“We are a sacred part of creation,” (Richard Wagamese, One Drum)
Creation, and especially Creation Care, has been front and centre at All Saints’ for months now. First came the planning and creating of our community garden, and the exciting prospect of growing food for our Deacon’s Cupboard clients. It is not without significance that the garden is in full view of passers-by, and of the clients themselves, as they wait to be served. Before the banner proclaiming “All Saints’ Community Garden. A Sacred space expressing love towards neighbour and caring for Creation. May God bless this garden for our food bank,” was installed, strangers would stop and ask what was happening as we worked at transporting the soil in the heat of late May. Already, before a single seed had sprouted, the Word was being sown in our neighbourhood!
Of course, as anyone who has ever attempted to grow food has discovered, there were some inevitable challenges, particularly from hungry rabbits, squirrels, and bugs. There were seeds which just didn’t germinate, but many did, and some early harvesting of herbs and radishes has been possible. Meanwhile we have the promise of a greater harvest at summer’s end, as well as the gift of our community coming together in a common purpose.
In the second week of July, Vacation Bible School also focused on God’s Creation, and our response to it. The children were shown in a practical way how God’s love grows in each of us, like a seed planted in good soil, which needs to be nurtured. The Sunday following, our 10:00 am service featured some of the videos and songs from the week, making for an upbeat and joyful time of worship.
For many people, myself included, a garden can be a place of peace, and a balm for the soul. In addition to my own outside space at home, I have recently discovered another place of refuge, albeit virtually. Through the wonder of You Tube, I have become part of the Garden Congregation at Canterbury Cathedral. Every day, Dean Robert Willis says Morning Prayer in a different part of the extensive deanery garden. As you might expect, there are prayers and scripture and an insightful reflection, but there is so much more. A variety of animals often roam in and out of view, which Dean Willis deftly manages to weave into his message.
One morning it might be the family of pigs, who love to receive a scratch on their head or tummy from the Dean as he delivers his talk; another day it could be Tiger, the cat who helped himself to the milk by dipping his paw into the pitcher on the tea tray beside Dean Robert as, unfazed, he continued his talk. This cat actually received a BAFTA (the UK version of an Oscar) for bringing laughter and joy to the British people, when Covid began! Since that video went viral, Tiger lost one of his front legs to cancer but has made a remarkable recovery. In one of the Dean’s talks on New Beginnings, he was held as an example of persevering through adversity. Remarkably, that three-legged cat is still able to jump up on the table to get to the milk. In one corner of the garden there is a wide variety of birds, including a turkey, geese, chickens, a rooster, and many wild birds. There is always a lovely backdrop of trees and flowers, including a wildflower meadow and other beautiful blooms, which are a feast for the eyes.
In addition to all this, each morning Dean Robert mentions anniversaries and special events for that particular date. On July 1st, for example, the scene was set with Canadian flags, and there were special prayers for our Truth and Reconciliation work, and for the wild- fires in the west. There is also a wonderful wealth of knowledge shared about extraordinary people, both famous and ordinary, from every era.
I have found this to be a very calming start to the day, in a place where the beauty of God’s creation is shared with people all over the world. It has truly become a global community which is especially helpful in these times of great sadness. If you would like to visit this amazing garden, go to https://www.canterbury-cathedral.org/worship/online-worship/
Creation (from a Celtic prayer by David Adam):
God bless the earth and all living creatures; God bless the earth and its rugged features.
God created order out of chaos. God brought light out of darkness.
God made all things from nothing. God breathed life into all things.
God loves all that he has made.
God is almighty who loves you.
God is able to uphold and rescue you.