United Church of Christ

Living Psalm 51 - Ash Wednesday

Living Psalms Book

Psalms in the form of words and art, reborn in the specific contexts of our world, privileging the voices of historically marginalized communities and those acting in solidarity with them.

Living Psalm 51—Ash Wednesday
Confession for Creation Justice

To any leader. A Psalm of David, when he took what he wanted, uncaring of the death and damage it caused, which was great.

(responsive)
Have mercy on us, O God, 
with the love that shaped all creation,
for we confess that we have been the ones
who blotted out --
made endangered and extinct --
creatures of air and land
by destroying their habitats.

If there is any clean water left, wash us,
but only after the creatures 
of the oceans and lakes and rivers
return and are healed.

For we know our transgression --
we have torn off the tops of mountains
and our sin has fracked deep
into the very fissures of the earth.

Against you, melting your glaciers, we sin,
and we have done what is evil.
Wildfires rage across Australia, California, 
and the Amazon rainforest
and fox and koala and ocelot
judge us by their death.

Indeed, we are guilty against the newly born --
who will be eleven years-old,
when our greed changes their earth
beyond hope of repair.

You desire truth but we clutch lies
about the climate.
Help us repent so we can hear wisdom,
and make us wise enough to repent.

Let us not be clean,
but dirty in a community garden,

and wet with sweat 
because we have walked and biked,
taken buses instead of cars,
washed only with quick showers.

Let us taste the joy of locavores,
celebrate grizzly, wolf, gray whale, 
sea lion, panda,
who have come back to thriving.

Most of all -- let our hearts be stirred
not by what makes us wealthy in money
but what makes us wealthy in future.
Create in us a pure heart, O God,
and renew in us
the Spirit that hovers over your creation.

Then we will let our children teach us,
honor sacred lands of indigenous peoples,
open our lips for national parks
and our mouths for wildlife refuges.

Deliver us from being destroyers, O God,
and give us tongues that call for change.

For you have no delight 
when we pile abundance on abundance.
The gift that pleases you 
is one pollinator saved --
butterfly and bee, O God, is our acceptable prayer.

(for one voice)
Have mercy on us, O God, 
with the love that shaped all creation,
for we confess that we have been the ones
who blotted out --
made endangered and extinct --
creatures of air and land
by destroying their habitats.

If there is any clean water left, wash us,
but only after the creatures 
of the oceans and lakes and rivers
return and are healed.

For we know our transgression --
we have torn off the tops of mountains
and our sin has fracked deep
into the very fissures of the earth.

Against you, melting your glaciers, we sin,
and we have done what is evil,
so that wildfires rage across
Australia, California, 
and the Amazon rainforest
and the fox and koala and ocelot
judge us by their death.

Indeed, we are guilty against the newly born
who will be eleven years-old,
when our greed changes their earth
beyond hope of repair.

You desire truth, 
but we clutch lies about the climate.
Help us repent so we can hear wisdom,
and make us wise enough to repent.

Let us not be clean,
but dirty in a community garden,
and wet with sweat 
because we have walked and biked,
taken buses instead of cars,
cleaned ourselves with quick showers.

Let us taste the joy of locavores,
celebrate grizzly, wolf, gray whale, 
sea lion, panda,
who have come back to thriving.

Most of all -- let our hearts be stirred
not by what makes us wealthy in money
but what makes us wealthy in future.

Create in us a pure heart, O God,
and renew in us
the Spirit that hovers over your creation.

Then we will let our children teach us,
honor sacred lands of indigenous peoples,
open our lips for national parks
and our mouths for wildlife refuges.

Deliver us from being destroyers, O God,
and give us tongues that call for change.

For you have no delight 
when we pile abundance on abundance.
The gift that pleases you 
is one pollinator saved --
butterfly and bee, O God, is our acceptable prayer.

Living Psalm 51 for Ash Wednesday—for the Healing of Nature was written by The Rev.  Maren Tirabassi.

Living Psalms Book is created by UCC Witness & Worship Artists’ Group, a Network of UCC connected artists, activists and ministers bridging the worship and liturgy of the local church with witness and action in the community.  Maren Tirabassi, editor

Logo is detail from Living Psalm 80 by Sophia Beardemphl, Redwoods, CA. Recovering from significant bullying, Sophia, age nine, read Psalm 80 and thought of brokenness that needs mending. She drew this broken and mended bowl.

© Copyright 2020 Faith INFO Team, United Church of Christ, 700 Prospect Avenue, Cleveland, OH  44115-1100.  Permission granted to reproduce or adapt this material for use in services of worship or church education.  All publishing rights reserved.  

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