A Heart for Creation: Worship Resources and Reflections on the Environment, by Chris Polhill, Wild Goose Publications, September 2010, 238 pages, ISBN: 978-1905010677, RRP £16.99.
Usually the books that are received for review are good, but this one is quite simply outstanding. It is relevant, serious in its content and yet humorous and easy to read.
This book echoes many areas of ecological concern, working as a dialogue between the spiritual journey and ecology, each informing and enlightening the other. It can just as easily be used for private prayer/reflection as well as being a very useful work of reference; I had no idea until I read part of ‘A six week challenge’ that the sparrow population in London had dropped by 70% in six years.
This book has the subtitle Worship Resources and Reflections on the Environment. It has progressive sections entitled ‘Celebrating creation’, ‘Lamenting the damage to creation’, ‘Action for change’, ‘The struggle to change’ and ‘Transformation’, and these are intermingled with examples of change in and outside the Church, beautiful and humorous poetry (I loved the one ‘Praise God for veg boxes’), thought-provoking drama, prayer and reflections. I especially enjoyed ‘To fly or not to fly, that is the question’ and ‘The Rubbish Bin Confession’.
There is a lectionary for Creation Time as well as several hymns inspired by the work of God’s hands. The book is far, far more than the title could ever give it credit for. I read and reread it, finding it almost impossible to put down. The author, Chris(tine) Polhill is an Anglican minister, and with her husband John has created a Reflection Garden covering several acres at their home in Cannock Wood. Their environmental concerns there have obviously informed this work in a totally practical liturgical way. If you stopped work for a few moments on your own or with a friend you could simply take this off the shelf and use it to have a quiet few moments of a prayer service, or if you were organising a full service could do so using the many resources and ideas available. It really is a book for all seasons and for all reasons.
I have ordered several copies that I will be sending as presents to friends who will, I know, find this book just as useful and inspirational as I do. I am absolutely certain that you will love it and find it just as hard to put down as I have. It is not only worth every penny of its purchase price, it is worth far, far more!