Season of Creation 5 – Sept 30, 2018 – Return to the Beginning

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Title:Season of Creation 5 – Sept 30, 2018 – Return to the Beginning

 Season of Creation 5, Year B, Sept. 30, 2018 (full size gallery)

This was the last Sunday of the Season of Creation with 2 services, 42 at 11am.

What made it special was Karen Richardson came and taught both children and adults how to construct mandalas at the 10am Christian Ed hour. The word “mandala” is from the classical Indian language of Sanskrit. Loosely translated to mean “circle,” and refers to the sense of wholeness created by both circular forms. Karen brought a table full of constructors from nature – shells, sharks’ teeth, plants, etc. that the participants could use in constructing mandalas – from the inside outward. The art construction is not permanent – the participants build it up and then took it down reflecting the course of nature – life and death. It was an appropriate conclusion to the Season of Creation.

This week was Gospel on the River – on Saturday instead of Sunday and at a home and enjoyed by 17 people. Here’s the story and gallery.

During the announcements, Nancy Long presented an award from Caroline’s Promise which supports young people in the County. St. Peter’s supported the purchase of school supplies for this school year by contributing 500 notebooks and 200 folders.

We also recognized Helmut and Susan’s anniversary (58 years) and Ken and Andrea (25 years) plus Roger’s birthday on Oct. 4.

Catherine also reviewed some of the events coming up in Oct particularly the Blessing of the Pets on Oct. 4. Past St. Francis blessings are covered here on the frontpage this week.

The last week in the Season of Creation goes back to the basic connection between us and God. We rely on God to help renew our earth since “The earth is the Lord’s and all that is in it,” from Psalm 24. It is clear from this psalm the earth does not belong to us and we are not given permission to do to it as we wish. The readings are here.

We have no doubt damaged the earth, temperatures have been rising consistently since the dawn of the industrial age, the removal of valuable forests and topsoil and the failure to preserve water quality.

We find a variety of emotions – fear, weariness, and discouragement over the magnitude of the work to do which hard to uproot. And yet, God does not grow weary, and when we wait on God, God renews our strength. As Isaiah speaks to a people in exile, God will not abandon them.

God given strength is necessary to set aside fear, to find hope even in the most hopeless of situations, and to take the strength God gives us to carry out God’s healing work in the world. The struggle is long but Isaiah uses the words that God is “everlasting” and thus will persist. The work toward renewable energy, replanting forests, preservaing top soil and cleaning rivers is part of the task

Revelation puts it in perspective – “And the one who was seated on the throne said, “See, I am making all things new.” We must set aside our fear to hear the good news that Jesus has been raised, that God is continually in the process of making all things new, and that God is with us, continually renewing our strength—and to act on that good news. The promise is that shining city of Jerusalem rising up – “A holy city descends from heaven, resplendent with gold, jewels, and divine light.”

Revelation pictures the completion of God’s action in salvation history that began with the first creation of a world that became flawed by sin (Genesis 1–3) and needed redemption, and culminates in this new creation transformed completely by God’s holy presence and power.

Here he has a vision of a new creation, a new heaven and a new earth. (from It pulls from Isaiah 65:17, which also proclaims new heavens and a new earth, an order so completely transformed that “former things” are forgotten (see Isaiah 43:18-19; 66:22). That the “sea is no more” is a comment on the ancient myths regarding God’s victory over chaos, represented in the sea itself.

Revelation does not imagine the saints escaping this world for a heavenly reward. On the contrary, the saints inhabit a brand new world created right where they live and it will be done by them in conjunction with God’s teachings.

The Gospel from Mark centers around the empty tomb, meaning a world full of promise. Action is part of it. “But go, tell” (Mark 16:7a) to the women. This is our hope as well, that Jesus is present in whatever futures we face and he is working in all things to bring forth God’s shalom and inspire us toward partnership in healing the world.

The women are overcome with awe and amazement – even terror – and initially don’t tell anyone, but eventually the word gets out. They go forth to the male disciples and to Galilee and discover the spirit, energy, and life of Christ is there to meet them. We must let the word get out about the necessity to continue the work to restore the earth.

The sermon asks “Where are you looking for Jesus?” The conclusion answers that question. “In the beginning, God created the Garden of Eden. And at the end, the new Jerusalem, a city, is where we find God.

“But the center of the city holds the garden, our beginning, the living water flowing from the throne, and the trees whose leaves are for the healing of the nations line the banks of that crystal life giving stream.

“The Garden of Eden, our first home, is at the center of the ending.

“So here at the end of the Season of Creation, I encourage you to go out, by going back, seeking Jesus in Galilee, out in the world where he has gone before us—where there is hurt, need, destruction, war, blood spilled, death—Jesus has been there before us, and expects us to follow, and to do what we can to be his healing presence as we pass on our journeys through the valleys of the shadow of death. As we seek Jesus and travel back to Galilee and toward the heavenly city that is our ending and our beginning, we will suffer as Jesus did, and Jesus will be present in that suffering, because Jesus never leaves us to travel alone.

“Even as we seek to know him more completely, in the easy and the hard parts of our journey, he is already with us, traveling by our sides.

“I also encourage you not to forget that at the beginning was the Word, and through the Word God called all things into being, and made all things good.

“Creation, in all its magnificence and in its enrapturing beauty and unfathomable power, is our constant reminder that God is the one who never grows faint or weary.

“God, who is constantly breathing and speaking new life into all of creation, will renew our strength and give us wings like eagles for our journeys to God, who is our beginning and our ending and our beginning again.”