Nineteenth Sunday after Pentecost- Week of October 3, 2021
Begin your devotion time by praying this prayer: Creator God, you have made this earth beautiful. Help us feel your glory in nature, and give us the courage to care for and protect it. Amen.
Reflect on the Way of Love together: This week’s practice on the Way of Love is WORSHIP. Through praise and worship, we celebrate all of the beautiful things (and people!) that God created. Tell about a time when being in nature has led you to praise and worship. How does interacting with God’s creation invite you to wonder and praise God?
Adult and Small Child
Read: Psalm 8
Reflect: Looking up at the night sky can make us feel small. We see how many stars there are, how complicated the universe is, how huge creation is. It can make us feel positively tiny. But there’s another way to look at it. We can also look at the sky and think, “How amazing that God, who made everything we can see, and galaxies so far away we’ll never even know about them, also took the time to make me! With my body, my mind, all the parts that make me who I am. I am that special; just as special as a star. And so is everyone else.” God has made us special and given us special responsibilities, including taking care of animals (Psalm 8:6-8), plants (Genesis 2:15), and other people (“Love your neighbor as yourself” – Matthew 19:19.) It’s an important job, and it takes all of us, with each person’s special gifts, to do it.
Respond: Talk about the things that make each other special, and how you can use them to care for the world and everyone in it. You might start by drawing pictures of one another and showing what makes the other special. Use the opportunity to encourage one another. You could also do the same for members of your church. What makes the members of your community special? How do they love the world and others? Draw a picture of them and share it with them, along with a word of encouragement.
- Drew Bunting
Adult and Elementary
Read: Psalm 8
Reflect: I notice my surroundings outside whenever the seasons begin to change. The summer brought thriving green plants, sounds of birds and insects, and occasional thunderstorms. Now that autumn has arrived, leaves change colors and fall to the ground, birds migrate to their winter homes, and the wind whistles through the trees.
Respond: Look out your window. What recent changes do you see in your surroundings? Take a walk if you are able. or otherwise plan time to experience God’s majestic earth with all your senses. What sounds do you hear overhead or under your feet? What smells delight or disgust you? Notice the temperature of the air and the texture of leaves. Take a look around and thank God for this amazing day.
- Lindsay Gottwald
Adult and Youth
Read: Psalm 8
Reflect: I love the psalms. The emotions that are put into words are truly awe inspiring. Psalm 8 reminds us about how we were created and what we were created to do. This passage connects back to Genesis 1 and reminds us that we were made in the image of God and made to rule over the earth. However, it is God that we find at the center of the universe, not human. Although we may marvel in all that God made, we must worship only God. Sometimes, we may feel as though we are only a tiny spec in the world, like one fish in the vast ocean. But this psalm reminds us that each of us has a purpose and place in God’s picture.
Respond: Sometimes, there is nothing more amazing than spending time in nature, like enjoying the night sky or watching the waves crash along the beach. No matter where you live, there are beautiful things to see in nature: the animals, the flowers, the sky and everything else that makes up the earth. Spend time in nature this week. Go for a walk, a swim, whatever might bring you closer to enjoying the gloriousness of God’s creation. Then, close your time in prayer by looking at the Book of Common Prayer for one of the prayers and thanksgivings for creation (found on page 814.)
Adult and Adults
Read: Psalm 8
Reflect: The Psalmist is simply in awe of how God regards humanity. Clearly the Psalmist is wondering WHY the Creator of All Things even gives us attention. After all, there are so many things in Creation that the Divine could care about, and yet humanity gets the attention. God thinks about us, gives us attention, crowns us with glory and grandeur. And yet, far too often even as we are responding to the regard God gives us with songs of worship and praise, we fail to share that regard and respect with our fellow humans. We willingly accept the place God has given us in Creation, and too often we embrace it as a means of displaying power over others. We must ask ourselves if our praise and worship of our most majestic God is tarnished because of our unwillingness to love all of Creation as God so loves us. How sweet our praise becomes if we embrace God’s calling to us to be caretakers and stewards of God’s Beloved Creations. When we make the connections between worship and justice, the Way of Love is all the more fulfilling.
Respond: Choose a song you love that helps you get into a mind space of praising God – it doesn’t need to explicitly be a song of praise, just a song that helps you remember why you love God and are grateful for the Creator’s presence in your life. Listen to the song once to bring you into a place of prayer and praise. Listen again and think of situations in the past week where you were challenged to show God’s love, asking God’s forgiveness for things done and left undone. Listen one more time, allowing your wonder at God’s magnificence to inspire you to acts of justice in the coming week. With a trusted friend, share your song and listen to theirs, walking through the same steps.
- Regina Heater