Family Liturgies

Psalm 8: Fasting for Creation

by Jennifer Mills-Knutsen

Scripture: Psalm 8
O Lord, our Lord,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!

You have set your glory above the heavens.
Out of the mouths of babes and infants
you have founded a bulwark because of your foes,
to silence the enemy and the avenger.

When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars that you have established;
what are human beings that you are mindful of them,
mortals that you care for them?

Yet you have made them a little lower than God,
and crowned them with glory and honor.
You have given them dominion over the works of your hands;
you have put all things under their feet,
all sheep and oxen,
and also the beasts of the field,
the birds of the air, and the fish of the sea,
whatever passes along the paths of the seas.

O Lord, our Lord,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!

Reflection & Ideas to Spark Conversation
The season of Lent is a time of repentance and self-examination. The season prepares us for Easter by getting us back in right relationship with God—centering on God as the one we worship and setting aside our selfish interests.

Psalm 8 reminds us of that right relationship. God’s majesty and power are amazing beyond our imagination, and we are but a small part of God’s creation. Spend time talking about some of the natural wonders of the world. If your family has traveled to see natural landmarks, remember the awe they inspired. If you have a favorite park or hiking trail, talk about what you see there. If none of that seems right, look up at the sky and find the moon and stars. Contemplate how many other people and creatures there are on the earth. Feel how small we are as creatures, compared to God and the rest of the world.

Focus on the section of the Psalm that talks about “dominion.” God puts us in charge of caring for all the creatures of the earth. If you have a pet, talk about how much work it is to feed them and clean up after them. Think about how much love you also share with them as well. Imagine sharing that kind of love with every creature on the earth—that’s what God’s job is, and we are called to help by caring for our small corner of the world.

Spiritual Practice
16-0222PfpicWe often talk about giving something up for Lent. In recent years, many groups have organized Lenten fasts based on caring for creation. Interfaith Power and Light organizes a Lenten Carbon Fast every year, inviting people to lower their fossil fuel consumption. In Maryland this year, clergy and churches have organized a fast from plastic bags, to eliminate waste from the environment.

As part of the work of caring for creation, think of a way your family can participate in a Lenten fast for creation. Can you give up plastic bags? Commit to walking or biking to school or somewhere else on a regular basis? Unplug for an hour every night? Carry a reusable water bottle instead of buying water? Visit your favorite park and help clean it up? Think of something you can do together, to remind you of the glory of God’s creation and our responsibility to care for it.

Lent is already well underway, but you can start anytime. Maybe the practice will be so powerful and so much a part of your practice it can continue, caring for the earth while reminding you every day of God’s creation.

Prayer
Loving God, the world you have created is awesome.
Forgive us for ignoring your beauty
or neglecting our responsibility to care for the earth.
Help us to care for creation, so that we can glorify you every day. Amen.

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