Hymn for Earth Day: God’s Wisdom Calls to Us

A Hymn for Earth Day

This is a new hymn written for Earth Day. Sadly, because Earth Day (April 22), falls on Good Friday this year, it will be eclipsed by Holy Week in most church settings. But perhaps some churches will honor Earth Day in a worship setting on another day. If so, please feel free to use this hymn. (And please let me know if you do!) So far I’ve only heard this sung by my wife, but because it borrows such a familiar and inspiring tune I am sure it will sound strong and moving on the lips of an entire congregation.

You hear lots of echoes of the biblical creation tale, but also a pair of concluding verses that aim to unsettle, agitate, and inspire.

To help you hear it, I am linking to an mp3 clip of the tune (Battle Hymn of the Republic). Sing away! (You’ll need to “double-back” a couple times on the audio clip because I have the refrain set in my hymn to be sung after every two verses.)

God’s wisdom calls to us

In the hovering of the Spirit o’er the formless watery deep
In the Word the split the darkness, giving night and day their keep
In the ocean tides and valleys low and mountain ranges steep
God’s wisdom calls to us …

Through the teeming of the waters where the fish and dolphin dine
Through the greening of the forest where the winding ivies vine
Through the plants that in their goodness bear both fruit and flower fine
God’s wisdom calls to us …

Sacred is the earth created; sacred are the creatures also
Sacred are all peoples even; this wisdom be our cry.

On the breezes where the wing-ed birds with gracious joy do soar
On the grassland where the lions sound their regal mighty roar
In the musty mossy bear cave—in it’s hibernating snore
God’s wisdom calls to us …

In the whispered word of hope that dared to kiss the earthen clay
In the Breath that filled the lungs where our first kin in waiting lay
In the mys’try of our destiny to be imago Dei
God’s wisdom calls to us …

Sacred is the earth created; sacred are the creatures also
Sacred are all peoples even; this wisdom be our cry.

Now the fragile planet cries for help; the creatures loud lament
The flora and the fauna fade; the web of life is rent
The waters bleed with oil as their salty spray is spent
God’s wisdom calls to us …

Comes today the clarion call to claim our kinship with the earth
And to stem the rising poverty that marks too many-a birth
And to tell the monied forces of creation’s priceless worth
With wisdom let us stand …

Sacred is the earth created; sacred are the creatures also
Sacred are all peoples even; this wisdom be our cry.

Text: David R. Weiss, b. 1959 (text, © 2011 David R. Weiss)
Tune: American, 19th century, BATTLE HYMN (Battle Hymn of the Republic, Lutheran Book of Worship 332 – public domain)

Permission is given to photocopy God’s Wisdom Calls to Us for use in worship.

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