Creation Reading
(From Our World Belongs to God 1-10)

  1. As followers of Jesus Christ,
    living in this world—
    which some seek to control,
    and others view with despair—
    we declare with joy and trust:
    Our world belongs to God!
  1. From the beginning,
    through all the crises of our times,
    until the kingdom fully comes,
    God keeps covenant forever:
    Our world belongs to God!
    God is King: Let the earth be glad!
    Christ is victor: his rule has begun!
    The Spirit is at work: creation is renewed!
    Hallelujah! Praise the Lord!
  1. Still, despair and rebellious pride fill the earth:
    some, crushed by failure
    or broken by pain,
    give up on life and hope and God;
    others, shaken,
    but still hoping for human triumph,
    work feverishly to realize their dreams.
    As believers in God,
    we also struggle with the spirits of this age,
    resisting them in the power of the Spirit,
    testing them by God’s sure Word.
  1. Our world, fallen into sin,
    has lost its first goodness,
    but God has not abandoned the work of his hands:
    our Maker preserves this world,
    sending seasons, sun, and rain,
    upholding all creatures,
    renewing the earth,
    promising a Savior,
    guiding all things to their purpose.
  1. God holds this world
    with fierce love.
    Keeping his promise,
    he sends Jesus into the world,
    pours out the Holy Spirit,
    and announces the good news:
    sinners who repent and believe in Jesus
    live anew as members of the family of God—
    the firstfruits of a new creation.
  1. We rejoice in the goodness of God,
    renounce the works of darkness,
    and dedicate ourselves to holy living.
    As covenant partners,
    set free for joyful obedience,
    we offer our hearts and lives
    to do God’s work in the world.
    With tempered impatience,
    eager to see injustice ended,
    we expect the Day of the Lord.
    We are confident
    that the light
    which shines in the present darkness
    will fill the earth
    when Christ appears.
    Come, Lord Jesus.
    Our world belongs to you.
  1. Our world belongs to God—
    not to us or earthly powers,
    not to demons, fate, or chance.
    The earth is the Lord’s.
  1. In the beginning, God—
    Father, Word, and Spirit—
    called this world into being
    out of nothing,
    and gave it shape and order.
  1. God formed sky, land, and sea;
    stars above, moon and sun,
    making a world of color, beauty, and variety—
    a fitting home for plants and animals, and us—
    a place to work and play,
    worship and wonder,
    love and laugh.
    God rested
    and gave us rest.
    In the beginning
    everything was very good.
  1. Made in God’s image
    to live in loving communion with our Maker,
    we are appointed earthkeepers and caretakers
    to tend the earth, enjoy it,
    and love our neighbors.
    God uses our skills
    for the unfolding and well-being of his world
    so that creation and all who live in it may flourish.

The Fall – Responsive Reading
(From Our World Belongs to God 43 (1986 Version) & Climate Prayer)

Leader: Creator God, we declare with joy and trust that our world belongs to you. For the fierce love with which you hold us and the rest of your creation, we declare

People: Our world belongs to God

Leader: For creation’s awesome beauty and its bountiful provision, we declare

People: Our world belongs to God

Leader: For the manifold ways it reveals your glory and draws us closer to you, we declare

People: Our world belongs to God

Leader: Amidst its present groaning, we declare

People: Our world, broken and scarred, still belongs to God

Leader: We grieve that the church which shares one Spirit, one faith, one hope and spans all time, place, race and language has become a broken communion in a broken world. Even so, we declare

People: Our world belongs to God

Leader: When our pride or blindness blocks the unity of God’s household, we seek forgiveness and remind ourselves anew

People: Our world belongs to God

Leader: We marvel that the Lord gathers the broken pieces to do his work and that he blesses us still with joy, unity and purpose. Together we declare,

People: Our world belongs to God.

Redemption Reading
John 1:1-18 (NIV)

1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4 In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

6 There was a man sent from God whose name was John. 7 He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all might believe. 8 He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light.

9 The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. 11 He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. 12 Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— 13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.

14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

15 (John testified concerning him. He cried out, saying, “This is the one I spoke about when I said, ‘He who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.’”) 16 Out of his fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given. 17 For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and[b] is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known.

Renewal Reading
Revelations 21:1-7 (MSG)

1 I saw Heaven and earth new-created. Gone the first Heaven, gone the first earth, gone the sea.

2 I saw Holy Jerusalem, new-created, descending resplendent out of Heaven, as ready for God as a bride for her husband.

3-5 I heard a voice thunder from the Throne: “Look! Look! God has moved into the neighborhood, making his home with men and women! They’re his people, he’s their God. He’ll wipe every tear from their eyes. Death is gone for good—tears gone, crying gone, pain gone—all the first order of things gone.” The Enthroned continued, “Look! I’m making everything new. Write it all down—each word dependable and accurate.”

6-7 Then he said, “It’s happened. I’m A to Z. I’m the Beginning, I’m the Conclusion. From Water-of-Life Well I give freely to the thirsty. Conquerors inherit all this. I’ll be God to them, they’ll be sons and daughters to me.

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