Thankfulness for Creation
Ash Wednesday to Saturday (March 6-9, 2019)
Creation Care as a Hopeful Spiritual Practice for Lent
Lenten devotional by Lynne Baab and Janette Plunkett. Illustration by Dave Baab
We begin our Lenten journey with a focus on the gift of God’s creation. All care for the earth must be grounded in gratitude for the blessings of God that come to us through the beauty of creation and the way the earth provides for our needs.
Walking with Jesus
In these four days, as you do something you would normally do to care for the earth – recycle; walk, bicycle or bus when you could have driven; carefully eat the old food in your fridge; or anything else – view it as a time to walk with Jesus, to participate with Jesus in holding the creation together. Imagine Jesus’ companionship with you as you do it. Ask Jesus to help you grow and be transformed into his image through the daily acts of caring for creation alongside Jesus.
Read Colossians 1:15-20. Note that through Christ all things were created, that in Christ the whole creation holds together, and Christ reconciled not just humans but all of creation to God. Ponder or discuss the implications of these three actions by Jesus in creation.
Isaiah 43:15-21 contains many promises. See how many promises you can find, and thank God for them.
Thankfulness: Each day from Wednesday to Saturday, try to notice the beauty of and range of small to big things in nature: a child’s hand, a leaf, a piece of fruit, the branches of a bare bush, a tall evergreen tree, a mountain if you can see one. Tell God thank you for creating such a beautiful world and for sustaining it each moment.
Confession and Pardon: Tell God you’re sorry for the times you’re careless with the beautiful world God created. Thank God for forgiveness.
Lament: Mourn with God about the places you see where God’s creation is not being cared for.
Intercession: See how many different kinds of people you can think of whose jobs involve taking care of creation, such as farmers, parks workers, scientists. Ask God to help them do a good job. Ask God to help ordinary people do their best to care for creation.
Walk around your house and ask the children to notice 10 things directly related to God’s creation: pets, plants, wall art, books, food, etc. Or walk around your yard or neighborhood, noticing as many details of God’s creation as you can. Spend some time thanking God for the beauty, the details, and the fact that God take care of creation.
Read Psalm 24:1-2 together and discuss what it means that all the things you’ve observed together belong to God.
Take a walk in your neighborhood or at a park. Look for last year’s leaves hidden under trees. Bring a leaf home and trace it and color it.
- Attenborough’s 3 minute video will make anyone smile.
- The Planet Earth II videos are free online.
- The original Planet Earth series is available from the library, Netflix, and other paid online services.
- Check out a book or video from the library about the human body. The Seattle Public library has numerous illustrated books and videos on the human body (search for “human body”).
- Listen to the hymn “For the Beauty of the Earth” or play it on an instrument. YouTube has many recordings.
- “God writes the Gospel not in the Bible alone, but also on trees, and in the flowers and clouds and stars.” —Martin Luther
- "May 20: very early morning" By Luci Shaw (used with the author’s permission)