O sing to the Lord a new song; sing to the Lord, all the earth. Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice; let the sea roar, and all that fills it; let the field exult, and everything in it. Then shall all the trees of the forest sing for joy.
A number of years ago, the Episcopal Church started to observe Creation Season from September 1 through St. Francis Day on October 4, when some churches hold a blessing of animals. Over the years this has morphed in many ways, but this year we hope that our liturgy will reflect some of the wonder of Creation.
Did you know that there are about 7,500 varieties of apples in the world, and about 2,500 hundred varieties in the U.S., depending on the resource you search? When I read Genesis hearing God day-by-day creating with the spoken Word and the power of the Spirit, it seems like there must be only one or two of each species. “Then God said, ‘Let the earth put forth vegetation: plants yielding seed, and fruit trees of every kind on earth that bear with the seed in it.’” (Genesis 1:11). However, we quickly learn that God never stops creating, and didn’t stop with one variety or color of rose or any other vegetation…or insect…or animal. When I stop to ponder this my brain lights up! God, in full glory, delights us, surprises us, exceeds our expectations, and will never ever cease to amaze.
I love taking my morning and evening walks when I take the time to pause and enjoy everything around me. Every single day the sky looks different, the smell in the air changes, some plants spring up, others fade. It is my prayer time, my me time, my time to listen and sort out the day. Once a month I try to take a day of rest in the wilderness, where I seem to be able to settle in with God and just breathe and listen. It is at those times when I am most deeply grateful for all I have been given: a relationship with God, my family, my friends, a living wage, delicious food, books, travels, adventures, and nature.
One of the things I love about Psalm 96 is that creation joins in the praise of our Creator—the heavens are “glad,” the earth “rejoices,” the sea “roars,” the trees “sing for joy!” When was the last time you paused to hear creation rejoice? When was the last time you really stopped to taste the complex flavors of the food you were consuming? Or the last time you lingered at the farmer’s market to smell fresh, ripe produce and to savor the samples?
When did you last go to your favorite spot, whether on your back patio or out to the ocean just to sit and watch the sunset?
In this Season of Creation, and the beginning of a new school year when the days become shorter and we anticipate the end of Daylight Saving Time (Sunday, November 6), I invite you to slow down and remember all the good gifts we have been given.