Crying from the Land

By Minwoo Oh

Opening prayer

The God of Land be with you.

And also be with you.

God, our Creator of heaven and earth,

We are blessed to be surrounded by the beauty of God’s creation.

We lift our prayer of gratitude as we are enchanted by earth.

We are awed by all the animals God created.

We lift our voices in Justice to God the Creator

From whom all blessings flow.

For the beauty of the earth, the mountains, and valleys,

You are always righteous, and we give you praise.

We recognize the seeds You have sown within us, taking root and flourishing into fruitful lives. Yet, there are times when our thoughts are distant from Your heart. You see and understand me deeply; You test my innermost feelings toward You. Guide those whose hearts are distant, leading them back to You with loving care.

[Pray in Silence]

Have mercy on us, God, according to your unfailing love according to your great compassion blot out my transgression. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin (Psalm 51:1-1).

God’s righteousness and goodness follow all creation all the days, and all God’s inherences will live in the house of God.

Scripture Reading: Jeremiah 12:7-13


In our current era, we’re ensnared in an ecological crisis, exacerbated by relentless military conflicts that seek to dominate land in the name of national security. The global repercussions of these conflicts are catastrophic for God’s creations. Amidst this turmoil, the Bible becomes a guiding light, offering invaluable wisdom on our relationship with God, the land, and our responsibility to love the world.

The book of Jeremiah echoes a poignant lament for a devastated land, where the prophet mourns, “How long will the land lie parched and the grass in every field be withered?” (Jeremiah 12:4). Jeremiah attributes this desolation to the consequences of wickedness. As humans, as we empathize with the natural world, we start to fathom its anguish and sorrow, recognizing this desolate landscape within the broader context of God’s story. This profound expression of the land’s sorrow serves as a poignant lesson on its deep lamentation.

Oh, Lord, how can I stop crying when all life within my embarrassment is dying? Animals, birds, and humans are all dying. Why did you not protect me when an outside military-dominated to destroy me? When they came over the hill, I was terrified. Why did you back them? Why did you provoke them when you weren’t able to protect me? Why did God become enraged and wield the sword? I don’t comprehend summoning foreign troops simply because God’s people did something wrong. It’s extremely resentful. 1

The land laments, questioning why God did not safeguard it from adversaries. Through this plaintive cry, our compassionate Lord mourns profoundly for God’s beloved inheritance—the Earth and its diverse inhabitants—all part of God’s divine creation. As this inheritance grieves, God’s sorrow deepens, lamenting humanity’s indifference to the widespread desolation of the land.

God commands the removal of those who occupied and devastated the land. Yet, amidst this judgment, a glimmer of hope emerges from God’s grace. God’s compassion will bring them back to their own inheritance and country.

The divine invitation is to restore unity with God’s inheritance, embracing all living beings. The land teaches us the absence of ‘your’ or ‘my’ sides; the Earth is one. God calls us to heed the wasteland’s voice and join in its lament.

As we witness the land’s suffering in the throes of human conflict, our hearts resonate with its lament. We fervently pray to become Christians brimming with hope for the land’s restoration, reflecting God’s boundless love that offers every being a chance for recovery. Just as God cherishes all creation, may we too embody this love and diligently work towards healing our wounded world.

Intercessional prayer

We pray for transformation in these lands, once soaked in the blood and tears of innocent lives lost in conflicts. May these places be reborn into sanctuaries, playgrounds of joy for children to thrive.

Comfort those separated by distances beyond their control, unable to share in each other’s lives. Let peace find its way to these lands, paving avenues for reconciliation and unity.

We humbly acknowledge that all lands belong to You. Forgive us for the bloodshed resulting from misplaced priorities in our nations, placing value on war machinery over human lives.

Lord, tend to the lands saturated by the blood spilt in wars, transforming them into beacons of peace. Console places that are exploited for the production of weapons, replacing exploitation with prosperity and growth for all living beings.

Grant us wisdom to steward the Earth responsibly, allowing life to flow harmoniously within the ecological balance. Nurture lands suffering from prolonged drought, restoring them to abundant life.

Remember the tears shed by children forced into labour and the toil of the earth itself. Heal our world so that the Earth becomes a haven, offering itself as a joyful playground for all children.

Lead us to recognize the Earth is Your inheritance, to believe all creations are interaction and to live all together in harmony.

Closing prayer

May God mourn with us as the world weeps. May we all grieve together as the planet laments. Make us a people who react to the cries of the Earth. Allow those who wield the sword to have earth in their hands rather than blades. May we be as intertwined as the Earth is. May we accept God’s created universe without reservation, just as the Earth accepts all species. In Jesus name we pray. Amen.

Rev. Dr. Minwoo Oh, Programme Coordinator for Gender Justice, WCRC: She is interested in militarization and empire from an eco-feminist theological perspective in the context of the Korean peninsula. Korean women;s theology for life is a developing area.

This is the fourth in a series of Lenten devotionals focused on the climate crisis. Download the devotional booklet.

1 Yani Yoo, “She Mourns”: An Ecocritical Reading of Jeremiah 12, JBTR 49, (2021, 10), 64.

Image: Sean Hawkey/Life on Earth

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