When we attend to the beauty of our world, we notice how complex and delicate are the relationships of which we are part. We notice the scent of flowers in spring, the light green of new growth, the plumage of lorikeets and the part that scents and colours have in the drive of nature to perpetuate itself. We notice, too, how nothing is superfluous in nature, nothing is ugly. The fallen bark and dead grasses provide material for birds to nest and mulch in which ants and other insects can find food. Our world is an image of God’s love for us. It is not merely useful for our purposes but in its excess, it reminds us of the overwhelming gift of God’s love.
To notice such things and to be grateful for them lie at the heart of our celebration of the season of creation. It is the baseline with which our use of God’s gifts of creation must harmonise. It also enables us to recognise and regret the disrespect with which we often treat God’s creation. The pollution, the exploitation and destruction of the rhythms of creation for gain, or even worse for the destruction of the human and natural world through the weapons of war, are not simply mistakes, but are blasphemy. Although we know that much of this disrespect is unintended, and perhaps even unnoticed, we grieve to see it.
To notice and celebrate the season of creation reinforces our commitment to respect it. This can take many different forms. We can join campaigns to draw attention to the ways in which creation is disrespected. We can celebrate the beauty of creation and try to embody respect for it in our ordinary lives – in the way in which we travel, eat and sleep, for example, read, sow seeds, wrap and dispose of rubbish. The season of creation is a time to attend to our world, to celebrate its beauty and respect its delicacy, and to join others in coming to its defence.