In honor of Earth Day, the service focused on the healing of Earth and the healing of humanity. The Bible tells of a God that forgives people for the crucifixion of Jesus. Can there also be forgiveness for the damage being done to Earth? Divine forgiveness is important to the healing process. Using a Vidui (a Jewish prayer of confession) for the twenty-first century, the congregation participated in a healing ritual:
We confess our sins against the earth.
We commit ourselves to saving it.
We have assaulted our planet in countless ways
We have blamed others for the spiraling, deepening crisis
We have consumed thoughtlessly and irresponsibly
We have driven myriad species to the point of extinction
We have exhausted irreplaceable resources
We have failed to transcend borders and act unselfishly
We have given in to our many appetites and our gluttony
We have harmed beyond repair the habitats of living beings
We have ignored the signs of change in our climate and our seasons
We have jeopardized the well-being of future generations
We have known the problem but left problem-solving to others
We have lost sight of our role as God’s partners in creation
We have mocked, cynically, those who love creatures great and small
We have neglected the environment, most of all, in places of poverty
We had over-populated our cities and over-fished our oceans
We have polluted seashore and sky, fertile soil and freshwater springs
We have questioned and doubted solid evidence of danger
We have ravaged the old growth forests – ecosystems created over centuries
We have spewed poison into the bloodstream of our land: its rivers, lakes, and estuaries
We have transformed dazzling beauty into industrial ugliness
We have used shared resources for personal gain and corporate profit
We have violated the commandment “Do not destroy”
We have wasted precious treasures, our God-given gifts
We have exploited the weakest and most vulnerable in our midst
And yet we yearn to be better guardians of this earth and the fullness thereof
Let us be zealous now to care for this unique corner of the cosmos, this planet – our sacred home.
Let us be zealous now to care for this unique corner of the cosmos –
We commit ourselves to the healing of the air.
We commit ourselves to the healing of the waters.
We commit ourselves to the healing of the forests, trees, and plants.
We commit ourselves to the healing of the healing and restoration of animal life. We commit ourselves to the healing of the earth.
We commit ourselves to the healing of humanity.