Many Christians are becoming aware that the world is in an environmental crisis and that taking action on issues like carbon emissions, wildlife conservation, energy use, transport, and diet, is central to their Christian discipleship and mission. What isn’t so easy is making a connection between their faith and their concern for creation.
Creation Psalms will help to bridge that gap, through focusing on seven psalms that address issues about creation and the proper place of humans within it. With ideas for study, reflection and prayer, written prayers and my own comments on the psalm, this resource will give you a fresh appreciation of nature, a renewed confidence in the love of God for you and all creation, and a sense of empowerment rooted in prayer from which to take creative action for the sake of a world in trouble.
The Creation Psalms
Creation Psalms resources are available both online and as PDFs for viewing offline and printing. Scroll down for more information about how to use Creation Psalms, but right here is where you access the resources.
Click on the picture banner to go to the online page for that Psalm
To go straight to the PDF versions of the resources, use the buttons below.
(There are also download links at the end of each Creation Psalm’s web page)
How to use Creation Psalms
Creation Psalms is intended for individuals and for Churches, including house groups or ecumenical study groups. It could be used as a resource for
- Study groups during Creation-tide (September)
- Lent groups
- Quiet days
- Church weekends
- Private Devotions
Creation Psalms is made up of seven main sections, each dealing with one psalm. In each case, the format is the same:
- Suggestions to guide your reflection on the text (suitable for individuals or groups)
- My reflection
- Ideas for prayer based on the psalm, some outdoors and some indoors
- One or two written prayers inspired by the psalm
- A collect
The psalms are listed near the top of this page. Click on the picture banner for the web version, or click on the ‘Download’ button to access a downloadable PDF for viewing, saving or printing. There is also a cover that you can download and print, to use as a folder for your printouts. Scroll down for instructions on printing the PDFs.
All material in Creation Psalms is copyright by Alex Mabbs. I give permission for these resources to be read in public, e.g. using the prayers in worship. The PDF downloads may be printed for personal use and may be reproduced for internal use by groups and Churches. Please do not reproduce any part of Creation Psalms in magazines, newsletters, websites, etc, without first obtaining my express permission for that. Use the Contact form to get in touch with me.
I would be interested to know how you used them (use the Contact form on this website) and, if you found them useful, please tell the world! If you like, your publicity is your payment for this free resource! Please share the links but not the actual text (beyond a short, pithy quote).
Instructions for printing: Each section (except Psalm 29) is on eight A5 pages. You will need to either move your pointer to the top of the PDF window to see the printer icon, or click on the ‘Open in Acrobat’ button. To print them as a booklet, simply select ‘Booklet’ in the PDF print window. This should print two pages side-by-side on one side of A4, in the right order for folding into an A5 booklet. It’s ideal if your printer will print on both sides of the paper. It should be possible to print the material in enlarged format onto A4, by pressing the ‘Fit’ button in the print window. Make use of the preview section of the print window to check before printing. The cover is a single-sided A4 document in landscape orientation.
Using Creation Psalms as a series
Each psalm will stand on its own. However, there is a small sense of development through the series. If following the series in full, I recommend this order:
- Psalm 145 The Completeness of Creation
- Psalm 104 Is Creation Good?
- Psalm 29 Worship on the Wild Side
- Psalm 8 Who do you think you are?
- Psalm 136 Earthed and Connected: Memory, Covenant and the Land
- Psalm 139 Fearfully and Wonderfully Made
- Psalm 148 All Creatures of our God and King
If you want to work on a smaller selection, for example on a quiet day or for study groups during Lent, I suggest choosing from any except the first and last in the list. Psalm 145 can serve as an introduction, and Psalm 148 as a summary, which could be used in a Sunday service. Of the others, 104 and 29 broadly focus on God and Creation; 8 and 139 on humans, and 136 on community. Have a look and see what calls to you!
I used the New Revised Standard Version of the bible, but I also referred to the Grail version (based on the work of Joseph Gelineau et al) and to Robert Alter’s translation. Any good translation will do.
On the Psalms
Robert Alter: The Book of Psalms (2007, New York, W.W. Norton). Robert Alter is a creative writer on the Bible, and here he gives a fresh translation of the Psalms, paying particular attention to their poetry, together with brief comments.
Walter Brueggemann: The Message of the Psalms (1984, Minneapolis, Augsburg Fortress). A theological commentary by this most inspirational of bible teachers.
Stephen Dawes: The Psalms (2009, London, SCM Press). Highly readable introduction to the Psalter.
Gordon J. Wenham: Psalms As Torah (2012, Grand Rapids, Baker Academic). Interesting discussion of the role the Psalms, in history and now, in the formation and development of ethics.
Walter Brueggemann: The Land (2nd edition: 2002, Minneapolis, Augsburg Fortress) A classic in which Brueggemann explores the importance of land in biblical faith, including themes of gift, memory and faith
Robert Macfarlane: The Wild Places (2007, London, Granta Books) A beautifully written account of the author’s search for wilderness in Britain
Richard Bauckham: Bible and Ecology (2010, London, Darton Longman and Todd) A thoroughly biblical treatment of ecology, including detailed studies on Psalms 104 and 148.
Bruce Stanley and Steve Hollinghurst (eds): Earthed (2014, Llangurig, Mystic Christ Press) A collection of essays exploring Christian perspectives on nature connection
Rob Cowan: Common Ground (2015, London, Windmill Books). A beautifully written and absorbing memoir of the author’s exploration of some ‘edge-land’ near his new home, interweaving observation, natural history and stories, not least the expectation of his and his wife’s first child. Fabulous.
Ruth Valerio – Saying Yes to Life (2020, London, SPCK). Written as a Lent study guide. A detailed ecological reading of Genesis 1, with stories from around the world and very practical suggestions for action.
Simon Barnes – Rewild Yourself (2018, London, Simon & Schuster UK). 23 ideas for making deeper connections with nature.
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