One of my favourite artists is Andy Goldsworthy, his use of natural materials and installations out in the wild are fascinating. I’ve always been keen on exploring ecology, the environment and our impact on it – I wrote my undergrad dissertation researching the differences in ecocentric and technocentric eco housing.
St Francis also explored ecology, perhaps that is one of the factors that drew me towards becoming a Third `Order Franciscan. St Francis wrote the Canticle of the Creatures.
Most High, all powerful, good Lord,
Yours are the praises, the glory, the honour, and all blessing.
To You alone, Most High, do they belong,
and no man is worthy to mention Your name.
Be praised, my Lord, through all your creatures,
especially through my lord Brother Sun,
who brings the day; and you give light through him.
And he is beautiful and radiant in all his splendour!
Of you, Most High, he bears the likeness.
Praised be You, my Lord, through Sister Moon and the stars,
in heaven you formed them clear and precious and beautiful.
Praised be You, my Lord, through Brother Wind,
and through the air, cloudy and serene,
and every kind of weather through which
You give sustenance to Your creatures.
Praised be You, my Lord, through Sister Water,
which is very useful and humble and precious and chaste.
Praised be You, my Lord, through Brother Fire,
through whom you light the night and he is beautiful
and playful and robust and strong.
Praised be You, my Lord, through Sister Mother Earth,
who sustains us and governs us and who produces
varied fruits with coloured flowers and herbs.
Praised be You, my Lord,
through those who give pardon for Your love,
and bear infirmity and tribulation.
Blessed are those who endure in peace
for by You, Most High, they shall be crowned.
Praised be You, my Lord,
through our Sister Bodily Death,
from whom no living man can escape.
Woe to those who die in mortal sin.
Blessed are those who will
find Your most holy will,
for the second death shall do them no harm.
Praise and bless my Lord,
and give Him thanks
and serve Him with great humility.
I’d like to share for your reflection time today, part of a liturgy that was written for an advent service at St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle. The whole liturgy can be found HERE
[Each procession consists of three parts: introductory music; a voice followed by the music; the presentation of the candle. The following notes only cover the words related to the voices and the presentation. If you are developing this for your own use, we suggest using of banners and different groups within the church to escort each candle.]
One: The Procession of the Air:
Voice of Air: Lord, I the Air come. Breath of life, wind that moves over the face of the deep bearing rain… I come. Now the breath of life blows death. As I pass over the land the broken soil follows me: a billowing shroud of dust. When the rain falls, forests and lakes die. I come, my Lord. But what have your people made of me but a shadow, a dark, acidic shadow of my God-given glory. Breathe on your people, breath of God.
Voice of Candle bearer: Hear the cry of our brother Air and bring light and life to the winter of our despair.
All: Breathe on your people, breath of God.
Two: The Procession of the Waters:
Voices of the Waters: We the Waters come, 0 Lord. Flowing to meet you as we have flowed through time, sustaining the life of all creation. We come, 0 Lord, from our rivers and lakes, our seas and oceans. We come, 0 Lord, with our dead borne upon our waves. Our living struggle against creeping filth and our mighty creatures flee before the fury of your people. Can we ever recapture the purity of your will in the brightness of our waters? Stir up your people, 0 Lord, to let the waters flow with life everlasting.
Voice of Candle bearer: Hear the cry of our Sister Water and let light and life dispel the winter of our despair.
All: Stir up your people, 0 Lord.
Three: The Procession of the Land
Voice of the Land: Mountain and valley, hill and plain, we the Land turn to you our Lord, ground of your ground. Upon us you set your world, from us called forth life in many forms. In our richness you set the forests. On our fields you sowed the seed of life. Gone are the forests, worn is the earth. Silent in their graves lie the riches of your creation.Gouged out are the mountains, gone are the curves of the valley. We who would bear your creation seek recreation. Plant in your people a love and respect for your land.
Voice of the Candle bearer: Hear the cry of our Mother Earth and let light and life dispel the winter of our despair.
All: Plant in your people a love and respect for your land.
Four: The Procession of the Creatures:
Voices of the Creatures: From water, air and land we the creatures came forth at thy command. From dust you raised us and in us planted your life.Through the ways of Time you brought us to Be. Now we come called forth again. Yet many can no longer come. Gone, gone forever. And we, we who come. Can we know our children’s children will know this world? So much has gone. What remains is so frail. Free your people from their ignorance and selfishness.
Voice of the Candlebearer: Hear the cry of those who dwell in air and sea and land and let your life and light dispel the winter of our despair.
All: Free your people from their ignorance and selfishness.
Voices of Humanity: We, your people, come. We who crucify this world, stripping bare its soil, crowning it with a wreath of broken trees. Its air breathes painfully, its waters weep for the folly that poisons them, its creatures bleed. We have eaten and drunk of life’s body. Heirs of all, we have sold our world. Thirty pieces of silver is our price. Loudly declaring our love, we have denied our Lord. We are Judas, we are Peter. We are the cross of all creation.
All: Lord, in your advent, help us resurrect the glory of your creation for our children and our children’s children.
Reader: Let us pray.
All: Loving Father, we have heard the Voices of Creation and brought before you our hopes and fears. In the candles of Advent we offer our world to the Creator. In your Love we find forgiveness; in your Word we find acceptance; through your Coming we have hope; through your actions we are challenged; and in your light we find life. Come Lord Jesus, come and enlighten our hearts. Amen.