As the seasons of nature change outside our Carrot Top Studiowindow we are reminded of the beauty and bounty of this world we live in. The leaves on many of our trees will soon be a visual feast for the eyes as they transform from greens to a splendid array of warm colors. I have just come home from the farmers market where I felt moved with thanksgiving for those that work hard to provide us an abundance of fresh produce.As the church what can we do to honor God's amazing creation? The list is long and I am way too unworthy to come up with every idea so today I'll focus on one that you might consider as you're planning for Advent....it actually starts with Thanksgiving or harvest time.
If you mark time with liturgically with the church year in your worship services can visualize this using an evergreen tree. During Thanksgiving worship (if you are in the US or Canada) include thankfulness for creation--even the trees that produce oxygen, clean the soil, provide shade and bear fruit. Then let the visual connections begin with Advent! Display an evergreen tree during Advent. Each week it might slowly be filled with lights and ornaments leading up to Christmas. Chrismon symbols would be especially appropriate. On Epiphany the branches could be removed and burnt in an outdoor bonfire. This type of event would not only represent the magnificent light of the star that guided the Wise Men but also would provide enthusiasm to echo the feelings of those first worshipers. Ashes could then be collected for Ash Wednesday. The remaining trunk could be sawed in two to be formed into a cross to be used during Lent. Easter morning worship would allow worshipers to bring flowers to embellish the cross that had been wrapped in ivy. The ivy not only provides armature but as an evergreen it is a traditional symbol of God's everlasting love. This living cross is a celebration of the Resurrection and an inspirational visual.
While thinking about creation I will sign off with this...
A Prayer of Awareness
Hildegard of Bingen
God is the foundation for everything
This God undertakes, God gives.
Such that nothing that is necessary for life is lacking.
Now humankind needs a body that at all times honors and praises God.
This body is supported in every way through the earth.
Thus the earth glorifies the power of God.