On Sunday we started a new series for Lent, looking at the sweep of the story from creation to resurrection. Our service was cafe church style, so what follows won't be the usual notes, but a reflection on our conversations, and some prompts to get you thinking and talking and even doing.
Our first reading was something a little different, coming via YouTube from the crew of the Apollo 8 mission.
How amazing to hear those words of creation over that view of our planet!
"God saw that it was good."
It's really easy to take goodness for granted, but we should name the good that we see and celebrate it, just as God did. And so we spent some time on Sunday sharing with one another the things that we think are good in the world, thanking God for them in prayer and by writing them on petals to create a tree of praise.
What would you add to our tree?
Could you make your own at home?
Our second reading was Psalm 8, which we used to get us thinking about creation care.
Verses 5-8 talk of humans as rulers or stewards of creation, given dominion over all other living things.
What does it mean for us to be stewards?
How can we be good stewards?
However, the psalm also reminds us not to think too much of our role by begining and ending by praising God.
Do we sometimes forget that this is God’s creation?
How can the way we care for it glorify him?
We also looked at the Living Lent challenge from the Joint Public Issues Team, an ecumenical group which works for peace and justice, which sparked another couple of questions.
What does creation care have to do with Lent?
Could you take up any of the Living Lent challenges?
These may not be very traditional Lent practices, but I do think there is something very fitting about them. Lent remembers the forty days that Jesus spent in the wilderness, preparing for his ministry in the world, and it can also be a time for us to prepare for our ministry in the world, which must include caring for creation.
When we look after this world that we have been given, we declare that we know it is good and it is God's, and we say that we care about all who live in it, and that is an important witness. That has always been true, but as we understand more about the damage we have done to the planet, it has taken on a new urgency.
If you want to think more about creation care, Blessed Earth is an organisation based on the belief that the Bible contains important answers to our environmental problems, and they have produced a series of tip sheets, with advice on how we can look after the world.
Creation also got us thinking about creativity. We are made in the image of a creator God, and so we are creative people. We create in all sort of different ways, and it's good to make time and space for that in our lives. We had options for Lego, origami, poetry and collage on Sunday, but there are so many different ways you can express your creativity.
How do you create?
Can you make space for some creativity this week?
There's lots for you to think about there, so I will end a prayer for our earth.
All-powerful God, you are present in the whole universe and in the smallest of your creatures. You embrace with your tenderness all that exists. Pour out upon us the power of your love, that we may protect life and beauty. Fill us with peace, that we may live as brothers and sisters, harming no one. O God of the poor, help us to rescue the abandoned and forgotten of this earth, so precious in your eyes. Bring healing to our lives, that we may protect the world and not prey on it, that we may sow beauty, not pollution and destruction. Touch the hearts of those who look only for gain at the expense of the poor and the earth. Teach us to discover the worth of each thing, to be filled with awe and contemplation, to recognize that we are profoundly united with every creature as we journey towards your infinite light. We thank you for being with us each day. Encourage us, we pray, in our struggle for justice, love and peace. Amen.