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Week 3 – Thursday

One family in Christ...for all the family: Loving, Serving, Growing

The fields are devastated, the ground mourns; for the grain is destroyed, the wine dries up, the oil fails.

Reading

Joel 1.2-4, 10-14
Hear this, O elders,
    give ear, all inhabitants of the land!
Has such a thing happened in your days,
    or in the days of your ancestors?
Tell your children of it,
    and let your children tell their children,
    and their children another generation.

What the cutting locust left,
    the swarming locust has eaten.
What the swarming locust left,
    the hopping locust has eaten,
and what the hopping locust left,
    the destroying locust has eaten.
 

10 The fields are devastated,
    the ground mourns;
for the grain is destroyed,
    the wine dries up,
    the oil fails.

11 Be dismayed, you farmers,
    wail, you vine-dressers,
over the wheat and the barley;
    for the crops of the field are ruined.
12 The vine withers,
    the fig tree droops.
Pomegranate, palm, and apple—
    all the trees of the field are dried up;
surely, joy withers away
    among the people.

13 Put on sackcloth and lament, you priests;
    wail, you ministers of the altar.
Come, pass the night in sackcloth,
    you ministers of my God!
Grain-offering and drink-offering
    are withheld from the house of your God.

14 Sanctify a fast,
    call a solemn assembly.
Gather the elders
    and all the inhabitants of the land
to the house of the Lord your God,
    and cry out to the Lord.

Reflection

Failures of justice and of care to places and peoples over time destroy lives and landscapes, and God’s creation is grief-stricken with the exploitation and loss. The earth witnesses to the sins of humanity.

St Paul speaks of creation groaning like a woman in labour and that it longs to be set free (Romans 8.22). We too mourn for our planet and long for its health. As children of God let us repent and turn to life.

Action

So much news today reports bad things happening to our planet, yet most people do care. Pray for those leading positive change and encourage environmental action by your own local church community.

Prayer

When through the woods and forest glades I wander
And hear the birds sing sweetly in the trees;
When I look down from lofty mountain grandeur,
And hear the brook, and feel the gentle breeze:

Then sings my soul, my Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art! How great Thou art!

From “O Lord my God!”,
by Stuart K. Hine (1899-1989)

Family Challenge

Pray for people leading action on the environment
Pray for those who are working hard to encourage changes that will help to tackle climate change and conserve the natural world.

Reflections from the Church House Publishing booklet #LiveLent: Care for God’s Creation – A 40-Day Challenge inspired and informed by the Archbishop of Canterbury’s 2020 Lent book Saying Yes to Life by Ruth Valerio (SPCK) are copyright 2020 The Archbishops’ Council and used here with permission. Full details of both resources are available on the Church of England website.

Bible readings are taken from The New Revised Standard Version (Anglicized Edition), copyright 1989, 1995 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. All rights reserved.