In celebration of summertime, here’s a liturgy from Every Moment Holy, Vol. 1 about planting flowers and glimpsing the beauty of creation in both its birth and its completion. To download the liturgy as a PDF, visit EveryMomentHoly.com/liturgies.
Prepare the bed for planting. Once the soil is prepared, each participant cradles in their palm one of the unplanted flowers, bulbs, or flower seeds.
Leader: In a world shadowed by cruelty,
violence and loss, is there good reason for
the planting of flowers?
People: Ah, yes!
For these bursts of color
and beautiful blooms
are bright dabs of grace,
and witnesses to a promise,
reminders of a spreading beauty
more eternal, and therefore stronger,
than any evil, than any grief,
than any injustice or violence.
What is the source of their beauty?
From whence does it spring?
The forms of these flowers
are the intentional designs
of a Creator who has not abandoned
his broken and rebellious creation,
but has instead wholly given himself
to the work of redeeming it.
He has scattered the evidences
of creation’s former glories
across the entire scape of heaven and earth,
and these evidences are also foretastes
of the coming redemption of all things,
that those who live in this hard time between glories
might see and remember,
might see and take heart,
might see and take delight
in the extravagant beauty of bud and bloom,
knowing that these living witnesses are
rumors and reminders of a joy that will
soon swallow all sorrow.
In the planting of these flowers, do we join
the Creator in his work of heralding
this impending joy?
In this and in all labors
of beauty and harmony,
praise and conciliation,
we become God’s co-workers
and faithful citizens of his kingdom,
by acts both small and great, bearing witness
to the perfect beauty that was,
to the ragged splendor that yet is,
and to the hope of the greater glory
that is to come,
which is the immeasurable glory
of God revealed to us,
in the redeemed natures of all things.
Participants here kneel and plant the seed, bulb, or flower they have been holding.
What then is the eternal weight of these flowers?
Though our eyes yet strain to see it so,
these tiny seeds, bulbs, or velvet buds
we have planted are more substantial
than all the collected evils of this groaning world.
Their color and beauty speak a truer word
than all greed and cruelty
and suffering and harm.
What is the truer word spoken by these flowers?
Though our eyes yet strain to see it so, these tiny seeds, bulbs, or velvet buds we have planted are more substantial than all the collected evils of this groaning world.Doug McKelvey
They are like a banner planted on a hilltop,
proclaiming God’s right ownership of these lands
long unjustly claimed by tyrants and usurpers.
They are a warrant and a witness,
each blossom shouting from the earth
that death is a lie,
that beauty and immortality
are what we were made for.
They are heralds of a restoration that will
forever mend all sorrow and comfort all grief.
They declare a kingdom of peace,
of righteousness, of joy, of love,
and of the great joining of justice and mercy
into a splendored perfection in the person of a
king whose amaranthine wonders eternally upwell,
beautiful beyond the grasp
of human imagination.
How will these brief blooms accomplish such mighty labors? What grace will sustain them?
Because their work is so great, we pray,
O Father, your blessing on these small
flowers. May their roots work deep,
finding rich soil. May their leaves and buds
be wakened by gentle sun and watered by ample rain.
May the strength of their fragile beauty in bloom
give pause to passers-by, who will meet in their sweet scent
and radiant forms whisperings of grace,
stirrings of the spirit, and the awakenings of eternal hungers,
that can be met and satisfied only in you.
Let these flowers, O Lord, bear witness in their deepest natures to eternal things.
Let our lives also, O Lord, do the same.