Planning Starters for the Season of Creation 2014 (Year A)

(September 7-28, 2014)
by Taylor Burton-Edwards

The Season of Creation is an ecumenical celebration during the month of September, begun some two decades ago in Australia, and now spreading throughout Protestant denominations in New Zealand, Canada, England, Europe, and the United States. The original project website (www.seasonofcreation.com) contains many rich resources for a topically based series of services with Scripture chosen to fit the topic.

The resources we are providing are instead based on the established readings from the Revised Common Lectionary. In Year B (2012), the first time we offered these resources for United Methodists and others who may use our site, the readings leant themselves well to allowing for a focus on different elements of God’s creation, much as the Australian resources do, though in a different order. In Year C, the readings called much more attention to the relationships humans have with the wider creation.

Here in Year A, the readings from Exodus point powerfully to a variety of roles of the created world in our lives. Here is a list of themes and basic suggestions for these Sundays.

September 7: "Death"
Death may seem a very odd place to begin a month of celebrating creation. However, death has accompanied all life on earth since the time of the first and smallest of creatures.

The instructions for the passover celebration we read this week address death head on. The passover lamb will die. The body of the lamb is handled in a very specific way so that its death functions as a channel of life, strength, and protection in the face of a profoundly deadly plague about to encompass humans and animals alike where they are held captive. How is death, in its variety of forms, both life-giving and destructive where you are?

September 14: "Sky, Wind, and Sea"
Through a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire in the sky by night, God leads a newly-freed people out of harm’s way and toward a new homeland. Through a "strong East wind" God creates a path through the sea for the people to walk on, then lets the sea close in on a pursuing Egyptian army. In this way, sky, wind, and sea all became channels of deliverance for these people. How do they function among the people where you are?


September 21: "Food"

Even in a desert, God provides the people abundant food. It’s odd food. It’s quail flocks near sunset and "manna," literally "whatsit," with the morning dew.  But it’s enough. The gospel reading this week addresses those whose work brings us food, or, in this case, wine, and raises issues about "fair trade." How do you and your congregation approach the creatd world for food? Do you let God give you what is enough from it?

September 28: "Blessing All Creatures: Water"
The last Sunday in the Season of Creation is typically also the Sunday closest to the celebration of St. Francis (October 4). Part of what you are invited to do this day is an extension of the "pet blessing" found in the Book of Worship (beginning on 608) to bless all creatures, animals, plants, and even insects and bacteria (over 90% of the cells found in a living human body are, after all, not human, but bacterial!).

In Year A, theScripture reading from Exodus focuses particularly on our need (and the need of all living things) for water and God’s gracious provision of it. In the story from Exodus, there is reason to be concerned. The people were in a wilderness, a desert, far from any visible water source. They would, in fact, die if they could not obtain water soon. They had not exhausted any wells or streams, nor polluted any to make them undrinkable. They had simply followed Moses (and God) to a place where there simply was no water to be had as far as they eye could see.

Safe supplies of water remain a significant concern globally. Unsafe water spreads disease and death. The lack of water because of extended droughts related to climate change is threatening the largest producer of fresh produce in the United States, California’s Central Valley. 

How does your community relate to water supplies where you are? How do your congregation and the people in it model at once trust in God to provide and wise stewardship of the gift of water so not only you, but all living creatures, may be blessed by it?


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