Thursday, October 1, 2009

For the Beauty of the Earth

At Amazing Grace, we just finished up Season of Creation, an alternative lectionary cycle that focuses on God as Creator, and has a strong emphasis on environmental stewardship. The four Sundays emphasized Earth, Humanity, Sky, and Mountain. We’re gearing up for Blessing of the Animals on October 3 at 10 a.m. Bring your cat, dog, ferret, llama, or favorite critter for a brief outdoor service of blessing. It will definitely be outdoors.

These days, it seems like a lot of Lutherans keep talking about sexuality. We cannot forget, however, that Human Sexuality: Gift and Trust is not the only ELCA social statement. Consider these words from Caring for Creation: Vision, Hope, and Justice:
“Christian concern for the environment is shaped by the Word of God spoken in creation, the Love of God hanging on a cross, the Breath of God daily renewing the face of the earth.”

During Season of Creation, this time when we have boldly stepped away from the Revised Common Lectionary, I have been deliberate in not turning my sermons into “50 Ways You Can Save the Earth.” This is based on two things: 1) We as human beings don’t save anything. Jesus does. 2) Lutheran preaching isn’t about step-by-step instructions. It’s about proclaiming what God has done and is doing.

When you think about it, the Bible is a very ecological book. Think of all the nature imagery: garden, green pasture, dry bones, mustard seed, river of life. In one of the Genesis creation stories, God proclaims the Earth good. Yet, creation is just as broken as we are. Caring for creation is more than just following simple mantras like “Reduce, reuse, recycle” and “Give a hoot and don’t pollute; never be a dirty bird.” It’s about being people created, redeemed, and called by the God of Creation.

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