Monday, September 1, 2008

Creation Time

At the Third European Ecumenical Assembly (2007) official representatives of Europe's Roman Catholic, Orthodox, Anglican and Protestant churches recommended "That the period from 1 September to 4 October be dedicated to prayer for the protection of Creation and the promotion of sustainable lifestyles that reverse our contribution to climate change". The reason for the dates is that September is traditionally the time for harvest festivals and 4 October is the feast day of St Francis. Churches together in Britain and Ireland are encouraging all churches to be involved in this by providing various resources.

We've decided to celebrate Creation Time at St John's and began this Sunday by handing out the first weekly 'diary' of ways to celebrate and protect Creation. Today's entry included a quotation from Gerard Manley Hopkins's poem God's Grandeur which I have typed out in full below (it's best read aloud). Hopefully over the next few weeks there will be particular mention of environmental matters in the intercessions and elsewhere in the service.

Next Sunday there will be a brief talk on green electricity (covering the themes in my earlier post today on that subject), before our regular shared meal, after which there will be a group joining Reading Faith Forum's Friendship Walk receiving hospitality from various faith groups around the town.

God's Grandeur
The world is charged with the grandeur of God.
It will flame out, like shining from shook foil;
It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil
Crushed. Why do men then now not reck his rod:
Generations have trod, have trod, have trod;
And all is seared with trade; bleared, smeared with toil;
And wears man's smudge and shares man's smell: the soil
Is bare now, nor can foot feel, being shod.

And for all this, nature is never spent;
There lives the dearest freshness deep down things;
And though the last lights off the black West went
Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs -
Because the Holy Ghost over the bent
World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings.

Gerard Manley Hopkins 1877

Nb he doesn't mean tin foil but gold foil which, when shaken 'gives off broad glares like sheet lightning'

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