Dear Friends in Christ,
The Season of Creation, September 1st through October 4th, is celebrated by Christians around the world as a time for renewing, repairing and restoring our relationship to God, one another, and all of creation. Every year, The Episcopal Church joins this international effort for prayer and action culminating in the Feast of St. Francis on October 4th.
I find creation care hard and holy work. I also struggle with it. There are so many possibilities and I do not know where to start. Concerns about rising seas, changing weather patterns, and wildfires are so overwhelming that I have to break them down into more manageable pieces, yet I often fail to see their interconnectedness.
This Season of Creation reminded me of three important lessons about the relationship between God, humans, and creation.
- We are part of God’s creation: We are not separate from creation. Human beings are part of creation. The world does not belong to us, it belongs to God the Creator. We ourselves, by being part of creation, belong to God, although sometimes we forget this. When we forget it, we begin to think that the earth belongs to us. But the earth does not belong to us, we belong to the earth. God calls us to be stewards and caretakers of all creation. Not to have dominion over it.
- Everything is interconnected: We are all united in this one common home that nourishes and sustains us. Through God’s grace and gift of creation, we are all connected. We drink the same water and, as recent wildfires have reminded us, we breathe the same air. Interconnection means that we belong to one another, and we depend on each other.
- God so loved the world: In Jesus, God so loved the whole world. God loves the earth, the universe, all of God’s creation. The Father loves it so passionately and creatively that God sent Jesus to love the world and to draw it all back to the Father. The Spirit of God sustains the universe with love. We are invited to love the world. To care for creation out of love, not out of fear or despair. God wants to fill us with hope and courage to care for our common home. Fear is the opposite of love.
Most of us have positive memories and experiences of nature, and deep love for God’s creation. As we ponder about loving responses to the many environmental challenges we face, I invite you to spend some time in prayer.
Let the Spirit of the Living God guide you. The same Spirit that hovered over the waters in the beginning of creation (Genesis 1:2). Ask the Spirit to inspire you, encourage you, and guide you. Let the Spirit show you your hopes for the kind of a world you want to leave to those who come after us, to children who are now growing up.
Creation care is hard and holy work. And it begins with prayer.
Yours in Christ,