• Hope for Creation Sunday

    Posted by Ben

    6 August, 2014

    Will you host a Hope for Creation Sunday on 7 September this year?

    Psalm 148 reminds us that all of creation participates in worship of God, just by its very existence. Every creature – from the mundane to the magnificent – praises God simply by the beauty and wonder of being.

    Praise the LORD from the earth, you sea monsters and all deeps, fire and hail, snow and frost, stormy wind fulfilling his command! Mountains and all hills, Fruit trees and all cedars! Wild animals and all cattle, Creeping things and flying birds!” Psalm 148:7–10

     

    This, alone, should be more than enough reason to join together our worship and praise with that of Creation. It's a good reason to set aside one day to remember and celebrate God’s gifts in creation, and to pray in hope for all of God’s creatures – human and otherwise – which bear painful burdens of sin and damage, often as the result of the actions of others.

    There is, also, a profound and urgent need to recapture a vision of loving God that involves cherishing and nurturing all that God has made, and a vision of loving our neighbour that involves a deep concern for the environment in which people’s lives may flourish or be made more difficult. This includes responding to climate change which is already harming creation and making hard lives harder in many of the poorest places in the world.

    Hope for Creation Sunday is a day to remember these things, to remember that God’s love extends to everything He has made, and that His redemption will take in all of creation. It’s a day to remember that when Jesus – who is the fullest and best image-bearer of God – reigns and has dominion over Creation, this doesn’t look like exploitation and abuse, but rather self-giving love and service.

    To remember that in response to this self-giving love of God, Christians are called and empowered to love God’s creation and to stand with those counted last and least in the world, even where this may entail sacrifices or costly commitments.

    It’s easy to understand why many churches avoid teaching, preaching or acting on climate change and environmental degradation. People may feel that they don’t have the information or expertise to speak on these issues, or may wish to avoid what is seen as a “controversial” or “divisive” topic. However, Hope for Creation Sunday offers a chance to change the conversation, to move from shrill debate or a stifling silence, and towards gracious speech and action that bears witness to our faith and hope that God is passionately on the side of the vulnerable poor and will bring healing and renewal to a groaning creation.

    The Hope for Creation Sunday resources, developed by Micah Challenge, TEAR Australia, the Uniting Church, Evangelical Alliance, and others, provide attractive and practical resources to make prayer, reflection and action on these topics accessible for even the most reluctant group.

    Free bible studies and sermon outlines, powerful videos, as well as some beautiful free posters and bookmarks can help churches and groups engage with the truth that living, acting, praying and speaking out in hope for creation is part of what it means for disciples to follow Jesus in our time and place.

    I hope you’ll join others around the country in taking this step. And if 7 September is not an option, the next available Sunday for your church or group is just as good. Click here for more details.

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    Ben Thurley is the Political Engagement Coordinator for Micah Challenge Australia and the Coordinator of the Hope for Creation campaign.