This letter was given to all parishioners at our service on Sunday 5 September 2021. You can listen to it on Spotify here.
This September we are doing things a little differently. We, with many churches of many denominations throughout the world, are celebrating the season of creation. It runs for the four Sundays of September, and then culminates in the Harvest Festival the first week of October.
The well-known English Saint, Julian of Norwich wrote:
‘And he showed me a little thing, the size of a hazelnut, on the palm of my hand, round like a ball. I looked at it thoughtfully and wondered, ‘What is this?’ And the answer came, ‘It is all that is made.’ I marvelled that it continued to exist and did not suddenly disintegrate; it was so small. And again my mind supplied the answer, ‘It exists, both now and for ever, because God loves it.’ In short, everything owes its existence to the love of God. In this ‘little thing’ I saw three truths. The first is that God made it; the second is that God loves it; and the third is that God sustains it.’
As Christians we believe that God cares for, sustains and loves his creation, and that he has made us his stewards on earth. We have not been doing a very good job.
In his introduction to “A time for creation” the Bishop of Exeter writes “Pictures of oceans clogged with discarded plastic, the desertification of productive farmland, extreme weather conditions, rising sea levels and the catastrophic decline of biodiversity in some parts of the world have introduced an urgency in public and private discourse. For too long humankind has taken the environment for granted. Now that we see it threatened, we are at last waking up to the challenge of caring better for God’s earth.”
This is all very familiar. We see evidence of climate disaster on the news every day. We know we need to act, and we do our best to recycle and avoid waste. Very often the enormity of the situation leaves us feeling helpless and defeated. What we need is to focus on our relationship with God, to ask for his guidance and to trust him. We need to praise, to rejoice in the beauty around us and to find inspiration from nature in all its marvellous diversity.
Over the next five weeks we will be talking about creation and acknowledging our failure to care for it well, but the overall theme is to express our joy, gratitude and hope. We need to be encouraged and inspired, to be reminded of the goodness of God and the amazing world that he has given us as our home. The themes will be
September 5th Wonder
September 12th Abundance
September 19th Desolation
September 26th Restoration
October 4th Harvest
It is a very long time since we have been able to have our usual services with the Sunday School present and contributing the worship, so this year’s Harvest Festival will be even more special than usual and will be the climax of our creation season.