8/10/08

Invocation / Creation / Vacation


Video by Thia Elizabeth; hymn by John Rutter; performed by the Paya Lebar Methodist Girls' School (Primary) Choir

Every month the Vatican announces an intention for which the pope asks all to pray. I'm going to try to remember to post this call to prayer each month - and in time for the first day of each month.

Here's the intention for August:

That the human family may know
how to respect God's design for the world
and thus become ever more aware of the great gift of God
which creation represents for us.

In the parish I serve we pray the same general intercessions every week, with variations according to season and particular needs. Thus, every week we pray these words:

For respect and reverence for life
in all its shapes and forms
and for the wisdom and will
to conserve the gifts of creation,
let us pray to the Lord...

Those who are fortunate enough to have the time and resources to go on vacation often visit points and parts of creation which in beautiful and rare ways reveal the God who made the universe, and our small planet within it.

In other words, vacations often become pilgrimages to the natural shrines God has built. Of course, in the beginning the whole of creation was given to us as a sanctuary of God's presence and we were appointed caretakers of a cathedral whose boundaries we have yet to discover.

Then God said:
"Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.
Let them have dominion over the fish of the sea,
the birds of the air, and the cattle,
and over all the wild animals

and all the creatures that crawl on the ground."
God created man in his image;
in the divine image he created him;

male and female he created them.
God blessed them, saying:
"Be fertile and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it.
Have dominion over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air,
and all the living things that move on the earth."
God also said:
"See, I give you every seed-bearing plant all over the earth
and every tree that has seed-bearing fruit on it to be your food;
and to all the animals of the land, all the birds of the air,
and all the living creatures that crawl on the ground,
I give all the green plants for food."
And so it happened.
God looked at everything he had made,
and he found it very good.

Evening came, and morning followed--the sixth day.
Genesis 1:26-31

In so many ways we have used the world around us for our own selfish purposes: we have abused "the great gift of God which creation represents for us;" we have failed in our work as the stewards of God's holy place; we have confused dominion with domination. Clearly, the earth's bounty was intended to feed God's people. When the Lord looks today at everything he has made, does he still find it very good? How will those stewards who enjoy the larger share of the earth's resources be judged by the Creator who made all - for all?

It's easy, when we have much, to take the things we have for granted. So it is with the gift of creation. Benedict's intention for August and my parish's weekly intercession both serve to heighten our awareness of creation, to nature's gifts and keep us from missing what is right around us, and in front of us on our tables...

Even if vacation time is sparse, we can spend the free time we do have to open our eyes to what's right around us. Even if we don't live in or near some of the spectacular vistas in the global garden entrusted to our care, every change of season* gives us a fresh opportunity to visit again the world at our doorsteps, to be grateful for it and to conserve it.

Praying for and paying "reverence to life in all its shapes and forms" will heighten our appreciation for it and make better stewards of us in whose hands rests the future of our world.

*I've added the "Summer" portion of Vivaldi's Four Seasons to the top of the sidebar.

-ConcordPastor

3 comments:

elizabeth said...

Thank you- for opening my eyes and helping me to see a new perspective on things...
I have been feeling very bad lately (yesterday being dangerously low)- today I went outside and walked... and walked and walked and walked... I didn't have a particular destination in mind, but I found myself in places I had never been before (and they really weren't that far from where I live). At first, I started to worry that I would get lost, but then I realized that I would eventually find something familiar. The weather was bright and sunny and warm (the severe rainstorms hadn't arrived yet) and I was enjoying the walk and the sun on my skin...
But, it wasn't until I got home and saw this post that I looked back on my day and really appreciated it. The simplicity of it.
Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the Vivaldi!

Anonymous said...

Just watched video and hymn. Beautiful! The girls voices are so gentle and so together. I have been watching the Summer Olympics. The voices are as synchronized as synchronized diving!