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Sun Seasons: Readings for Nature-loving Christians to Mark and Celebrate the Equinoxes & Solstices

January 25, 2020

Photo by Jim Woodard

 

We worship outdoors, and that allows us to notice nature. We see the changes of the season, and we have begun to mark the transitional moments, when days begin to shorten and lengthen, when night and day are in balance. These celestial moments correspond with moments in the worship cycles of most cultures throughout time and across the world, including the Christian calendar of celebrations. Below are some of the texts that we have found helpful in our marking of the year.

 

Our solstice and equinox service includes gathering, an invitation, a prayer, contemplative reading of scripture, contemplative walk (individual wandering in nature), sharing time, silence to watch the sunset together, blessing, and departing in silence. 

 

We offer this list of readings and Christian calendar dates in hope that they might be of use to your community or family or to you individually as you mark the seasons and deepen in awareness of creation and closeness to the Creator. 

 

Scriptural invitation to quiet: Psalm 46:10:

“Be still and know that I am God.”

 

Summer Solstice

John the Baptist June 24  

 

John 3:28-30 

 

Prayer (For those seeking deeper knowledge of God; Evangelical Lutheran Worship, ELW p. 76)

 

Word

From Zechariah’s song, from the time of John’s birth.

Luke 1:76-80

 

Fall Equinox

Hildegard of Bingen Sept 17 / Feast of Michael and All Angels Sept 29

 

Prayer from Hildegard of Bingen

Holy Spirit,
Comforting fire,
Life of all creation…
– Hildebard of Bingen (1098-1179AD)

 

 

Word

From Psalm 103 (The Message), from the readings for the Feast Day of Michael & All Angels

 

As far as sunrise is from sunset,
    God has separated us from our sins….

Song: “We Plough the Fields and Scatter” by Matthias Claudius, 1777, music Johann A.P. Schultz, 1800, English translation Jane Montgomery Campbell, 1862

 

Winter Solstice

4th Advent 

 

Prayer (“Sun, moon and stars: finding a way in the dark,” from The Healer’s Tree by Anna Heppenstall, Wild Goose Publications, 2011)

 

Invitation to light candles

from Celebrating the Seasonal Holy Days, by Waverley Fitzgerald

 

Word

John 1:1-5 

 

Reading

From Thomas Merton’s The Wisdom of the Desert, LXXII (Abbott Joseph and fire)

 

Prayer (from Evangelical Lutheran Worship)

Keep watch, dear Lord, with those who work watch or weep this night, and give your angels charge over those who sleep. Tend the sick, give rest to the weary, bless the dying, soothe the suffering, comfort the afflicted, shield the joyous; and all for your love’s sake. Amen. 

 

Spring Equinox

St. Patrick March 17 / Annunciation March 25

 

Lorica (prayer) of Patrick or St. Patrick’s Breastplate or The Deer’s Cry

Literal (whole) translation from Old Irish or The Deer`s Cry - modern (abbreviated) version

modern Irish song setting: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GGHWiAGpIP0

 

Word 

Luke 1:28-31, 38

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