Sun Seasons: Readings for Nature-loving Christians to Mark and Celebrate the Equinoxes & Solstic
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.”
John the Baptist June 24
Prayer (For those seeking deeper knowledge of God; Evangelical Lutheran Worship, ELW p. 76)
From Zechariah’s song, from the time of John’s birth.
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)
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
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
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.
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
Luke 1:28-31, 38