Joyous Creationtide 2018!

One of the benefits of ‘Creationtide’ is to free us from the trappings of the world of stuff! We are so surrounded by the excesses of global consumerism, that our possessions possess us. This is idolatry at its worst – the power of pleasure disconnecting us from the power of love.

So, in this season can we question whether we really need to carry our mobiles with us at all times? Do we really have to check our emails every hour? Can we do without our cars or tv’s or computers for just a few days? How might we reduce our food and energy consumption to make a difference to the lives of others?

More significantly, can we use the hours spent in front of a screen instead engaging with the natural environment? When we think about it, the energy spent buying ‘things’ or keeping ourselves amused, could be used to better care for those around us, especially in a society fragmented by loneliness.

As Sarah Ivens says in her new book, ‘Forest Therapy’, “There is something soul-soothingly simple and refreshing about being in nature, about making good use of the great outdoors…and gabbing the days of autumn with both hands.”

Spending time away from ‘stuff’ takes us to new places and new people. Letting go of the things that encapsulate us and finding the space to enable us to focus on what we cannot measure, is central to becoming what we might be before God.

Let’s go outside – observe the clouds, watch the stars, lie down on the grass, smell the soil, breathe deeply, feel the wind, hear the birds and touch the stones. Pursuing such activities is not trendy or ‘new-ageism’ – they are fundamental experiences to reconnecting with God’s earth and with the Holy.

Our eyes are naturally attracted to movement. For this reason we like to sit by a flickering fire, watch snowflakes falling or see the waves breaking on a beach. The same with the other senses: listening to birds or insects, smelling flowers or leaves, tasting fruits, touching trees and rocks.

These are all opportunities to sense the world around us and to recognise that we are part of this same world. Together we constitute a wholeness in which we know God. Jesus’ references to the birds of the air and the lilies of the fields, point us in the same direction – seeing ourselves at one with the Creator through the Creation.

For too long in our churches we have been suspicious of Nature and the accusations of Pelagianism or pantheism (God is all) have been accepted uncritically. Yet surely, we can include ‘panentheism’ – God being in everything as the instigator and sustainer of life?

Creationtide is a season to rebalance our theology – recalling that the beginning of the old Christian year (September) puts Advent into a different context. The birth of Christ takes place after we have recognised the Creatorship of God. It does not happen in a vacuum but in the very earthliness of life. The second Adam is also of the Earth.

Incarnation does not begin with Jesus of Nazareth. It is rather an evolving interaction between the divine and human, which has its roots in the beginning of time and space.

Let us enjoy and appreciate this period, to renew our love of God’s Creation so that we may embrace it more fully through our own lives right now…

All best wishes
Martyn

“Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while care will drop off like autumn leaves, …Nature’s sources of joy never fail.” – John Muir

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