Creationtide

sun in the sky during night time
Image: Pixabay, Sunrise from space

Hymn

Psalm 150

Praise the Lord.

Praise God in his sanctuary;
    praise him in his mighty heavens.
Praise him for his acts of power;
    praise him for his surpassing greatness.
Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet,
    praise him with the harp and lyre,
praise him with tambourine and dancing,
    praise him with the strings and pipe,
praise him with the clash of cymbals,
    praise him with resounding cymbals.

Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.

Praise the Lord.

Homily

As I write this its chilly and raining – hardly weather to make me want to enthuse about creation, and yet September marks the start of Creationtide, the season in the churches year when we reflect on the created world and our place in it. It is a season dedicated to God as creator and sustainer of life and gives us a place to reflect on how we care for the environment, how we can be more sustainable and culminates in the season of Harvest when we give thanks for all of God’s provision.

Our psalm today reflects that sense of praise. It is not just for the psalmist or the congregation to give thanks, but everything that has breath. In other words it is the job of all created things to praise the Lord. It reminds me of the children’s song by Julia Plaut ‘Mr Cow, how do you, say to the Lord, I love you?’ Maybe you know it…

‘Mr cow, how do you,
Say to the Lord,
I love You? (repeat)

Well I stand around in the field all day
And it gives me plenty of time to say –
Moo! Moo!’

And it goes through a whole series of animals – you get the idea! You see being created and praising God is about being yourself, who you were meant to be. Whether you are an ant or an anteater, a cow or a crow – or for that matter a tree or a fish – the act of being alive and breathing is an act of praise to God. And the same is true for us. So often we think we must do things to be good enough to praise God, or that God doesn’t want us until we live our lives in a certain way, but nothing could be further from the point. God loves us and wants us to be in a relationship with him, to praise God at its most simplest, means we just need to be ourselves. If we can take the step of acknowledging God, then we start on a journey of faith that is about being accepted for who we are and using that to glorify God.

The most amazing thing about creation is how unique it is and yet how God knows every sparrow and every hair on your head. Jesus who was present at the very start of creation sees your uniqueness as part of that astonishing act of bringing the universe into being.

As I reflected on creation this week it brought to mind lots of questions, which I hope will be helpful for all of us to reflect on as we come to worship today:

What does it mean for everything that has breath to praise the Lord?

Is this a concept you find easy or not? What influences that?

How does this reflect on how we treat the natural environment?

Do you ever think of the natural environment at creation, at work praising God? Does this change how you think about the world?

Does the natural world lead us to praise God?

Can you think of times when you have been led to praise God because of the natural world? Are there ways that you could grow this aspect of spirituality in your own life?

What small changes might we be able to make in our own lives to better care for the environment?

Sometimes we can feel daunted by changing things but maybe its easier to start small and keep it up than be overly ambitious. What little things might you be able to do to car for the environment? Perhaps you might like to share your ideas in the comments, and come back to these questions as you reflect over the coming week.

The act of caring for creation and of praising God because of creation are intrinsically linked. Let’s each use this season of Creationtide to reflect on how creation influences our worship and on how we might better help everything that has breath, to praise the Lord.

Prayers

Let us pray to God the almighty, the King of creation

God said, ‘Let there be light.’

Eternal God, we thank you for your light and your truth.

We praise you for your fatherly care

in creating a universe which proclaims your glory.

Inspire us to worship you, the creator of all,

and let your light shine upon our world.

God of life:

hear our prayer.

God said, ‘Let there be a firmament in the midst of the heavens.’

We thank you for the vastness of the universe

and the mysteries of space.

We pray for all scientists and astronomers

who extend the boundaries of our knowledge.

As we contemplate the wonder of the heavens,

confirm us in the truth that every human being is

known and loved by you.

God of life:

hear our prayer.

God said, ‘Let the waters be gathered together,

and let dry land appear.’

We thank you for the beauty of the earth,

for the diversity of land and sea,

for the resources of the earth.

Give us the will to cherish this planet

and to use its riches for the good and welfare of all.

God of life:

hear our prayer.

God said, ‘Let there be lights in the sky

to separate the day and the night.’

We thank you for the warmth of the sun,

the light of the moon, the glory of the stars.

We praise you for the formations of clouds,

the radiance of dawn and sunset.

Save us from wasting or abusing the energy

on which all life depends.

Open our eyes to behold your beauty,

and our lips to praise your name.

God of life:

hear our prayer.

God said, ‘Let the waters bring forth living creatures,

and let birds fly across the sky.’

We thank you for the teeming life of the seas,

and the flight of the birds.

Help us to protect the environment

so that all life may flourish.

God of life:

hear our prayer.

God said, ‘Let the earth bring forth living creatures of every kind.’

We rejoice in the variety of animal life.

Grant us grace to treat all animals with respect and care;

to protect endangered species,

to preserve the variety of habitats,

and to honour the delicate balance of nature.

God of life:

hear our prayer.

God said, ‘Let us create human beings in our own image.’

We pray for the human family.

We exult in its diversity and giftedness,

we repent of its sins, divisions and violence.

By the power of your Spirit, restore your image within us,

through Christ who came to remake us

by his death and resurrection.

God of life:

hear our prayer.

Heavenly Father, you have filled the world with beauty:

open our eyes to behold your gracious hand in all your works;

that, rejoicing in your whole creation,

we may learn to serve you with gladness;

for the sake of him through whom all things were made,

your Son Jesus Christ our Lord.

Amen.

From Church of England Times and Seasons

Hymn

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