Brooks: The Star Wars Prayer
Justin Brooks (email)
We are in a season of Christmas where we celebrate the Incarnation — that God came to this world in human form to redeem it and bring it back to himself. As we walk through this season, I would like to draw attention to a passage in one of my favorite Eucharistic prayers.
There is a somewhat quirky prayer in the Book Of Common Prayer called “Eucharistic Prayer C.” It is one of the more congregationally responsive prayers and there is a passage that I love which says:
“At your command all things came to be: the vast expanse of interstellar space, galaxies, suns, the planets in their courses, and this fragile earth, our island home.”
This particular passage is what gave this prayer its unfortunate (or awesome, depending on your point of view) nickname of “The Star Wars Prayer.” Yes, it does mention celestial bodies that would give one a knee-jerk reaction to dub it so. I can hear John Williams’ iconic theme now. But let’s take a closer look.
At his command, this earth came to be, which this prayer describes as “fragile.” Things that are fragile need to be handled gently and with care. Fragile things are usually entrusted to someone to keep safe. They are kept on display as a thing of beauty or meticulously maintained so that it can be properly cared for that the ages may enjoy.
The author also states that it is an island home. So far as we know, we are the only intelligent life-forms that bear the image of God in this universe. As far as we know. I love the lyric from the Jesus-movement artist, Larry Norman, in his song, “UFO” which says, “If there’s life on other planets, then I’m sure that he must know; and he’s been there once already and has died to save their souls.” If we are the only known image bearers of God in this universe, on a planet created by God that needs to be handled and cared for as one would a precious heirloom, then what an amazing responsibility! When Jesus taught his followers how to pray, he prayed that God’s kingdom would come and his will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. Here. Now.
The question we need to ask ourselves as followers of Christ is, “How are we to be the bearers of the image of God in this fragile world where the beauty of it can be consumed by chaos instead of shalom (when all is at peace and as it should be)?” How appropriate that this prayer is part of one that requires the most verbal response from the congregation. It is a prayer that demands action; a response from us.
As we prayed through what our next musical offering from Uptown would be, we looked to several canticles in the hymnbook and BCP. Therein we found songs of redemption; prayers asking creation to praise the Maker of this earth with all that is in it. There are songs proclaiming that it is God who saves and restores, therefore we will trust and not be afraid. As this project came together, the title most fitting for it was “Songs From Earth, Our Island Home.” Our holy and gracious Father made us for himself. We are called to respond, to be a light in the darkness, to seek out ways to love our neighbors, take care of creation, and prepare for him to come back to earth to restore it to shalom.