Welcome! We're glad you're planning on observing
a liturgical season of creation. We have prepared some materials
for you to use in worship, teaching, and personal reflection.
The Notes on the readings for this topic are
available for you to use. You may
- copy and paste what you wish from this page directly to
your preparation materials or
- download the materials in PDF as part of a reference materials
for the individuals involved in preparing religious education,
homilies, or special liturgical materials for your Service.
here for the list.
This Sunday's topic is Rivers. The following
themes may be useful in preparing a sermon, prayers, or study:
Jordan; life-giving in the midst
of desert; cutting through; forming the edges or boundaries; raging
river pours its plenty out over the land; uprooting force uprooting
even large trees; dammed up so we can tame them; floods hiccupping
over the banks for a time; laying waste to the edges; carrying
me on; Nile replenishes; Moses being carried gendly in a basket;
rain and run-off
and Water Facts:
- The National Wild and Scenic Rivers System has only 11,434
river miles in it—just over one-quarter of one percent
of our rivers are protected through this designation.
- Currently, 600,000 miles of our rivers lie behind an estimated
60,000 to 80,000 dams.
- The United States has over 3,660,000 miles of rivers. The
600,000 miles of rivers lying behind dams amounts to fully 17%
of our river mileage. (Source: Environmental Protection Agency
1998 National Water Quality Report)
- The Missouri River is about 2,540 miles long, making it the
longest river in the United States. The Nile is the longest
river in the world at 4,132 miles as it travels northward from
its remote headwaters in Burundi to the Mediterranean Sea.
- The 8 longest rivers in the U.S. are (in descending order)
Missouri, Mississippi, Yukon, St. Lawrence (if you count the
Great Lakes and its headwaters as one system), Rio Grande, Arkansas,
- The 8 largest rivers in the U.S., based on volume, are (in
descending order) Mississippi, St. Lawrence, Ohio, Columbia,
Yukon, Missouri, Tennessee, Mobile.
- More than 235,000 river miles in the United States have been
- More than 600,000 river miles are impounded behind dams.
- More than 25,000 river miles have been dredged for navigation.
- More than 50% of wetlands have been lost or destroyed nationwide
in the past century.
- Nearly 40% of the rivers and streams in the U.S. are too
polluted for fishing and swimming.
- Thirty percent of the native freshwater fish species in North
America are threatened, endangered, or of special concern.
- On average, we have built one dam a day every day since the
signing of the Declaration of Independence. (Bruce Babbitt,
Secretary of the Interior, 1993-2001)
- Fully 80% of all vertebrate wildlife in the Southwest depend
on riparian areas for at least half of their life. (National
- Of the 1200 species listed as threatened or endangered, 50%
depend on rivers and streams. (National Park Service)(National
- At least 123 freshwater species became extinct during the
20th century. These include 79 invertebrates, 40 fishes, and
4 amphibians. (There may well have been other species that were
never identified.) (National Park Service)
- Freshwater animals are disappearing five times faster than
land animals. (National Park Service)
- In the Pacific Northwest, over 100 stocks and subspecies
of salmon and trout have gone extinct and another 200 are at
risk due to a host of factors, dams and the loss of riparian
habitat being prime factors. (National Park Service)
Alternate Scripture Readings:
One or more of the following readings could be used
in place of those specified in the lectionary:
- Genesis 2: 10-14
- Psalm 46: 4-7
- Ecclesiastes 1: 7
- Isaiah 43: 19-21; 44:1-3
In place of or in addition to a scripture reading,
you may use an alternative reading. We offer these for your
in Australia and a prayer of hope
A Christian Science perspective
by Beverley Beddoes-Mills, January 6,
... At the beginning
of this new year, my heart goes out to my fellow Australians
confined in evacuation centers, homeless, without all
those special possessions that bring comfort and joy and
a sense of belonging. These people are facing an uncertain
future and have before them the heartbreaking task of
trying to restore their homes and lives after the flood
has receded. Our prayers are needed to support them in
these challenges. ...
(complete article found online,
© The Christian Science Monitor. All Rights Reserved)
"Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river
runs through it. The river was cut by the world's great
flood and runs over rocks from the basement of time. On
some of the rocks are timeless raindrops. Under the rocks
are the words, and some of the words are theirs.
I am haunted by waters."
~Norman Maclean, A River Runs Through
It and Other Stories; found on GoodReads.com
Some additional readings can be found in Earth
Prayers From around the World: 365 Prayers, Poems, and Invocations
for Honoring the Earth, Edited by Elizabeth Roberts and
Elias Amidon; Published by Harper Colllins. The readings below
(with their authors noted) may fit within this topic.
| Allah Renee Bozarth
|Mary Rogers - Gaelic
|Pierre Teilhard de Chardin*
| Irish Blessing*
* Useful asa litany
or adapted to Prayers of tje People
Yukon River from the air, 2002
There is a large selection of
creation-related hymns found on the MEESC Listing of Creation
and Environmental Music.
To be added
Prayer for Those Affected by
God of compassion,
You created a world for us
To know your love and peace
Yet amidst the beauty of creation
We encounter pain and hurt
And forces beyond our control.
At times like this our hearts are shaken and ache with sorrow
At the destruction of our lives, homes and livelihoods.
Hear our prayers for those affected by the floods
And for all those working
To bring relief and fresh hope.
of Prayer and Reflection for Flood Victims, Copyright ©
2011 The Trustees of the Roman Catholic Church for the Archdiocese
Some discussion topics:
- What are your local rivers? Are they the source of your drinking
water? How does Scripture help us to understand the place of
water in our society and in our worship?
- Do your storm drains flow into your river? What is your town/county/state
doing to protect you from the run-off?
- How can I be a more just, sharing steward of the fresh water
sources around me?
- As we look at the annual flooding in Minnesota, how will the
survivors be fed, clothed, housed, given water, be wrapped around
with new communities, and warmly challenged to hope again?
- One can apply a variant of the Gospel Based Discipleship questions
to almost any reading or situation:
A. What particularly jumps out at you or gets your attention?
B. What is this reading/information/situation saying to us?
C. What is this reading/information/situation calling us to
Revised Common Lectionary Readings:
PDF Version of these notes:
Note: The Reflections and Notes for
this Sunday were prepared by the Rev Wanda Copeland, with
contributions from the Rev Margaret W. Thomas and the Rev