Join AMBrewster to talk about how to prepare for Creation Week.
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Have you ever anticipated something so much that you got so used to anticipating it that when it arrived you almost didn’t know what to do? It’s like you’re trying to anticipate it, but it’s right there in front of you, and you’re having a hard time transitioning to actually enjoying the thing for which you’ve been waiting for so long.
Well, that’s how I felt putting together today’s show.
I think I’m excited because it’s the beginning of The Year Long Celebration of God, but I also think it’s exciting because we’re inaugurating a brand new holiday that — if you ask me — is pretty awesome.
Creation was the original miracle. It’s the event that — had God not chosen to do it — none of us would be here. Jesus would have never come to earth, He would have never lived and died and raised to life. There would be no heaven and no eternity with God if He had not chosen to create us.
This is why I’ve wondered why the protestant church hasn’t made a bigger deal of the Creation.
Do I believe God’s people have historically celebrated it? Definitely! It’s referenced all throughout the Scriptures. But for modern protestants, conversations about the Creation are largely had within an apologetic context. There doesn’t seem to be any time dedicated to truly adore the nature of God that we see in the Creation.
Of course, that doesn’t mean that no one has been celebrating it. I recently learned that there’s an organization called “Season of Creation." Their website says, “The Season of Creation is a time to renew our relationship with our Creator and all creation through repenting, repairing, and rejoicing together. During the Season of Creation, we join our sisters and brothers in the ecumenical family in prayer and action for our common home. This year, amid crises that have shaken our world, we’re awakened to the urgent need to heal our relationships with creation and each other. During the season this year, we enter a time of restoration and hope, a jubilee for our Earth, that requires radically new ways of living with creation . . . With so much injustice all around us, now is the time for Christians everywhere to come together and show the world how to love each other and creation.”
On their “About” page they provide some interesting historical context for their celebration which further illuminates their focus: “Ecumenical Patriarch Dimitrios I proclaimed 1 September as a day of prayer for creation for the Orthodox in 1989. In fact, the Orthodox church year starts on that day with a commemoration of how God created the world. The World Council of Churches was instrumental in making the special time a season, extending the celebration from 1 September until 4 October. Following the leadership of Ecumenical Patriarch Dimitrios I and the WCC, Christians worldwide have embraced the season as part of their annual calendar. Pope Francis made the Roman Catholic Church’s warm welcoming of the season official in 2015. In recent years, statements from religious leaders around the world have also encouraged the faithful to take time to care for creation during the month-long celebration. The season starts 1 September, the Day of Prayer for Creation, and ends 4 October, the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of ecology beloved by many Christian denominations. Throughout the month-long celebration, the world’s 2.2 billion Christians come together to care for our common home.”
There are so many interesting things about this. The first of which is that I came up with the idea for Creation Week years before I knew a “Season of Creation” even existed. In fact, in all my original research I never found any Christian celebration which focused on the Creation of the world. Perhaps I’m just a poor researcher.
The other interesting observation is that even though these people are rallying around a generally good cause, it’s decidedly different than that to which The Celebration of God is calling you. Did you notice that the words “God,” “Jesus,” and “Bible” were never once mentioned in their literature? Instead they’re encouraging an ecumenical unification where people can “heal our relationships with creation and each other.”
My friends, I’ll remind us about this repeatedly on this show . . . though we may celebrate a person or event or gift during The Celebration of God, we never do so to the exclusion of God.
The Celebration of God is about — first and foremost — praising and adoring and worshipping God because of His character and His works.
That means we must celebrate His grace and mercy and love and holiness and everything that makes Him God. And we should celebrate what He’s done in this world. Therefore, we celebrate His gift of salvation, we celebrate His gift of the family, and we celebrate when He created the cosmos, but those things are not the focus of our celebration.
Yes, the world is a wonderful gift. Life is a wonderful gift. But we want to adore the Giver of the gift more than we want to relish the gift.
Everyone with children have experienced this. You give your child a gift, and without saying “Thank you,” they run off to play with it. They didn’t even recognize your contribution. They didn’t even think about the fact that you love them and they don’t deserve the gift and how wonderful you are to have sacrificed for them. Children can be incredibly myopic. That’s why we teach them to say “Thank you” and hug the person who gave the gift and maybe even write a thank you card . . . because we want them to value the really important thing — the relationship they have with the giver.
So, yes, if you have always observed the Season of Creation as outlined on the website, you are free to continue doing that, but we want to encourage you to make God the focal point this year.
Whether therefore you eat or drink or celebrate the Creation, do all to the glory of God.
By the way, before we get into the meat of today’s show, please don’t neglect to subscribe, rate, and review The Celebration of God.
And thank you to everyone who’s given us a 5-Star rating and heart-felt review. It’s a joy to our souls and a wonderful way of introducing new people to The Celebration of God.
And — as always — you can download free PDF episode notes and read our transcripts at CelebrationOfGod.com.
Okay, so Creation week will be starting on the first Sunday on September, and it will run through the whole week.
How do we prepare for such an event? That’s our focus for today, and over the next two shows we’ll talk about Celebrating and Discipling during Creation Week.
On our last episode we talked about preparing for the Season of Mercy and we discussed preparing your heart, your Celebration Wall, and your disciplees.
And that’s going to be the format we follow for all of our Preparation episodes because those are the three key areas we need to address.
But before I start that, please remember that every major and minor holiday in Autumn is part of the Season of Mercy. That means that all the preparation you did for the Season of Mercy should carry you through the whole three months.
Leave the Season of Mercy elements on your Celebration Wall and continue the discussion of God’s mercy throughout all of the various events of the Season. Creation Week, among other things, is simply one way we celebrate the mercy of God. Because of sin, human beings deserve death. In fact, God — knowing we would reject Him — could have used that fact as a reason to never create us in the first place . . . or destroy Adam and Eve and start all over. The point is, we deserve to not exist, but God didn’t give us what we deserved.
God mercifully provides a way to escape death, exhaustion, purposelessness, loneliness, consequences, fear, slavery, and discontentment. And many of those merciful acts were inaugurated at Creation.
So keep the conversation about God’s mercy going. Find every opportunity to relate the holidays and the events of life back to God’s mercy. Continue memorizing those verses as a congregation or family or community or class.
And then we can add to our ongoing celebration of God’s mercy the unique elements for Creation Week.
Now, again, there are so many biblical references to the Creation, but this inaugural year we’re going to focus primarily on Genesis 1 and 2 in our Celebration.
Of course, that doesn’t mean you can’t or shouldn’t have a good time researching and using other Creation passages from the Scripture. I think that’s awesome! By all means, go all out.
But we should all at least purpose to spend some time in Preparation reading and meditating on the passages I’m going to share.
1. Prepare Your Heart.
Generally speaking, our Preparation time for Creation Week won’t feel as long as it does this year. Come August of this next year we’ll be celebrating the Scripture as well as the Consummation toward the end of the month. That means that we’ll normally have just a week or so to prepare for Creation Week — that is — if you don’t plan to overlap any of the celebrations.
But, if this is your first time using the Celebration of God, and you’re listening to this episode when it was published, we have weeks to get ready.
For that reason, I strongly encourage you to invest some time in your personal devotions with God to read and study the following passages:
Those are both wonderful passages that go into greater detail about the Creation.
And that last passage transitions us to another very important way that we should prepare our hearts. We read the Scriptures so that God can talk to us, and we pray to Him in order to continue the conversation.
I love that the prayer in Nehemiah 9 starts by praising God for creating the cosmos. And the rest of the prayer goes on to recount more and more of God’s amazing works.
I think it would be wonderful if we prepared for this holiday by starting our prayers thanking the Lord for creating various things.
“Dear Lord, I thank you for creating light and using it not only to help us see, but also making it a picture of your holiness.”
“Father, we praise you for creating everything we need. Without you we wouldn’t have food or water or the material necessary to make shelter.”
“God, you are so awesome. You made the heavens and the seas and the ground and all life in the universe just by speaking.”
And then continue on with your prayer.
Those of you who are familiar with the P.R.A.Y. acronym know that the “P” stands for “praise.” That’s a fantastic way to start our prayers, and it was even modeled by our Lord in the Disciple’s Prayer in Matthew 6:9-13.
As you enjoy digging into the various Creation passages in the Scripture and praying God’s glory back to Him, you also need to . . .
2. Prepare Your Wall.
You can do this any way you like, but I foresee there being two stages to this Preparation.
A. I recommend you post something that says “Creation Week.” If you like, you can utilize the image at CelerationOfGod.com under our Holidays tab.
You also should post a verse or short passage that will turn our eyes back to God and that you and your community can work on memorizing. For example, the Revelation 4:11 passage would be a perfect way to celebrate God, “Worthy are You, our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and because of Your will they existed, and were created.”
After that, what you put on your wall is up to you.
I love providing different ideas, but I recognize that each of you is going to approach this a little differently. In the future, we’re going to catalogue different approaches to Preparing for Creation Week and post them on our website, and we’d love to share with others what you designed.
I imagine it can be like a Pinterest or Instagram page where people can glean ideas for their own celebration.
But since we don’t have a lot of time, allow me to throw out just a couple ideas:
But I mentioned that there would be two parts to preparing your Celebration Wall. The first was to prepare the wall in a similar way that you prepared for the Season of Mercy. But there’s one more important way to prepare.
B. Collect items you plan to use later for your Celebration.
My wife and I have shelves on our Celebration Wall that we intend to display holiday specific items. For example, during Creation Week we thought it would be cool if every day we added something to the wall to represent what God created on that day.
On the first day we could set a lightbulb up there. On the second we could add a photo of a beautiful sky or a glass of water. On the third day we could place a little globe on the shelf. You get the idea.
Of course, all of this is dependent on how interactive the Wall is going to be, the ages of the people you’re discipling, what you have available to you, and the scope of your own creativity.
This subpoint was added simply to point out that you may want to collect those items you plan to add later in the week so that you’re not looking for them or going out to buy them on the day you plan to add them to the Wall.
And here’s a final bonus point which was inadvertently added by my wife. When my family was listening to the introductory episodes together, and I came to the point about Preparing for our Celebration, she mentioned that cleaning the home is be something that would definitely be wise to do during the Preparation phase so as to not have to do any deep cleaning during the holiday.
I didn’t even think to add that reminder, but my wife had a good point.
If you plan to take the kids swimming on Monday in celebration of God creating the water, it would be wise to make sure that household chores and the like not interfere with the Celebration. Learning to work ahead in joyful Anticipation of the upcoming Celebration by Preparing thoroughly will be a blessing in and of itself.
Alright, you need to prepare your own heart to celebrate God, you need to prepare your Celebration Wall in order to set up a monument to God’s goodness that will be hard to forget, and you need to . . .
3. Prepare Your People.
You will hear me frequently use the word “disciplees” which I believe isn’t even technically a word. So, let me tell you why I use it.
I am not trying to make disciples of Aaron. My children are not my disciples. They need to be disciples of God. However, a disciplee is someone I’m discipling for another. My children are my disciplees and not my disciples because I’m helping them follow Christ better.
So yes, it’s not technically a real word, and my spell-checker hates it and — no doubt — some of you had never heard the word before, so I plan to use the following words interchangeable:
Your “disciplees” are the “people” and “community” God has put into your life. They may be your students, congregation, family, friends, counselees, or the like, but they are — broadly — individuals God wants you to help know Him and mature in a relationship with Him.
So, I may say you need to prepare your disciplees or your people or your community . . . and they’re all the same thing.
Anyway, whether it’s your church or your school or your peers or your spouse, God wants to use you in their lives. The Celebration of God is a fantastic way you can organically and easily play a bigger part in their lives. Within the content of discipleship, inviting them into the Preparation process is just as important as including them in the Celebration.
So, what can you do to help prepare your disciplees for Creation Week?
A. Lead them in preparing their hearts.
Share the passages with them, read the passages with them, encourage them to memorize the verses, discus them . . . basically, provide accountability and encouragement to spend some time meditating on God’s work in the Creation as they prepare to Celebrate it.
B. Invite them to help prepare your Celebration Wall.
This is another very organic and natural way to speak Truth in love into another’s life. As you’re posting the verse, you can talk about what it means. As you’re setting out the representations of God’s miraculous work of creation, you can ask them if they ever stopped to think about the fact that God created all of it. If the individual is more mature in their relationship with God, you can talk together more specifically about how Creation declares the glory of God.
Another wonderful way to include others in taking ownership of the Celebration Wall is to take and use their input for what should be on it and how it should look. This will be very important if you have kids.
Now, I’m not saying this because your children will be able to do a better job than you. True, they may have ideas you never considered, but — generally — your kids won’t be more artistic and professional and impactful as you will.
But that’s not why we invite them into the process. We invite them so that they will engage with it. We want them to dwell on it, talk about it, mediate on it, and invest in it.
Sure, your child may want to display their goldfish bowl on or near the Celebration Wall on Thursday, or they may want to use crayons to color each day of Creation . . . and that’s okay. In fact, I’d say that’s amazing!
It’s not about being Pinterest Perfect and more beautiful than anyone else’s . . . it’s about worshipping God as a community of believers. It’s about being a light to a dark world. It’s about loving God more and helping others to do the same.
If your people are excited about doing their part, let them. If they’re not too interested, see how you can help them get excited about worshipping their Creator.
On our next episode we’ll talk about what it looks like to celebrate Creation week.
We’d love to see how your community is preparing for Creation Week. You can share that on our Facebook page or you can email us at team@CelebrationOfGod.com.
Just know that if you send photos and ideas, we will likely use them on our website to give help to those who are uncertain how to proceed.
As always, make sure you’re subscribed to The Celebration of God podcast, and share this episode on your favorite social media outlets.
Have fun preparing!
The Year Long Celebration of God is a dynamic, holistic resource that utilizes the Bible, our holiday calendars, and even the most average moments of the most normal days to equip Christians to worship God all year long
and disciple others to do the same.
AMBrewster is the creator and host of the Celebration of God. He originally designed the COG to be a discipleship tool for Christian parents to train their children to know and love God, but he quickly realized how valuable it is for all Christians. Whether it's a small group, church, classroom, one-on-one, or community relationship, this resource is guaranteed to draw people closer together as they draw closer to God.
Aaron is the President of Truth.Love.Parent. and host of its podcast.