I began ministry as a resident CPE chaplain. So working as a pastor in local hospital settings. And often at the bedside with folks who are in the midst of some of the most significant moments of life, I would ask if they wanted to stop and offer prayer. And very often that prayer began with a line similar to this, “Holy One, thank You for this morning, for the beauty revealed in Your creation, and for the beauty of Your creation as revealed in,” and then I would put their name.

The prayer would continue on, but those lines have continued to form how I think about our relationship, both to one another and to God. AND to creation – to see ourselves not as separate from, but as intertwined with creation, God’s holy creation. And it seems to me that it is a part of our theological reflection, but our task as church to keep in mind the ways in which we are both dependent upon creation and called to be stewards of creation, and to think diligently about why, as people of faith, that is so integral to who we are.

That reminder sticks with me. Every time I work with churches who are thinking about becoming creation justice churches or who are taking a sabbath for creation justice, it sort of echoes through the ages as I work with congregations who are discerning how to think about anything from their energy efficiency to the way in which they gather. And does that tend to the whole of creation? After all, we are a part of that call to be in relationship to it.

And so, friends, as YOU are thinking about how it is YOU are church, how it is YOU are reflecting the divine image of God that is in within you, I invite you and your communities of faith to dig deeper, to think about your own connection to creation. Maybe this happens through some of the creation justice resources from the UCC, and really to take a moment to take in the beauty of God’s creation that calls us to see a part of that which is bigger than us. Friends, blessings upon you this day.