Lent

Care for Creation

 

Lenten Journey 

Whoever you are, you are human. Wherever  you are, you live in the world, which is just waiting for you to notice the holiness in it. 

Barbara Brown Taylor

We move to week 4. A week that we in this study turn toward creation on our discipleship journey. Throughout the stories that tell of God in our history, the Old and New Testaments we hear of God’s part in creation, promises made in stars, rainbows, the parting of great waters, the lilies calmly standing in the field, the oak tree, the mustard seed, the lost sheep, and many many more. 

Perhaps it is this week through the lens of justice, that we might look for the holiness in creation, and wonder what the story it would tell of God, or the people of God. It would be good if we could find a place to be, near the sea, in the grass, under a tree, or looking out the window. But it would also be good to find a practice that might contribute to living out a more sustainable use of the resources that we are using up, far too fast. 

We might also consider that living in extravagance, and beyond our environmental means, is impacting directly the oceans, the great and small fish of the sea, lands that lie low, the sky and our own health. This week of lent is a time to explore creation with discipleship and justice in mind. 

Prayer

Magnificent God, 

when we think of awe, 

our mind stumbles. 

We are too busy for awe. 

We know too much to be in awe. 

We are too jaded for awe. 

We ignore the spiritual gift of awe. 

We feel awe, yes, before a moumtain, 

a sparkling lake, 

a humming bird. 

We do not feel awe before the blessings of everyday. 

Forgive us, Magnificent One. 

Help us to experience awe this week. 

in washing the dishes, 

in our office colleagues and challenges, 

in an evening stroll. 

For we would be deeply faithful to you. 

Amen. 

© 2010 The United Church of Canada/L’Église Unie du Canada. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial Share Alike Licence. To view a copy of this licence, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.5/ca. Any copy must include this notice.

This week we open the reading from John 12: 1-8. 

1 Six days before the Passover Jesus came to Bethany, the home of Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. 2 There they gave a dinner for him. Martha served, and Lazarus was one of those at the table with him. 3 Mary took a pound of costly perfume made of pure nard, anointed Jesus’ feet, and wiped them with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. 4 But Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples (the one who was about to betray him), said, 5 “Why was this perfume not sold for three hundred denarii and the money given to the poor?” 6 (He said this not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief; he kept the common purse and used to steal what was put into it.) 7 Jesus said, “Leave her alone. She bought it so that she might keep it for the day of my burial. 8 You always have the poor with you, but you do not always have me.”

NRSV

“Sometimes inequality feels like an indominable foe, especially when we recognise that we are fighting entire network systems – and we are not just fighting those systems, we are fighting the deep set values that constructed the problem and continue to contribute to them.” 

Lindsey Trozzo https://www.workingpreacher.org/preaching.aspx?commentary_id=3993 The use of costly perfume made of pure nard, anointing Jesus’ feet, and then Mary wiping them with her own hair, expresses an extravagance that is beyond comfortable, beyond safe and is definitely a vulnerable and courageous action to both give and receive. To step into this action of gracious extravagance is hard. But when we consider the world, creation and all that lives in it, we might consider this action. 

You always have the poor with you, but you do not always have me. Jesus says, when we balance the needs of people all over the world and in our own communities, and when we consider the needs of stewardship and care in our creation, when we consider our needs to worship and enjoy God’s holiness, it can be hard to balance which one might be more important, which one might be higher or lower in their need. But even though we can successfully check our phone, maintain a conversation and take part in a meeting at the same time, we are not often able to argue that with all of our gifts and skills together, we might be able to consider all of these needs together. 

One of the considerations that we might make is that whilst it is good and important to consider acting as an individual, this journey calls us to work together to consider the network and systems, values and constructs which hold creation at arms length and beyond our care. 

 

Actions/Readings

How can I prepare for Lent? 

John 12: 1-8

  • Read the readings
  • What knowledge / experiences do you bring to this topic?
  • Pray 

What is a practice that you could do for the next week that might shape our understanding of being a carer for creation. 

Is there a particular resource that you could share, or explore in your own networks? 

Is there more that you would like to explore here? 

For groups of like minded people you would like join the facebook group; NSW/ACT Uniting Earth Ministry Group

And for further reading; there is an article about Eco-theology in the Church times; https://www.churchtimes.co.uk/articles/2013/13-september/comment/opinion/eco-theology-is-not-new-it-s-foundational-to-faith