Sunday, April 23, 2017

Worthy Earthy Worship

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When we chatted after work this past Thursday I announced to Ruth, my wife, that I was ready for Sunday worship, including a completed sermon. She know that my goal each week is Friday, noon, so she asked how and why I was done so quickly. Today is Earth Sunday, and I derive great pleasure, even joy from the preparation for this service, as with the Creation Time services in the Fall. Everything seems to come together more readily because of my passion for the subject. Creation Time requires more planning, because it is a series of services in a mini-season, but Earth Sunday is an occasion to celebrate Creator and Creation as Spring emerges in southern Ontario. Easter Sunday roams all over the map, so there are no guarantees that the March and early April dates won't include snow. But Earth Sunday tends to be safe as the closest Sunday to Earth Day, which is always April 22nd (this year, yesterday.) 

Earth Sunday isn't really part of the liturgical calendar, although it shows up as Earth/Camping Sunday on the Canadian Church Calendar. More than ever though, we need to connect our hearts, our heads, and our actions with an appreciation that we are called to be responsible creatures on God's good Earth. We also affirm that "God so loved the world" that God entered into the created order in the person of Jesus. In my sermon today I'll quote a portion of the observation below by Wendell Berry, a writer and "geologian" who is so wise about our relationships with the soil and the water and the sky.

I don’t think it is enough appreciated how much an outdoor book the Bible is. It is a “hypaethral book,” such as Thoreau talked about—a book open to the sky. It is best read and understood outdoors, and the farther outdoors the better. Or that has been my experience of it. Passages that within walls seem improbably or incredible, outdoors seem merely natural. This is because outdoors we are confronted everywhere with wonders; we see that the miraculous is not extraordinary but the common mode of existence. It is our daily bread. Whoever really has considered the lilies of the field or the birds of the air and pondered the improbability of their existence in this warm world within the cold and empty stellar distances will hardly balk at the turning of the water into wine—which was, after all, a very small miracle. We forget the greater and still continuing miracle by which water (with soil and sunlight) is turned into grapes.
                                           Wendell Berry,  Sex, Economy, Freedom and Community

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