While browsing through Mary Hawes’ wonderful monthly newsletter for the Church of England, Going for Growth, http://www.going4growth.org.uk/growth_through_the_year/creation-time I learned that we are in the church season of Creation Time. Our Mennonite Churches have certainly attuned themselves more closely to the church year in recent decades, but I did not know that ordinary time had these subsections.
According to this newsletter, “Creation Time is the name which has been given to the 5 Sundays from 1st September to the 2nd Sunday in October. Using the Lectionary readings, it is an opportunity to focus on creation and re-consider our responsibilities for the stewardship of the earth. The 4th October is the Feast of St Francis.”
Creation time certainly works for me as a church season! For one, it places my budding indoor garden into a context alongside of harvest, much like the squirrel I saw this morning, pictured below, who is either storing food for winter or inadvertently planting it to grow next spring.
When I focus on Creation, I get pulled toward the fun, the suspense, and the mystery of creating stuff, of being co-creators with God. Speaking of fun, this week I hope to pollinate the finally blooming cantaloupe plant that I took in from the garden a month ago. Male flowers abound, but I haven’t found a female flower yet.
As I check the seedlings each morning, I delight in the new leaves slowly revealing the plant character that lay hidden in tiny seeds. I look out and drink in the stately beauty of the towering cedar, pine and elms through the indoor garden’s many windows. As I drink in these many shades of green gratitude grows for the beauty that accompanies ecological health.
I think about the coming fall and winter and anticipate enjoying fresh greens alongside of preserved vegetables and fruits from this summer’s bounty. I anticipate the greenhouse standing out as an oasis of cheerful green in a winter landscape.
But its not just fun, food, and gratitude. Gardening pulls me toward greater care for creation and stimulates a growing consciousness of our responsibilities for the stewardship of the earth. It immerses me in ‘Creation Time.’ I am even beginning to turn the compost in the bins outside to help ready it to feed next year’s plants, something I only thought about doing till now!
I wonder, would consciously celebrating Creation Time in worship for five Sundays each fall help Christians develop a growing consiousness of our responsibilities for the stewardship of the earth? I know we can’t all play around in and be transformed by indoor gardens, but worshipping around the theme for five Sundays a year might inspire many other creative ways of acknowledging that “The earth is the Lord’s” Ps. 24:1a.