According to the Lectionary, the month from the 1st September to 4th October is designated ‘Creation Season’. It is a time to reflect upon the beauty of our world, created by God for the good of all humanity – and to acknowledge how much we have despoiled it, initially through ignorance, latterly through selfishness and greed.

As we enjoy the late summer/early autumn sunshine we can appreciate the beauty we see around us – in the gardens, the parks, everywhere that nature has been allowed to flourish. I am no gardener and when we moved to Olney we were specifically looking for property with a small, easily manageable garden, but I enjoy the efforts of friends who have ‘green fingers’ and being able to walk through cherished, imaginatively designed gardens full of flowers. A visit to a local garden open to the public on various occasions was a joy, despite the persistent rain which made our walk through the grounds rather more of a challenge than we anticipated!

However there is more to creation than natural beauty; if we extend it to creativity, that is something which can involve everyone. For some this means drawing and painting, for others a musical instrument, singing or writing; and homemaking comes into this category, too. Each of us has a particular talent given to us to develop and use in God’s service and at this time of year it might be good to consider how best we might do so.

One of my favourite poems about Creation was written by Gerard Manley Hopkins, who expresses so well not only the beauty of creation and the despoiling of it by humanity, but also nature’s resilience:

God’s Grandeur

The world is charged with the grandeur of God.
It will flame out, like shining from shook foil;
It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil
Crushed. Why do men then now not reck his rod?
Generations have trod, have trod, have trod;
And all is seared with trade; bleared, smeared with toil;
And wears man’s smudge and shares man’s smell: the soil
Is bare now, nor can foot feel, being shod.

And for all this, nature is never spent;
There lives the dearest freshness deep down things;
And though the last lights off the black West went
Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastwards, springs –
Because the Holy Ghost over the bent
World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings.


[Thelma Shacklady]