New Worship Songs for Climate Change and Creation Care
Our 2017 annotated list of worship songs about care for creation remains so popular that we have compiled a new list of worship songs to lament climate change and encourage creation care. Many of these songs and hymns have been released since 2018. Others are new to various English-speaking audiences because they come from international hymnals and organizations.
The songs and hymns listed here are presented in five categories: praising our Creator, creating space for confession and lament, sent out with hope in God’s promises, songs that include all three themes (praise, lament, hope), and general songs rich in creation imagery.
These songs work well within specific creation-themed services or sermon series or during the liturgical Season of Creation, but you can use them in worship anytime to remind worshipers that God created and deeply cares for the entire cosmos.
Each entry ends with information on where to license the song for congregational use.
- CCLI represents broadly ecumenical songs, usually in a contemporary worship style, often by well-known artists and groups such as Hillsong United.
- CV denotes songs from the 2022 Porter’s Gate Climate Vigil Songs album and worship guide. Lead sheets are freely available. Each song has a CCLI number.
- GIA is for sacred music distributed by GIA Publications.
- INT—IntegratedRights.com (for US and UK) and Integrity Music (outside of U.S. and U.K.)—allows users to license CV scores and more.
- OL stands for One License, which represents catalogs of sacred music publishers, including single-author hymnals.
- RW refers to Resound Worship, a UK-based music site that produced the 2020 Doxecology album. Its partner Jubilate (JUB) produced Until Your Earth Is Whole, a 2021 album addressing environmental and other justice issues. RW and JUB formed the Song & Hymn Writers Foundation.
PRAISING OUR CREATOR
We who find our stories within God’s big story know that the Bible begins with God loving the cosmos into existence and placing humanity in the Garden of Eden as part of an abundant, integrated creation. This is why St. Francis of Assisi praised God for Brothers Sun and Air, Sisters Moon and Water, and Mother Earth. Prophets and psalmists tell us that the whole earth—the actual planet we live on—is full of God’s glorious presence. In fact, creation calls us to join in praising our Creator.
“Al caer la lluvia / When at Last the Rain Falls,” by Pablo Fernández-Badillo. This classic Puerto Rican hymn can be sung simultaneously in Spanish and English from the Santo, Santo, Santo hymnal (#20). Listen to Jorge Lockward sing it in Spanish and English and discuss ways to use it in worship (00:02:22 to 00:16:03).
“Brother Sun (Giving Glory!),” by Tenielle Neda, Isaac Wardell, Paul Zach, and Liz Vice. This song is inspired by St. Francis of Assisi’s famous canticle. Listening to or singing “Brother Sun” may help you see yourself as part of the family of God’s creation. CV; CCLI; INT# 55379.
“Declaring Glory (The Earth Sings its Refrain),” by Paul Zach, Kate Bluett, Jon Guerra,
Nick Chambers, and Molly Parden. Listen to this unique song written from the perspective of Earth. CV; CCLI; INT# 55552.
“Heaven’s Voice Brings the Dawn,” by Joel Payne and Matt Weeks. The chorus of this three-verse Doxecology hymn calls for “all creation together singing one hallelujah.” RW; CCLI.
“Look Up to the Skies,” by Judy Gresham. The rollicking Latino-style tune for this 2009 Resound Worship song is easy for all ages to sing together. It works well when you’re reading from or preaching on creation psalms, such as Psalm 8, 19, 33, 65, 74, 96, 104, or 148. RW; CCLI.
“Los cielos cuentan la gloria de Dios / The Heavens Tell of Your Creative Glory,” by Horacio Vivares. Based on Psalm 19, this can be sung simultaneously in Spanish and English from Santo, Santo, Santo (#11). Its rhythmic Guarania style is indigenous to Paraguay and nearby regions. Listen to Vivares introduce and sing it in Spanish (with English subtitles displayed).
“Praise the Lord” (also known as “Praise to God, Praise to God, for the Greenness of the Trees”), by Nobuaki Hanaoka. This trinitarian song of praise for creation and other blessings is set to SAKURA, a traditional Japanese melody used for a children’s song about blooming cherry blossoms. It’s #23 in Sound the Bamboo, a pan-Asian hymnal. OL.
“We Praise You, O Lord (Psalm 104),” text by Doug Gay, tune by Greg Scheer. Rich in creation imagery, this text is set to a Celtic tune. CCLI; OL.
“So Will I (100 Billion X),” by Benjamin Hastings, Joel Houston, and Michael Fatkin. This Hillsong United song declares that since God created the stars to praise and the mountains to “bow in reverence,” then “so will I.” Listen here. It has been translated into many languages. CCLI.
CREATING SPACE FOR CONFESSION AND LAMENT
God magnificently ordered creation to provide enough for everyone’s needs. We are created to serve God’s purpose of shalom for the whole community of creation on Earth, our common home. Yet personal sin and what the apostle Paul calls powers and principalities have wreaked havoc on our world and its climate. As the Enriching Our Worship 1 supplement to the Book of Common Prayer confesses, “We repent of the evil that enslaves us, the evil we have done, and the evil done on our behalf.” Including creation care and climate change in worship shows that God cares about the entire creation.
“All Creatures Lament,” by Paul Zach, Kate Bluett, and Isaac Wardell. The tune is based on LASST UNS ERFREUEN, used for “All Creatures of Our God and King.” This powerful text names the consequences of environmental sin and pleads for God’s mercy. Listen to see why it’s suitable for confession, sermon response, or before intercessory prayer. CV; CCLI; INT# 56034.
“Broken and Wasted,” by Greg Scheer. This plaintive song of confession is adapted from a prayer from the Iona Community by John Polhill. It works well with a solo voice on verses and the congregation on the Kyrie. CCLI; OL.
“Can Weeping for Our Planet Be Enough?” Text by Adam M. L. Tice, text editor of the Voices Together Mennonite hymnal. Lyrics ask God to help us move beyond our prayers and good intentions “to work through us now, before it is too late!” Sally Ann Morris named her tune MCKIBBEN for Christian environmental activist Bill McKibben. GIA; OL.
“Hear the Song of Our Lament,” by Keiko Ying. This poignant hymn mentions our ravaged earth, nature’s groans, and creation’s cries. It asks God to forgive us and “lead us in your Eden call.” RW; CCL; OL.
“If the Fields Are Parched (Have Mercy),” by Chris Juby. This challenging lament acknowledges the parched fields, felled trees, and rising oceans that future generations will inherit. Yet the final verse expresses hope in the Lord’s return to make all things new. RW; CCL; OL.
“Los bosques talados / The Forests Are Clear Cut,” by Eleazar Torreglosa. Spanish and English speakers can sing this short lament simultaneously from the Santo, Santo, Santo hymnal, #10.
“Now We Hear Creation Groaning,” by Martin E. Leckebusch. Set to DIM OND IESU, a familiar tune in UK churches, this text-rich hymn speaks of creation’s groaning and the Spirit’s “maternal, wordless call.” CCLI; OL#.
“O God, the Great Wide Seas Are Yours,” by Carolyn Winfrey Gillette. Gillette is a Presbyterian pastor known for writing timely texts set to classic hymn tunes. Here she deals with those who cause troubled waters, marshes, seas, and shores and those trying to heal them. Gillette offers free use of her copyrighted hymns.
“Satisfied,” by Latifah Alattas, Lucas Morton, Paul Zach. Accompanied by guitar, this lilting lament begins, “God we have taken more than we’ve given.” It asks God to free us from “consumption and greed” and satisfy our hearts. CV; CCLI; INT# 56035.
“This Land of Beauty Has Been Given,” by Elena G. Maquiso. This song embodies the hard truth that climate change affects the poor the most, especially landless subsistence farmers. It’s #266 in the Sound the Bamboo hymnal published by the Christian Conference of Asia (CCA). Hear traditional instruments play it on CCA’s website (scroll down to the last song). The song is also #232 in the lesser-known Hymnal of a Faith Journey (United Church of Christ, Philippines). Watch piano videos with original Cebuano words or translated English words. OL.
SENT OUT WITH HOPE IN GOD’S PROMISES
The Bible promises that each person of the Trinity is working through us and through creation to make all things new. When Christ returns, the new heaven and new earth will be good news for the entire family of creation—all creatures, water, land, air, and sky.
“Bring in the Year of Jubilee (Psalm 37),” by Jessica Fox, Wendell Kimbrough, Taylor Leonhardt,
Paul Zach, Isaac Wardell, Nick Chambers, Leslie Jordan, and Kate Bluett. This lively folk song reaffirms God’s plan that “the meek will inherit the earth” and “the earth will sigh with relief.” CV; CCLI.
“Come to Me,” by Wendell Kimbrough. Although not specifically about creation care, this song may give hope to people weighed down by climate anxiety. CCLI.
“Don’t Fear, You Good Earth,” by Carolyn Winfrey Gillette. The tune FOUNDATION, used for “How Firm a Foundation,” underscores the text in which worshipers thank the creation and promise to care for it. Gillette offers free use of her copyrighted hymns.
“O God of Boundless Hope,” by Brian Davis. Sing this to the tune of “Rejoice, the Lord Is King,” variously known as DARWALL or DARWALL’s 148TH. The text looks forward to when God will reveal new ways to restore the earth. It’s featured on Jubilate’s 2021 Until Your Earth Is Whole album. JUB; CCLI.
“The Garden Needs Our Tending Now,” by Mary Louise Bringle. Its tune is the beautiful old French melody used for the now discredited English text of “The Huron Carol / ’Twas in the Moon of Wintertime.” Listen to and see the words and melody line. The refrain ends with terra viridissima,” Latin for “greenest earth.” The song is #788 in the Voices Together Mennonite hymnal. GIA.
“The Kingdom Is Coming,” by Isaac Wardell, Wendell Kimbrough, Liz Vice, Paul Zach, Kate Bluett, and Jessica Fox. The chorus reminds worshipers that we are praying, waiting, and working for the kingdom that is coming. This would work well as a sermon response, communion song, or sending song. CV; CCLI; INT# 55874.
“Through the Wind and the Waves: A Hymn for Climate Change,” by Silvia Purdie. The text affirms that despite rising tides, raging fires, and storms, Jesus remains Lord of all. The song was written in 2021 for A Rocha Aotearoa New Zealand. Its CC BY-SA 4.0 license means you can freely use it with attribution and link to the license.
“We Are the Tenants of the King,” by Joel Payne. This 2020 song declares that, as workers in God’s garden, “we will live and love and care for this . . . planet.” RW; CCLI.
“Where the Green Will Rise Again,” by Shirley Erena Murray. This 2017 song pictures a new creation where “Earth will smile and ease her aching.” It’s set to a Scottish-Irish tune arranged by Jim Strathbee. Hear Jim and Jean Strathbee sing it in this video. CCLI; OL.
SONGS WITH ALL THREE THEMES
These songs are easy to include because they can be sung to familiar hymn tunes, and most are free to use with proper attribution. Consider including them as general songs of praise, lament, or hope. Even if the liturgy, sermon, or prayers don’t specifically mention creation care, these thoughtful hymn texts show that how we treat the creation matters to our Creator.
“God, Creation Comes from You,” by Michael A. Baughen and Noël H. Tredinnick. This five-verse hymn embodies praise, lament, and hope. The third verse mentions twenty creatures, from bees to yaks, to help worshipers connect worship to our actual world. JUB; CCLI; free download for non-commercial use.
“In Nature as in Jesus, All Life Is Truly One,” by Bill (W. L.) Wallace (William L. (Bill) Wallace). Though Jesus is Lord of heaven and earth, we Christians sometimes “divide Christ’s mantle and drown creation’s song.” The text asks God to forgive “our senseless pain and killing” and to draw us through mystery and celebration to see life’s unity in “God, the Holy One.” Renowned ethnomusicologist I-to Loh composed the slightly minor Taiwanese melody. The song is #233 in Sound the Bamboo. OL.
“The Climate is Changing,” by Carolyn Winfrey Gillette. The hymn begins with how climate change hurts the creation and the poor. It gives thanks for those who treasure the earth and care about justice and science, and it asks the Trinity for power to help us care for the earth. Sing this to the tune ST DENIO (“Immortal, Invincible, God Only Wise”). Gillette offers free use of her copyrighted hymns.
“The Glory of Creation,” by Denzil Walton. Sung to the tune EWING (“Jerusalem the Golden”), this song shines with specificity, naming Antarctica, Asia, the jungles of Brazil, squirrels, orchids, and butterflies. It reinforces creation’s delightful diversity, laments actions that reduce diversity, and asks the Father “to instigate new birth.” Its CC BY-SA-4.0 license means you can freely use it with attribution and link to the license.
“You Made a Universe so Wonderful,” by Ally Barrett. This meditative hymn covers praise, lament, and hope for God’s creation. It is featured on Jubilate’s 2021 Until Your Earth Is Whole album. You can also sing it to the tune of FINLANDIA (“Be Still My Soul”). JUB; CCLI.
SONGS RICH IN CREATION IMAGERY
Songwriter Greg Scheer notes that talking about climate change “can quickly polarize people or turn them off. A first step in congregations who aren’t already invested in creation care is to simply build a sense of wonder and love for the world God gave us. The psalms can be our allies in this.”
“How Can I Keep from Singing?”, by Robert Lowry. This old favorite cheerily reminds us that, despite earth’s lamentations, Christ is still Lord of heaven and earth. (Some versions say “Love is Lord.”) The classic version is in the public domain, so it is free to use. Greg Scheer’s arrangement uses a minor harmonization to bring out lament in the verses, then switches to a major key for the refrain. CCLI; OL.
“Lord, as the Earth Welcomes Showers and Rain / Pulbate naerinŭm danpi chŏrŏm,” by Hye-ryon Ham, paraphrased by Rolando S. Tinio. Composer Geonyong Lee also wrote and composed the better-known “O-so-so / Come Now, O Prince of Peace.” Based in part on Psalm 72, the text connects God’s righteousness and power with rescuing the poor and bringing creation “to flower.” It is #90 in Sound the Bamboo. OL.
“Seasons,” by Benjamin William Hastings. This Hillsong piece uses specific seasonal language such as “from seed to sequoia” to link the faith journey to the natural world. It works best as a solo. CCLI.
“Where Were You?”, by Nick Chambers and Jon Guerra. This powerful piece from Climate Vigil Songs is based on Job 38–39 and 42:2. It establishes our Creator’s sovereignty and the only appropriate response: praise and wonder. Listen to see why it works best as a solo. CV;
For even more fine songs on creation care and climate change:
- Search CCLI themes such as God as Creator, God’s Creation, Nature, Praise, and Worship.
- Explore the 2022 Climate Vigil Songs playlist and worship guide.
- Listen to Resound Worship’s 2020 Doxecology album of thirteen congregational worship songs about God’s good creation, our failure to protect it, and God’s promise to renew all things.
- Search Hymnary.org with these keywords or phrases: care of creation, creation, care for the environment, unity of creation, Creator and creation, creation and the environment. Peruse Hymnary’s features and tutorials to get the most out of this resource.
- Check out Jubilate’s recommended creation and harvest songs and its 2021 Until Your Earth Is Whole album.
- Buy a copy of the pan-Asian Sound the Bamboo hymnal along with The Hymnal Companion to Sound the Bamboo, which examines hymns from twenty-two countries in their historical, cultural, and spiritual contexts.
- Enter “Creation” in the search box to find more of Greg Scheer’s creation-themed texts, tunes, and arrangements.
- Adam Tice runs the Unbound platform for GIA Publications, where one can search for earth-themed hymns including his own. Tice was the text editor for the 2020 Voices Together Mennonite hymnal. Hymnal priorities included themes of creation, creation care, environmental atonement, and Indigenous hymnody.
- Carolyn Winfrey Gillette is a Presbyterian pastor and author known for writing timely texts set to classic hymn tunes. Search her topical index for in the categories of creation, creation care, natural disasters, and water.