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If your congregation follows this optional four-week season in the church year, what have been the benefits?
In what ways has it helped you appreciate and protect God’s creation?
I must confess that I had never heard of the Season of Creation until today in this post. Traditionally church Sundays and seasons focused on the life of Christ (e.g., his nativity, the sending of his Spirit, etc.). While, no doubt, Christ is the Creator (as a person within the Holy Trinity), it seems to me the Season of Creation could easily become worshiping the creature/creration as opposed to worshipping the Creator. The church all ready has, or had, days and seasons that address some of these same issues, such as Rogationtide and St. Francis day. I am not one for endless innovation. I won't be observing the Season of Creation.
My church will be celebrating the season of creation this year and we are really looking forward to it. Worship is the best place to connect our places as creatures in relation to the Creator. We join in the hymn of all creation and celebrate the gifts of living water, fruit of the vine, and grains of wheat gathered into one.
Thank you for your comment, Steve. May I ask you what you mean by "living water, fruit of the vine, and grains of wheat gathered into one"? I have been around a long time, and I have no idea what you are talking about.
We sit around talking over steaming cups of coffee and cookies. I'm personally spending it trying to refute the guy at www.exlutheran.com
@Karen - I was lifting up the necessity of earthly elements in our sacraments. Baptism/living water; Communion wine/fruit of the vine; Communion bread/grains of wheat.
@Steve Jerbi -- sorry, I do understand. My problem is that we live in such confusing times, I think we need to get back to basics. The element of Baptism is not "living" water, it is just plain old water, at least accorcding to Aquinas. "Living water" is a term Jesus used with the Woman at the Well. There is so much confusion now. So sad.
Central Lutheran in Portland, Oregon, has done a Season of Creation for the past three years and is planning it again for Fall 2011. Folks there have really enjoyed taking four weeks to celebrate God's presence in the splendor of Creation. As pastor at Central, what I heard from God's people (until resigning recently for health reasons) is that the Season of Creation has helped validate what they have always felt: that God truly is present in Creation. They now see better how the Christian walk is following Jesus to reclaim God's creation for God's purposes. It's strengthened their faith so they can deal with anxieties from news about climate disruption. And it's given them a way to build bridges with non-Christian people who also care about restoring Creation. In my opinion, the Season of Creation offers a way to live out a truly Trinitarian Christian faith -- instead of making the second person of the Trinity the sole focus of worship, thought, and practice. The Season of Creation is a wholesome development with a long future ahead of it in the Church. I hope many other congregations will start walking down this lovely path connecting faith and life.
I echo what Pastor Brian said so articulately and authentically. I work with many ELCA congregations across the U.S., and I've yet to hear of a congregation that hasn't found this to be an absolutely wonderful experience when incorporating this into their worship and church life. For many, it helps to breathe a renewed sense of community among church members and enriches their shared life together. Kids love it so parents love it, and when others in surrounding communities hear about it, it can attract new members -- often younger ones -- something that many ELCA congregations are struggling to do in these tough economic times.
I hope to be doing a Season of Creation this fall as people return from their season of vacationing. Many will have spent time outdoors and will have seen both the beauty of God's good creation and how it has been marred by human carelessness.
I believe our Sunday morning liturgy points in a good direction. First, we worship the incarnate Lord Jesus Christ; God who comes into creation. Our Lord then uses real water in Baptism, and real bread and wine in the Eucharist. We do not speak of disembodied ideas, but rather of Word,Water, Bread and Wine, which help to reorient us both toward the Triune God who loves us and all creation, but, also toward creation which God continually embraces and sustains. As the Word,Water,Bread and Wine bring healing to us, they also turn us toward our neighbors and God's creation,which also are in need of healing.
Second, in a time when it is becoming more evident that our stewardship of creation is wanting, we have the opportunity to reflect deeply upon what it means to be both gifted with God's grace and our responsiblilty to share this gift with all that has been created. When we consider all that God has done, four weeks hardly seems long enough. Nevertheless, the four weeks provide an opportunity, to help people who are largely disconnected from the earth, the seasons, the pattern of light and darkness, to reconnect and understand that things like bread and wine are not manufactured but grown out of the earth; another mystery of God's love.
Finally,I am aware that there are many "natural" religions that dot the landscape, but their use of natural images,should not deter us from using them in proper context. The rich imagery of Scripture from Genesis to Revelation (a new heaven and a new earth)is to ample to bypass for lesser concerns.
You are certainly right in your understanding of the church year, however, the cycle of the the church year is linked to the very rhythm of the earth itself. We light the candles of Advent during the darkest season of the year, we celebrate the Light of the World near the winter solstice. Easter is celebrated in the Spring, the Season of Pentecost coincides with the growing season (in the northern hemisphere) and we speak of Christ's return during the season of Harvest. The Season of Creation provides an opportunity to help one another understand our connectedness to God's creation as well as our role as stewards. With so many people living in cities where the night sky is blotted out, where streams are channeled in concrete pipes, and gardens are a novelty, celebrating a season of creation in which we come to a deeper understanding of God as creator,redeemer and sanctifier of all creation, might move our sisters and brothers to exercise greater care for their local surroundings and more fully appreciate the rhythm of worship.
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