that God, Earth and humanity are bound together in one mystery, mayour hearts be fired to make love of Godand the whole family of creation the driving force in our lives. Father of Jesus hear ....



Creative and nourishing God, you feed us like the birds of the air with Earth's free gifts and nourish us by the work of human hands. Your gifts tell of your abiding presence with us in our journey. You have shown yourself faithful to your Covenant promises. Guide our journey with the peoples, cultures and the Cosmos in every age until your new creation is made complete. We ask ...

"We have forgotten that we ourselves are dust of the earth (cf. Gen2:7); our very bodies are made up of her elements, we breathe her air and we receive life and refreshment from her waters."

-Laudato Si #2

Diverse Catholic Rites alerts us to be open to new spiritual pathways. Pope Francis was open to the spiritual tradition of the Greek Patriarch Bartholomew. The Greek Church has A Service of Agiasmos in Supplication for the Environment. St Andrew's Greek Orthodox Theological College, Sydney adapted the 'Lesser Sanctification of Water' for celebration on 1 September. This builds on the proceedings of the inter-Orthodox conference on environmental protection, Crete 1991, So That God's Creation Might Live. Orthodoxy and Ecology: Resource Book, eds. A Belopopsky and D Oikonomou, 1996, published by SYNDESMOS.
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