Litanies and responsive readings




God the Creator Liturgy

-John VanOene

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Service for Outdoor Worship

-Rebecca De Vries

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Litanies and responsive readings

Litany for Creation and Call to Worship

◦ to be used in an outdoor worship gathering ◦ for two voices ◦ written by David Schelhaas, 2014 ◦

◦ based on: Psalms 19, 23, 104, 118; Song of Solomon 2; Matthew 6; Job 39; Habakkuk 2 ◦


Speaker 1:      This is the day that the Lord has made,

Speaker 2:      let us rejoice and be glad in it.

Speaker 1:      The heavens declare the glory of God--

Speaker 2:      not in words but in a glorious technicolor light show,

                        every day shouts in wordless language that God, Almighty God, made it all.

Speaker 1:      “Morning has broken, like the first morning,

                        blackbird has spoken, like the first bird.

                        Praise for the singing, praise for the morning,

                        praise for them springing, fresh from above.” (Eleanor Farjeon)

Speaker 2:      Blackbird has spoken and the voice of the turtle dove is heard in the land.

Speaker 1:      Look at the birds of the heaven, Jesus says in his Sermon,

take a lesson from them.

Speaker 2:      Consider the stork, God says to Job.

When she spreads her feathers to run, she laughs at horse and rider.

Speaker 1:      One of our old confessions tells us that

                        “the universe lies before our eyes like a beautiful book

                        in which all creatures, great and small, are as letters

            to make us ponder the invisible things of God” (Belgic Confession).

Speaker 2:      Jesus says, “Consider the lilies” to make us ponder the invisible things of God--

                        his providential care and his love of beautiful things.

Speaker 1:      When Jesus walked the earth,

Speaker 2:      he walked the earth!

Speaker 1:      His feet were dirty with the dust of the earth.

                        His sermon illustrations were about flowers and trees and seeds

                        and vineyards and birds and fish and sheep and goats and pigs.

Speaker 2:      The Psalmist lies down in green pastures beside still waters

and he finds peace.

Speaker 1:      He imagines God dressed up in sunshine

with all heaven stretched out for his tent.

Speaker 2:      He imagines God laughing as his pet dragon, the leviathan, frolics in the sea.

Speaker 1:      And he exclaims, “What a wildly wonderful world, God!

The glory of the Lord, let it last forever.”

Speaker 2:      We are gathered here this morning, on this green pasture

with the tent of the sky stretched above us,

to worship the creator of the universe.

Speaker 1:      The Lord is in his holy temple

Speaker 2:      and that temple is the whole blooming creation.

Speaker 1:      The Lord is in his holy temple,

Speaker 2:      let all the earth keep silence before him.

Speaker 1:      Let’s say it together:

Congregation:             The Lord is in his holy temple, let all the earth keep silence before him.

(moment of silence)

-David Schelhaas

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Responsive reading: Psalm 19 and the 10 Commandments

Speaker 1:      And the Lord spoke all these words: I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. You shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them.

Congregation: The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.

Speaker 2:      Creator God the beauty of the world astounds us. We see your hand at work in your creation and we praise you. We bow down and we worship you alone. Not the earth, not any other source of goodness. For all goodness points back to you.

Speaker 1:      “You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.

Congregation: Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge. They have no speech, they use no words; no sound is heard from them. Yet their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world.

Speaker 2:      Your creation declares your praise and we too as created beings know that we should do the same. Forgive us for the times we become our own creators. No other creature is worthy of the honor of being called “Lord.” Forgive us as well when we fail to join the rest of your creation in declaring your praise.

Speaker 1:      “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.

Congregation: In the heavens God has pitched a tent for the sun. It is like a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, like a champion rejoicing to run his course. It rises at one end of the heavens and makes its circuit to the other; nothing is deprived of its warmth.

Speaker 2:      You, Lord, gave us seasons to govern the year. You gave us rhythms and patterns to govern our days and nights. Forgive us when we try to manufacture our own schedules in a way that fosters more production but not enough rest. Forgive us, too, when we fail to let your creation have its own times of rest.

Speaker 1:      “Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.

 “You shall not murder.

“You shall not commit adultery.

“You shall not steal.

Congregation: The law of the Lord is perfect, refreshing the soul. The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple.

Speaker 2:      Your law is perfect and designed for our thriving and flourishing. Forgive us for the times we find it constricting and try to find ways around it. For your law is not a punishment, it is a gift.

Speaker 1:      “You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.

Congregation: The precepts of the Lord are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the Lord are radiant, giving light to the eyes. The fear of the Lord is pure, enduring forever. The decrees of the Lord are firm, and all of them are righteous.

Speaker 2:      Your law is right and designed to give us joy. You teach us to remain true to your Word, allowing your teachings to plant themselves deep in our hearts so that we may grow in your grace.

Speaker 1:      “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.”

Congregation: Your decrees are more precious than gold, than much pure gold; they are sweeter than honey, than honey from the honeycomb.

Speaker 2:      We look around at your creation and see that you have already given us incomparably more than we could ask for or imagine. Help us to live content with your gifts, not always in search for more.

Congregation: By them your servant is warned; in keeping them there is great reward. But who can discern their own errors? Forgive my hidden faults. Keep your servant also from willful sins; may they not rule over me.

Speaker 1:      Then I will be blameless, innocent of great transgression. May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.

-Katie Roelofs

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Spoken word: Lord of all Creation

Oh Lord of all Creation,

Of water, earth and sky.

The Heavens are Your tabernacle,

  but we've made the earth groan and sigh

With the abuse of our consumption,

  our waste lots and want more.


We love you oh Lord,

  our maker and our Creator.

We love you,

  but we need a refresher

  on loving our neighbor.


Let us see with our eyes,

  and feel with our hearts,

  and live through our actions -

A repentance of the hurt that we've caused

  Your believed creation.

  Let us be humble in these confessions.


Whether we use plastic or edible plates,

  to-go cups or a battered Contigo,

Help us to graciously show,

And invite ALL our community into

  this act of restoration of creation with unity.


-Julie Heisey

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