Season of Creation

For the second year, we are going to be working our way through the newly added “Season of Creation” to the Revised Common Lectionary. This season was created by a group of clergy and laity who felt the “season after Pentecost,” called “Ordinary time,” was just too, well…..ordinary! The “Season of Creation” observed during September each year, provides a little “break” from the routine, and is a lot of fun. Last year, we had input from many in the congregation on special arrangements for the altar, including Tom Howard’s wonderful Bonzai collection on “Forest Sunday.”
This season will include different themes than last year, since it, like the regular lectionary, is on a three year cycle. “Planet Earth Sunday” will feature scripture and liturgies celebrating Earth’s unique place in our solar system as a verdant place of life. Though the Mars Rover is doing its best to see if Mars has ever been able to sustain life, we certainly celebrate that this “island home” has such vibrancy. However, the vibrancy and life of Earth is certainly tenuous. In this season of wildfires and now hurricanes, we acknowledge that many of the cycles of planet earth are destructive, and that much of that destructiveness is amplified by our short-sighted use of resources. As a segue between this last Sunday’s theme, which described “Our Struggle” in cosmic terms and the remainder of the season, which is largely celebratory, we’ll include acts of repentance and the assurance of Holy Communion that “Planet Earth,” will be born again as God’s Kingdom, and that our participation as the Body of Christ aides in that transformation. Sept. 9, we’ll observe “Mountain Sunday.” Mountains are a major theme in our scripture, so I’ll have my work cut out for me focusing the sermon on just one of those places (or in coming up with a summarizing idea that speaks to the plethora of images.
On September 16th, our own Lisa Dellinger will return to UUMC to preach the sermon and then offer a follow up lecture for the Mildred Strokey and Blanche Miller Memorial Lecture Series. I immediately thought of Lisa when I saw a few months ago that this year’s season of Creation included a “Humanity Sunday.” Though we sometimes don’t act like it, Humanity is part of Creation too, remember! On this Sunday, Lisa will draw on her doctoral area of study in “Postcolonial Theology” to lift up the voice of those groups of humanity who have spent so much of their history under the thumb of militarily and economically dominant cultures such as our own. If we can learn anything from the “light to the nations,” it is that God stands with those who are “subjects” to the “authorities and rulers” of “this present darkness,” to use the words of Ephesians 6.
Sept. 23rd will be “Sky Sunday,” and we will focus on the cycles of weather that sustain life on earth, the magnificent “window on space” that “declares the glory of God, according to Psalm 19. To conclude the season, the theme of Sept. 30th will be “Animal Sunday,” when we will lift up in morning worship the astounding diversity of animal life, and then come back later at 6pm that evening for a “Blessing of the Animals” that affirms the life of our non-human companions and gives thanks to God for their place in our lives. It will be quite a month! I hope to see you in worship.