Discovering God this Season of Creation
Do not be afraid to go out to encounter the marginalized. You will find that you are going out to meet Jesus. He awaits you wherever there is need, not comfort; wherever service rules, not power. Those are the places where he will be found. #ApostolicJourney Pope Francis Twitter (Sept 14)
I found myself deep in thought last week about the Season of Creation and how this is a time of discovery of God rather than just a response to something bad happening in (and to) the world. Climate change is bad -- that is for certain -- but what if the Season of Creation is seen as a time of deep contemplation and action that moves us deeper into the rhythms of Earth's life systems and closer to God. Jesus awaits where there is need -- and Earth is crying out. It is there and in the cries of the marginalized that we will discover God today.
Do you believe that you will discover Jesus when you lower your carbon emissions? If you take this path you will be reminded of limits and your dependency on God for life. You will remember that creation is a gift to enjoy and protect -- it is not a commodity to use and exploit.
Take a deep breath... Pray a moment on how you are being called to discover God in driving less, using energy efficient technology, buying less plastic ... How are these actions moving you closer to God? How is Jesus reaching out to you and beckoning you to change that way that you live and love?
Painting by Yongsung Kim - The Hand of God Painting - Jesus Reaching Into Water. Havenlight is the official website for Yongsung Kim
We discover the Spirit moving in our midst when we share of ourselves in acts of table fellowship that brings us closer to the land and to each other. How do you see table fellowship? Do you find life and love around the many tables of your life? Do you share abundant life with others at those tables?
Reflect for a moment on the depth of encounter in the following event during the Season of Creation -- "Feast and Stories" offered by St. Philip Neri (SC) Catholic Social Teaching Ministry. This is a sharing of life through the sharing of culture in a community. It is also the prayerful act of feeding one another. We are all connected by our need for food. But sustaining a body is very different than sustaining a life in community. The latter requires physical nutrients as well as a sense of belonging, rootedness, and purpose.
People are sharing life with this event in so many ways.
The cooking of the food is the act of passing on of wisdom and love from past generations. I also know that the containers used are often compostable and the recipients of this manifestation of love are the very people Pope Francis called us to serve in the above Twitter post. The Season of Creation is not just to bring attention to the needs of the birds of the air or the fish of the sea; it is a moment of awakening to our human neighbors as gifts from God and the recognition that our well being and destinies are intertwined. Hurting one, hurts the other -- but offering abundant life to others will ensure we will share in this same fate.
Take a deep breath... Pray a moment on how you are being called to discover God in acts of table fellowship. Did you choose this week to eat food you prepared with your family or friends? Did you take time to share this bounty or share time over lunch with another? Did you call an old friend for tea and deeply listen to the sharing of their life with you? How does your love of the Eucharistic table fellowship overflow into this Season of Creation?
Table Fellowship by Sieger Köder (1925–2015)
There are many ways to discover God this season of creation and this past week I focused less on engaging online (I did not even post a blog :)) and went out into creation to discover God.
I had tea with several faculty members who I had not connected with this semester -- and discovered abundant joy in that encounter. I did not even realize how much I missed the connection of simply sharing some tea with another.
I served beside dedicated non-profit members who wanted to bring joy to students on my campus ... and together we gave out over 1400 Clif bars and made 14 snack bags (with inspirational notes tucked inside) for students in quarantine. It was a simple but profound time of feeding the hearts, spirits and stomachs of so many of my immediate neighbors.
I worked with my CCG team and leaned into the joy that this brings my mind and spirit. I also learned that one of our team is leaving to start another exciting chapter in her life -- and I grieved this loss deeply. But I was also reminded that my heart was wounded because of the abundance of joy and friendship that we discovered while working together for the last year (with all the huge ups and downs that came along with adapting to COVID).
And I worked in our campus community garden alongside a truly talented young woman who is serving with us as an AmeriCorp VISTA. This week gave me so many opportunities to serve with others who want to feed their neighbors nutrient rich, good, life giving food -- and do so in a way that reconnects us with Earth and cares for the planet.
And so I discovered God.