A MULTI-FAITH NETWORK
COMMITTED TO ACTION
ON CLIMATE CHANGE

Multi-Faith Sacred Space prayers

Prepared for the occasion of the Peoples' Blockade of the Port of Newcastle, for a service held on Sunday, 7.30 am on 26th November, 2023, on the beautiful Horseshoe Beach, Newcastle, NSW.

Reflective music by Rosemary Ponnekanti

Welcome 

Thea Ormerod, ARRCC President: The Australian Religious Response to Climate Change (ARRCC) and the host community of Rising Tide warmly welcome everyone to this Sacred Space today! We especially welcome any First Nations people. We welcome any guests who may be new to Multi-Faith spaces, and clergy and everyone who has travelled a long way to get here this morning.

Acknowledgment of Country

We begin by acknowledging the Awabakal and Worimi peoples are the Traditional Custodians of the land and waters around us today, who took care of the environment with such wisdom. We lament with sorrow that this land was never ceded, nor was there ever any Treaty made. We pay our respects to Awabakal and Worimi Elders past and present and young leaders now emerging and we stand with them in their ongoing, courageous struggle for their human rights and protection of Country. 

Brief reflection on why we are here today.

 

Jewish prayer 

By Rabbi Arthur Waskow, author, political and social activist, educator, founder and director of The Shalom Center, Philadelphia, and writer of the Freedom Seder. Creative Commons Copyright (c) 2020 by The Shalom Center. Freely use with inclusion of this notice. 

You Who are the Interbreathing Spirit of all life,
You Who are the “still small Voice”
Who whispers breath into all living —
We hear You coughing, choking,
As we flood all Earth with burning smoke of carbon.
We hear You coughing, choking,
As human throats breathe in a virus
That comes as a plague to all of us —
Worse for those who already live on margins —
And as a warning to our pharaohs. ……

We count the hottest years of human history
That bring upon us
Melted ice fields. Flooded cities.
Scorching droughts. Murderous wildfires.
Before us we among all life-forms

Face the nightmare of a Flood of Fire,
The heat and smoke that could consume all Earth.
Yet with Your help, O Breath of life,
We come to douse that outer all-consuming fire.
To light again in our own hearts
The inner fire that burned in the Burning Bush –
The fire that did not consume the Bush it burned in.
And to hear the inner Voice that breathed a whisper
Of love and liberation amidst the inner flame:
For Love and Breath are strong as death —
Love’s fire that breathes in the heart of all Creation
To ease Your Breath throughout Your Earth.

We vow to make from inner fire
Not an all-consuming blaze
But the loving light in which we see more clearly
The Rainbow Covenant glowing
in the many-colored faces of all life.

 

Oh Allah — You are the Creator, the All-Powerful, the Sustainer of all life.

This du’a was inspired and adapted from a prayer provided by The Sanctuary Centre. 

Forgive us for being careless with Your earth
  that you created in perfect measure and balance.
Forgive us for not recognising the wisdom
  in the Creation of every species.
Forgive us for taking and using your Creation
  to satisfy our selfish desires, rather than our needs.
Forgive us for being indifferent to the consequences
  of our treatment of Your Creation.
Forgive our greed and carelessness,
  which has altered the perfect measure and balance You created
  and has caused many of our Brothers and Sisters in humanity to suffer.
Please forgive us Ya-Ghaffar (O All-Forgiving One). …..

Oh Allah, protect the people living with the effects of
  climate change now and give them strength.
Give patience and strength to those facing rising temperatures,
  drought, water shortages, unpredictable weather, failed crops,
  flooding, land loss and salination of vital water supplies.

Oh Allah allow all people everywhere to recognise
  the importance of protecting and maintaining
Your Creation. Allow our politicians and leaders to act
  in the best interests of all nations today,
  and all people in the future, in order to avoid catastrophic changes.

Oh Allah please allow a generation of leaders who will be willing to act justly
  so that those who have contributed so little to the problems we are facing,
  and have fewer resources with which to face it, are not left to shoulder our burden. …..

Oh Allah, Help us to tread lightly and use wisely,
Valuing the needs of others, and of Creation, above our own desires.
Challenge us where we need to change our lifestyles,
Convict us when we need to speak out on behalf of a voiceless people, or world
And soften us where we have stood in judgement of others.

Oh Allah, change us and use us in ways you are pleased with,
For the restoration of your world, and the protection of all your children.

Amin

 

Christian prayer

Reading from Isaiah 41:17-20

The poor and needy search for water,
    but there is none;
    their tongues are parched with thirst.
But I the Lord will answer them;
    I, the God of Israel, will not forsake them.
18 I will make rivers flow on barren heights,
    and springs within the valleys.
I will turn the desert into pools of water,
    and the parched ground into springs.
19 I will put in the desert
    the cedar and the acacia, the myrtle and the olive.
I will set junipers in the wasteland,
    the fir and the cypress together,
20 so that people may see and know,
    may consider and understand,
that the hand of the Lord has done this,
    that the Holy One of Israel has created it.

Litany for the Earth

By Fran Pratt

God, we lament the destruction that has been done
That we have permitted to be done
By our silence and inaction
And by our direct action
To the Earth - Your creation.
Forgive us, Oh God.

Even now we realize that our home
Is suffering
Its inhabitants are suffering
From lack of clean water and air
     Lack of life-giving nourishment
     Lack of safe habitat.

Help us to become aware
     Of the needs of humanity,
     Of the needs of generations to come,
     Of the needs of soil and creatures.

We acknowledge that we have a chance:
     To choose peace over profit
     To choose activity over complacency
     To choose a Greater Good over today’s convenience.

Arouse in us a new compassion,
A new willingness to change,
A new excitement to foster community,
A new faith in the abundance of your Kingdom.
A new zeal for establishing the Peace and Justice of God,
A new desire to set the Earth to rights
A new understanding of the connectedness of all things,
A new appreciation of the gift of Earth.

Amen

 

Buddhist

Prayer for Our Natural Environment

By Venerable Master Hsing Yun, founder of the Fo Guang Shan Buddhist order.(Source: Yale Forum on Religion and Ecology website)

Oh great, compassionate Buddha!
Please let us and our future generations:
Be able to play with fireflies
Under the radiance of star-brimmed skies;
Be able to sing and dance with great nature
On the shore of an emerald sea;
Be able to enjoy fresh air
In the thick forests of towering trees;
And be able to grow together with all things under the sun
On a field that extends out far beyond the horizon.

This is not just for the natural environment,
But also for the hometowns of humankind;
This is not just for the earth’s existence,
But also for our future generations.

Please grant us tender hands
To soothe all sentient beings on earth;
Please grant us ears that listen attentively
To the wondrous sounds of the world and natural phenomena;
Please grant us bright and keen eyes
To discover the limitless treasures of the universe;
Please grant us compassionate hearts
To preserve the ecology of our world.

 

Reflective music by Rosemary Ponnekanti

 

Concluding prayers for COP28 & for the success of our work here 

by Lindsey Fielder Cook (adapted) - a Quaker, Member of the Interfaith Liaison Committee to the UNFCCC, UN Office Representative on Climate Change.

Leader: We, our voices from faith communities across Australia, join in prayer and meditation for meaningful decisions and intention for urgent co-action at the climate conference (COP28).

People: May it be so.

We pray for courage and compassion to transform those human activities destroying nature and altering the climate system on which our lives depend.

People: May it be so.

We pray our hearts reject fear and embrace love, hope and transformation for a more healthy, safe, clean and sustainable world.

People: May it be so.

We pray for protection of climate activists and environmental defenders, who often risk their health, if not their lives, to break the silence.

People: May it be so.

We pray for protection of the poor and most vulnerable communities, those least responsible yet most affected by our insufficient climate action.

People: May it be so.

We pray the developed countries will lead in greenhouse gas emissions and climate finance, as they promised in the Paris Agreement, and now Loss and Damage Finance.

People: May it be so.

We pray leaders in all countries will do all they can to rapidly reduce extraction and burning of fossil fuels, and promote sustainable economic, social and political systems to stabilize global temperature rise at 1.5C above pre-industrial levels.

People: May it be so.

We pray that developed countries meet their promise of 100 billion dollars a year to help developing countries implement climate action, money in the form of grants rather than loans.

People: May it be so.

We pray for human rights and Indigenous People’s Rights to be included and better protected, including protection of these rights in carbon trading schemes.

People: May it be so.

We pray that the courageous work of citizens at this Peoples’ Blockade bears much fruit – in winning the hearts and minds of our elected leaders, corporate leaders and everyday Australians.

People: May it be so.

We pray that the Australian Government commits to phasing out the export of coal and fossil gas and, at the same time, an equitable, orderly transition to a sustainable economy, one which is dependent on renewable energy.

People: May it be so.

We pray that the city of Newcastle will be transformed from the world’s largest coal port to a hub of prosperity offering many job opportunities in sustainable industries.

People: May it be so.

 

SONG - (Tune: Amazing Grace)

(If there’s time and the mood is right)

Amazing Grace! How sweet the sound
When we can truly say,
How we’ll rejoice and earth be glad,
That coal is dead today.

When coal is burnt, the air’s befouled,
And living systems die,
The ice caps melt, the seas will rise,
The tipping point is nigh.

So keep coal dead, and keep it buried,
Of it we’ve no more use.
The sun will shine, the wind will blow,
Death’s grip will be less sure.

Amazing Grace that coal has died,
We’ll leave it in the ground.
The earth is saved, the air’s more clear
Reprieved from climate change.

 

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