By The Rev. Canon Pam Hyde
August in Flagstaff. Days start with blue skies and blazing sun, but the humidity in the air hints at changes to come as the day develops. Soon little clouds sprout and grow into towering cumulonimbus clouds, and thunder starts rolling through the air. The sky darkens, and soon drops start hitting the ground. This will be “male rain,” as the Diné, or Navajo people, refer to the hard, sometimes torrential rain that monsoon thunderstorms bring in the summer.
I give thanks every year when the monsoon flows roll in and bring us the summer rains — the water of life. Grasses that seemed dead in June now cover the forest floor in carpets of green, and wildflowers large and small spring up, seemingly out of nowhere. Life presents itself in a gala of fecundity, fleeting in our dry climate, destined to disappear when the winds shift and the flow of moisture from the Gulf of Mexico dries up as the prevailing winds from the west return.
As we see the monsoons dissipate in September, it seems like an especially good time to honor our Creator and celebrate what a gift God’s creation really is. We can take stock of how the rains have rejuvenated our landscapes, look forward to cooler weather to come, and be grateful for the patterns of the seasons we have here — sun and rain, heat and cool, green and dry. It is a serendipitous time to bring the celebration of Creation into our churches and into our worship, as a reminder of God’s goodness in his creation and our call to recognize our relationship with the earth.
In 2009, the leadership of the Anglican Communion called on churches to “celebrate a liturgical ‘Season of Creation’ as an integral part of the church’s yearly pattern of worship and teaching.” And in 2018, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby joined leaders of eight other Christian churches in a joint letter encouraging participation in the Season of Creation. Creation Season begins on September 1 with the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation and concludes with the feast day of St. Francis of Assisi on October 4, although some churches choose to celebrate it later in the fall, beginning with the feast of St. Francis and ending just before Advent.
Although The Episcopal Church has not formally added the Season of Creation to its liturgical calendar, observance of the season is growing among its churches and dioceses. The Diocese of Arizona welcomes and encourages observance of a Creation Season by its congregations, and provides guidance and resources through the Creation Care Ministry for adapting liturgies during the season that honor and celebrate God’s creation. Guidance from Bishop Reddall and planning resources for the 2022 season will be provided to clergy in charge of all churches in the diocese shortly.
We hope you and your congregation will prayerfully consider incorporating prayers of thanksgiving and praise to God for the gift of Creation into your worship during this upcoming Creation Season, and together turn your hearts toward recognizing the sacredness of creation and the interconnectedness of everything in the cosmos during this special time. If you have any questions about the Season of Creation or how to incorporate it into your church’s worship, or if you’d like me to come preach during Creation Season, please contact me, the Rev. Pam Hyde, at email@example.com.
O Lord, how manifold are your works!
in wisdom you have made them all;
the earth is full of your creatures.
~ Psalm 104:25
The heavens declare the glory of God,
and the firmament shows his handiwork.
~ Psalm 19:1
The Rev. Canon Pam Hyde is the Canon for Creation Care for the Episcopal Diocese of Arizona.