Creation Time

Creation Time is an ecumenical season which occurs each year between 1st September and 4th October. It has been described as time to pray “for the protection of Creation and the promotion of sustainable lifestyles that reverse our contribution to climate change”. The songs suggested here can be used to create a service with this particular focus, or they can be used to supplement the regular lectionary material.


You can find a YouTube playlist here with many of the songs suggested below.



Gathering


There are some wonderful classic hymns and new texts to well-known hymn tunes which can ground us in singing about God the creator such as All creatures of our God and King (CH 147 / MP 7) and Sing for God’s glory that colours the dawn of creation (CH 172), which highlights the importance of tying together together creation and social justice. God of immeasurable might (Resound) and Let all creation sing (Resound) are two possible gathering songs from Resound Worship’s Doxecology project which is well worth exploring, and the latter song in particular has a wonderful country vibe which might appeal to Scottish congregations, while bands might also want to consider God of wonders (MP 1089 / CCLI) or From life’s beginning / Let praise resound (Resound). Uyai mose / Come all you people (CH 757) is an energetic call to “praise your maker” which is very simple to teach in parts, even for those who aren’t used to it.


You might also want to consider using a song of confession or lament for creation. The garden of the world (Lament for the earth) (Hope) combines powerful words with a haunting Asian melody which can be accompanied in many different ways but would work well with a simple drone and melody instrument such as a flute. Hear the song of our lament (Resound) picks up Biblical imagery lamenting for the brokenness of creation while using the words of the Kyrie as a call to confession.



Word


There are many psalms which have creation as a theme and these could replace the lectionary psalm or could also be used as general songs of praise at any point in the service. This is not an exhaustive list but suggests a few highlights.


O Lord, our Lord, throughout the earth (CH 5) is a setting of Psalm 8 to a wonderfully upbeat Scottish folk tune. Psalm 19 has the option of a very poetic rendering in The stars declare his glory (CH 10) or God’s glory fills the heavens (PFAS 19B) which uses a famous chorus from Haydn’s creation. Let all creation sing (Resound) has already been suggested above and is a setting of Psalm 96. Sing all creation, sing to God in gladness (CH 64) is an alternative to the better known version of Psalm 100 which improves on the better known setting of this psalm where “all people” make a joyful noise to God rather than “all the earth” as we find in scripture. Psalm 104 has a great option for bands in Rejoice in all your works (Kimbrough) while We worship You, whose splendor dwarfs the cosmos (PFAS 104C / Grace) is a good metrical option. Finally, some good options for Psalm 148 are The Lord of heaven confess (CH 104) from the Scottish Psalter, which has wonderful evocative imagery about the power of creation, or the Nyanyikanlah / Hallelujah! Sing praise to your creator (PFAS 148E / GSW 5) from Indonesia which would be well suited to percussion accompaniment.



Response


There are some great songs which you might want to consider using at other points in the service, and which would make a particularly good response to a sermon on reflection picking up themes around Creation, the environment or the climate crisis.


Living icon (Gordon) invites us to reflect on seeing God in all of creation, a good counter to the sometimes problematic way in which Genesis 1 makes us narrowly define God’s image in human form. Earth is full of wit and wisdom (link) is a great song for bringing a smile to your face as it explores the wonderful variety of creation and is sung to the well known tune Holy Manna, while Nourished by the rainfall (CH 138) from Puerto Rico similarly helps us praise God with the flowers, the bird and all of creation.



Looking more at the challenges of the climate crisis, Where are the voices for the earth? (CH 244) asks us to reflect on what we see happening in the world around us while This is God’s world (WGRG) recalls God’s call to us to bless, honour and tend for creation, and links climate justice and social justice. This song works best as a congregational refrain with a soloist or choir singing the verses. God who made the earth (CH 228) is a Korean text set to one of the most widely sung Korean folk melodies which ties together the creation story, the Garden of Eden and Jesus' resurrection as a creation narrative.



Sending


As Christians it’s important to finish with hope. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed in the middle of the climate crisis and there is a place for lament, but we believe that God has promised us a “new heaven and new earth”. A song such as Malembe (WGRG / STF 730 / MV 140) can remind us that we have a responsibility to act and that there can be a future for creation if we are co-creators of it and we can also find a similar message in the Motown inspired We are the tenants of the King (Resound). How great thou art (CH 154 / MP 506) is a classic hymn which starts with seeing God in creation and ends with the hope we find in Christ while Creation sings the Father’s song (MP 1268 / CCLI / Getty) is a newer song with a similar narrative. God the maker of the heavens (Resound) is a call to action and renewal set to the well-known tune Converse which could be led in different styles.


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