Coming to understand
the 13.7 billion year process
of creating the universe;
that it is still expanding;
that it is self-organizing;
that it is an interdependent, living organism;
that it is wondrous
and beautiful,
is getting to know
the Source of Life.
But we don’t use creation language
to speak of “God.”
Up to this point,
church language
usually uses human characteristics
to speak of the Divine.
Eco-theologians
like Sallie McFague
encourage using images from the natural world
to speak of the Holy
instead
so that we connect more deeply with
and get to know the Source of Life
more completely.
So it seemed a small miracle
and was a great delight
that the worship committee
and the peace and justice committee
at the Church of the Open Arms
in Oklahoma City
requested a retreat
to help them learn to use creation language
in their worship services.

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Taking the Cosmic Walk

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Morning Worship

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Conversations with a Future Generation

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Reflection Time

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Children Participate in Noon Worship

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Group Work Writing Liturgy Pieces

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Closing Worship Center

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Children’s Nature Quilt

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Closing Worship

In an evening and a day
they engaged in spiritual exercises
to help them broaden their experience
of creation of the universe
and their place in it.
They entered into an imagined conversation
with future generations
to help them grasp the challenges
we have in nurturing creation at this time.
They faced the fears and obstacles
that paralyze and overwhelm us.
And together, as community,
they began to step into
the sacred, transformative work
of bringing deeper understanding of
the wonder of the world that is our home
by using metaphoric creation language
in worship.
They created a beautiful worship service
using the images from the natural world
in which they were immersed
at a parishioner’s farm—Mettawing, near Spencer.
It was a profoundly moving,
inspiring experience
to be engaged with them in this process.
Thank you dear ones
at Church of the Open Arms
for your vision,
your courage,
your leadership.

If your faith community is interested
in learning more,
write to me:
pathoerth@gmail.com