by Michael Larson – Worship, Arts and Service Director
Most of the church year tells the story of Jesus (Advent to Easter). The Season of Pentecost tells the story of the people of God in the Holy Spirit. Throughout our summer liturgy we considered what it means to be wholehearted people of God, called to embody the radical, unconditional Love and Grace in the world. Now, we transition to the Season of Creation where we consider what it means to be a human people, intricately woven into the web creation. We might also consider the whole of creation as the Body of God.
Throughout the church year, we celebrate the triune God—the Creator, the Redeemer, and the Sustainer. The Season of Creation gives us an opportunity to focus on “God the Creator” and to uplift the redemption and sanctification of creation itself. During this four-week liturgical season, we will celebrate the mysteries and wonders of Creation, remembering that we are part of (and not separate from) Creation. Our confession speaks to our tendency to dissociate from Creation and the ways in which “we have become alienated from Earth,” treating it as “a domain to be dominated” for “our gain.” Yet, I am reminded these days of the ways that we are part of something that is much larger with greater force and power.
Originating in a Lutheran church in Australia in 2001, the Season of Creation is a relatively new season in the church year that is now being celebrated in many countries around the world. I hope that even a short change in our church traditions and cycles will allow us to incorporate care for creation and an awareness of our interconnectedness on a regular basis. As Let All Creation Praise (an online resource) wonderfully states:
[The] Season of Creation follows the lead of the psalmists who exhort us to celebrate together with creation—with the forest, the rivers, and the fields who praise the Creator in their own way. We celebrate Earth, the garden planet God has chosen as God’s sanctuary and as our home. We celebrate with the creatures God has created as our kin on this blue green planet. As we celebrate, we are conscious of the crisis that creation faces because of human greed, exploitation, and neglect. As we celebrate, we empathize with those parts of creation—human and non-human—that are groaning because of human crimes against creation. And, especially, we celebrate the Christ, whose death brings forgiveness for our sins against creation and whose risen presence is the cosmic power at work in reconciling and restoring creation. (letallcreationpraise.org/season-of-creation)
The Spirit Series (Year A, 2017)
The Season of Creation is typically celebrated between Creation Day (September 1) and St. Francis of Assisi Day (October 4). This season, just as the other seasons in the church year, cycles through three years (A, B, and C). This year, we ponder the Spirit breathing life into creation, suffering with creation, and renewing all creation. Each Sunday has a unique focus:
Forest Sunday (September 10): We worship with creation in a forest, remembering how our Creator formed us from Earth, breathed life into us, and planted a forest garden as our home with the rest of our kin in creation.
Land Sunday (September 17): We worship with the land, soil, and land creatures. We hear the story in Genesis where Earth bears the curse for us, and how Jesus tells the Pharisees and scribes that the Son of Man will be in the heart of Earth for three days and nights.
Wilderness Sunday (September 24): We worship in the wilderness, full of wild wonder and mystery. We remember the wild places on Earth and the story of Jesus led by the Spirit to the wilderness.
River Sunday (October 1): We worship with the rivers God created, in Eden and across our planet, that are the lifeblood of Earth and the soul of all that lives.
Upcoming Years in the Season of Creation
Year B (2018) is “The Word Series,” which speak to the Word as the “deep impulse that is summoning forth creation, evoking praise from creation, and stirring life in creation.” The Sundays in this series include: Planet Earth, Humanity, Sky, and Mountain.
Year C (2019) is “The Wisdom Series,” which explores Wisdom as the “impulse within all parts of creation, designing their mysteries, guiding their purposes, and mentoring their functions.” The Sundays in this series include: Ocean, Animal, Storm, and Universe.
To learn more about the Season of Creation, please see www.seasonofcreation.org and www.letallcreationpraise.org. If you have questions regarding liturgy, music and arts, please don’t hesitate to connect with me in person or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.