On Wednesday 14 August, I attended a spiritual interfaith prayer and meditation vigil which took place in Martin Place. It was organised by the Faith and Ecology Network (FEN), which is a group that discerns, fosters and advocates religious attitudes towards justice for the environment, on respecting our earth.
Noel Debien (ABC Radio Religion Department) was MC and called attention to the powerful message of shared concern expressed by the twelve faith traditions that took part. Meditations and prayers were led by representatives from the Aboriginal, Anglican, Shia Muslim, Uniting Church, Sikh, Buddhist, Catholic, Jewish, Sunni Muslim, Quaker and Hindu communities
The digiridoo playing, chanting, singing and spoken prayers and poems blended beautifully together. The Peace Angels (a group of people dedicated to anchoring and celebrating peace throughout the world) used dance as a meditation.
It was good to see the representatives of the different faiths in their traditional dress surrounded by the Peace Angels with their wings and flowing robes. The scene attracted many people who joined in the event.
Anne Lanyon and her team from FEN are to be congratulated for organizing an impressive and stirring interfaith event. The Uniting Church representative was the Revd Elenie Poulos, National Director, UnitingJustice of the Uniting Church in Australia. Her prayer For the Sake of the Planet and all its people: a prayer of confession - is attached.
God of all life,
in love you made us
in grace you sustain us:
but we have failed your sacred trust.
Lost in the worship of ourselves,
lost in greed and lost in power
we are destroying your sacred gifts to us.
All that lives,
the earth, the seas, the forests and the sky,
we are choking them all.
We plunder the earth to make money now
without care for those who will come after us.
We pollute the seas with the detritus of our limitless consumption
without thought for the extraordinary life of the oceans.
We tear down the forests to grow global industries
without consideration for the life and lives they support.
We fill the air with the pollutants of our drive for endless growth
without regard for the delicate balance of the planet’s climate.
God of grace,
forgive us our carelessness
forgive us our greed.
Restore to us a new spirit and
open us to your leading towards a new way of being.
Written by Wilma Viswanathan