Creation, Nature, and You

I have always thought of myself as a city boy or at least a born and raised suburban kid. Our family was not one to go camping or spend much time out in the woods. Other than the obligatory family trip to the Grand Canyon, Carlsbad Caverns, and Yellowstone Park, we did not spend a lot of time out in nature. My exposure to animals was limited to petting zoos and having cats and dogs in the house. I much prefer a hotel room to a tent!

Yet recently I have come to realize nature was more a part of my life growing up than I had previously thought. I would spend whole days at a woods and creek just down the road from my house. Every summer we would visit a grandmother in Florida where we would spend hours on the beach, and my love of the ocean became a part of me. And one of the most poignant memories of my childhood is staring up at a massive, great Redwood tree.

Something has shifted in my relationship with nature. I don’t know if it is because of the growing urgency of climate change or the pandemic that led me to walk in the woods as a form of physical and spiritual renewal, but I find Creation speaking to me now in ways that have enriched and enlightened my religious life. To be honest it has reinvigorated my theological and biblical reflections.

For Lent this year I want to explore with you the Biblical understanding of Creation and nature.  I was surprised by the number of biblical texts in which Creation becomes a witness and participant in the story of salvation. From Genesis to Job and the Psalms to the prophets, we find Creation teaching and singing and hoping and embodying the truth of our Creator. Where Lent is often primarily thought of as the story of human sin and redemption, the larger picture of Creation points to something even more profound. Our Creator in Christ connects us to all things living!

I invite you to join me this Lent in exploring the relationship between Creation, Nature, and You. I invite you as a spiritual practice to walk in the woods; to marvel at the stars; to listen to the songs of the birds; and to work in your garden. This Lent (which is the Latin word for Spring) let us pay attention to the truth of renewal and resurrection in Creation all around us.

Grace and Peace,