Season of Creation 1, Year C

Title:Season of Creation 1, Year C

 Season of Creation 1, Sept. 1, 2019 (full size gallery)

We started the Season of Creation this Sunday, after twelve weeks in the middle of Pentecost that focuses on our relation to God and the environment. We had 51 in church today, a good turnout. It was also first Sunday coffee hour. Tucker returned to show his slides from his extended trip this summer with the scouts at Philmont in New Mexico and then bicycling in Europe. We celebrated the anniversary of Alan and Wendy Gayle the birthday of Cleo Coleman. Cleo said she would have been back sooner but the “Baptists had kept her in bondage.” The choir joined the congregation in singing “Happy Birthday” to her.

The Season of Creation is an optional liturgy in the Episcopal Church. We had different readings and a different Eucharistic prayer – “We Give Thanks”. It highlights the role of God as Creator and Jesus dwelling in nature as one of us to bring us abundant life. The sermon focused on the role of nature in the Bible. “In the beginning, God designed a home, a home in which God dwells, a home in which God delights, a home which God calls good. The earth is God’s home…”Nothing goes to waste in this creation. All this creation has a purpose, and every bit of this creation depends on every other bit of creation.”

Dr. William P. Brown of Columbia Theological seminary wrote the following about creation care. “The fundamental mandate for creation care comes from Genesis 2:15, where God places Adam in the garden to “till it and keep it…” Human “dominion” as intended in Genesis is best practiced in care for creation, in stewardship, which according to Genesis Noah fulfills best by implementing God’s first endangered species act.”

As the Pope has said many times, “We are the guardians of Creation” and “everything is connected.” We must be the stewards of our earth and be on guard for its exploitation.

Sept 1 was the “World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation” is the first day of the Season of Creation which lasts until Oct. 4, the day we remember St. Francis. Creationtide is originally an Eastern Orthodox initiative, but has now spread widely among Anglican, Roman Catholic and Protestant congregations, bringing Christians together to pray and work for the protection of the environment that sustains everyone.

We also began today a Christian Education series for all. Family Vacation-Let’s go! During September, at 10AM, we’re going to take some trips around the world, specifically to the Holy Land, to Ireland, to Guatemala, and then on the last Sunday of this Season, Along Your Road. Today was the old city of Jerusalem
Next week where Jesus’ ministry took off – Galilee.

John’s creation story from the beginning of the Gospel is called the prologue. John’s prologue speaks the eternal truths of Jesus.   The first chapter of John’s Gospel connects Christ with creation in a most spectacular way.

This passage says much about God and his relationship to humans. Genesis stresses that the created world is a gift in which human beings have particular responsibilities indicated by being made in the image of God to exercise dominion. The latter is to help elements of creation live together in the mutuality and solidarity of Genesis 1. We are to do in our little spheres of influence what God does in the cosmic sphere

There are two life forces or agencies of creation

  1. The Spirit of God moving over the face of the water. The Hebrew word ruah is also translated ‘breath’
  2. the Word of God. “God said ‘Let there be light’”; and the pattern continues: “God said…and it was so”. Like the Spirit the Word is also a recurring theme in Scripture, leading to in the Word made flesh in Jesus Christ.

God here exercises divine power through peaceful means. God creates by the word.

All that was, all that is, all that will be, all this comes from God. Right from the off the Bible speaks of a God who is not passive or distant, but active and involved. The opening chapter goes on to describe the scale, the diversity, the goodness of God’s creation, but here it is enough to simply reflect on the one who creates.

Basil of Caesarea was a Bishop in the fourth century in what is now Turkey. In one of his sermons he compared God the creator to a potter who, after painstakingly crafting a series of beautiful pots, ‘has not exhausted either his art or his talent’. The creation of the world was not a one time burst of energy that left God exhausted, rather it was a pouring out of something deep within God—a desire to create, to bring about beauty and order and all that is good. God created because God is creative and God’s creativity does not run dry.

This creative heart has left its fingerprints throughout the creation: in the wild evolution of nature, in the instinctive desire of our earliest ancestors to make art on the walls of their caves, in the stories that we tell to our children. The world is filled with creativity because it was created by a creative God whose art and talent are inexhaustible. In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth—and that was only the beginning!

In the beginning was the Word or Christ, and the Word was with God and the Word was God. The Word was always with God even before creation began. Jesus is eternal and uncreated, existing before the world began All of creation, including planet Earth, is the result of the impulse of the Word from God

“In the beginning”—so begins Genesis, as God’s creation majestically unfolds before our eyes, made visible by God’s light.  And so begins John’s gospel—“In the beginning was the Word.”  For Christians, the light through which our eyes become open to the wonders of God’s creation is God’s own light; Jesus, God’s son.  And not only does this light illuminate the majesty of all of God’s creation, provoking awe within us, but we also realize that we dwell in the fullness of his life, and in the fullness of all of God’s creation teeming all around us. 

Jesus is the source of truth and understanding of God’s will.  All of creation, including planet Earth, is the result of the impulse of the Word from God.  The Word is the supreme creative force through Whom all things were made.  Jesus is the source of life by which men have a relationship with God and hope of eternal life. The Word is also divine wisdom, the principle of reason that gives order to the universe

Psalm 84 begins, “How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord of hosts.”  God’s dwells within creation—we know this because Jesus, through whom all things were made, came to dwell among us as one of us, to redeem all that God made in the beginning, to bring all of creation back to its original goodness.    The “dwelling” of God is the Temple (and perhaps also the land of Israel). To live in the Temple is greatly to be desired: those who live there have security and happiness, even the birds (v. 3) who nest in the Temple area. Making a pilgrimage to the Temple offers these hopes.

Having seen the holy city, John in Revelation is now shown the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city (vv. 1-2).

The vision plays on two biblical themes, “the tree of life” in the Garden of Eden (Gen 2:9), to which Adam and Eve were denied access after the Fall (Gen 3:24), and Ezekiel’s vision of water flowing down from the restored temple in Jerusalem all the way to the Dead Sea (Ezek 47:1-12).

John’s Tree of Life is a garden Instead of “all kinds” of fruit trees, he is shown one kind of tree, the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, presumably for the city’s inhabitants

As in Ezekiel, the leaves are for healing, but in John’s vision specifically for the healing of the nations (v. 2). The tree of life is the reason why the bruised and battered Gentile nations will walk in the light of the holy city, “and the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it” (21:24). Whether or not they “eat from the tree of life” (2:7), they clearly have some kind of a share in its benefits (see 22:14, 19). In their own way they too are redeemed.

 

From The Prayers of the People, Holy Eucharist I, page 329 in the Book of Common Prayer

Open, O Lord, the eyes of all people to behold they gracious hand in all thy works, that rejoicing in thy whole creation, they may honor thee with their substance, and be faithful stewards of thy bounty.