Our ecumenical companion site, www.LetAllCreationPraise.org , is maintained by long-time supporter and fellow Lutheran restoring creation, Nick Utphall. This site is an online library of commentaries, hymns, worship samples and devotions which speak to a wide variety of Christian faiths. Rev. Utphall is pastor at Madison Christian Community in Wisconsin. Check out their site for more testimonials of working together to celebrate all of God’s gifts.
Download, read, and share widely this brief reflection from active disciple, Dr. Johan Bergh. In his piece, published in the Trinity Review (2013), Bergh relates the framework of grace and neighbor love with how we are to understand the role of public action in our church. Read more recent reflections on his blog: www.greengracepostings.blogspot.com
“God does not need our good works, but our neighbor does.” – Martin Luther
Download the six-page excerpt from Trinity Seminary Review here: Johan-Bergh-Published-Journal-Article-Luther-as-Environmentalist.pdf
Dr. Johan Bergh, ACC
Johan serves as Pastor for St. Philip Lutheran Church, Mt. Dora, FL., and is an International Coach Federation ACC Coach, ELCA Coach and Coach Mentor and ELCA Licensed Coach Trainer. He volunteers his service by coaching ELCA leaders and mentoring ELCA Coach-In-Training rostered leaders. He currently serves as Coaching Ministry Coordinator for the Florida-Bahamas Synod and serves on the ELCA Churchwide Coaching Ministry Team as well as a level II Natural Church Development Coach. He earned his Doctor of Ministry degree from the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia in 2006 with a concentration in Discipleship and Leadership (M.Div., Trinity Lutheran Seminary, Columbus, OH 1981). His Bachelor of Science, Natural Resources, Environmental Interpretation (The Ohio State University) degree provides an environmental studies background for his current work as a Green Faith Fellow (www.Greenfaith.org)
He and his wife Janet have been married 39 years and have two adult daughters and two grandchildren. He enjoys golf, running, hiking, fitness exercise, reading, biking, spinning, and good friends!
-Life and Missional Coach: http://www.beinganddoingmatters.com
-Coaching Ministry Coordinator, Florida-Bahamas Synod, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America: http://www.fbsynod.com
•Opening Prayer: Gracious God, we have gathered here from many places. Thank you for safe travels. Bless this time together. Amen.
•Introductory discussion: Much of Jesus’ ministry took place on the way from one place to another. Thus, transportation is an important aspect of the Gospel stories.
What might inhibit us from thinking about transportation as an opportunity for living out our faith? (Isolation in cars? Transportation as simply a means of getting from here to there? Competition for road space? Stresses of traffic? “Road rage”? Etc.)
•Reading and discussion: Read Luke 24:13-32 (The Road to Emmaus).
Why do you think the disciples fail to recognize Jesus?
What does it mean to meet Jesus on the way from place to place?
How can we understand the meaning of this story in light of car culture?
•Reading and discussion: Read Luke 10:29-37 (The Good Samaritan). Jesus regularly taught with parables like this one.
Why do you think the priest and the Levite neglected to help the suffering man? (On the way to an important engagement? No time to spare? Social expectations?)
How can we understand the meaning of this story in light of car culture? How might we identify the neighbor given current transportation habits?
•Reflection: What would it take to be faithful on the way from place to place?
How might we reconsider our transportation habits to provide for more opportunities to encounter Christ, to encounter the neighbor?
Do we have nonhuman neighbors? How does our mode of transportation affect how we encounter them?
•Closing Prayer: Gracious God, we thank you for your vast creation, of which we are a part. Hold your creation in mercy and love. Amen.
Develop standard openings or vary it each week. Include it as a formal or an informal component of worship
Invoke the presence of the God of all creation. “We call upon the God of all creation to be present this day.” “We invoke the presence of God who created . . [ here you may list diverse domains of creation such as mountains, rivers, sky, forest or you may list specific creatures and places].
Invitation: Invite all creation to worship or invite humans to join the choir of all creation in praise of God. You may be concrete by inviting domains or even the plants and animals on your church grounds or in your geographical region.
Include at least one statement of confession that addresses our degradation and misuse of creation.
Introduction to scripture readings and the Psalm:
In the preface to scripture, encourage people to note the elements of the lessons that relate to nature as a whole.
Indicate in the preface to the prayers that you are including prayers “for all creation.”
Include at least one prayer of Thanksgiving for creation and a petition on behalf of the natural world (recent disaster, endangered species, people at risk from environment). Be specific about land and waterways in your area.
Commission people to “Go in peace. Serve the Lord, Remember the poor. Care for creation.” Or “Tend the Earth.”