For You Make All Things New
by Kathye Hamm
Lord your hands have formed this world
Ev’ry part is shaped by you
Water tumbling over rocks,
Air and sunlight: each day signs
That you make all things new. (ELW 544)
This is the first hymn that comes to my mind as I marvel with God’s creation where I am as I write this to you. I am attending the Professional Leadership Conference with my pastor colleagues and in the next two and half days, we will learn from and reflect with Ms. Prairie Rose Seminole, the ELCA Program Director of American Indian Alaska Native Ministries. Our topic very much speaks about the land and the Native Americans who have inhabited this area where we are staying, hence, I look forward to worship, meditate and hopefully continue to be transformed by the wisdom and life of the Native Americans through Prairie Rose, the beauty of creation and one another.
This hymn is also meaningful to me, for I learned it back in the Philippines from my fellow Filipino/an indigenous tribe, Ikalahan. It is a traditional tune from them, who inhabit the mountains in the Northern part of the Philippines. The name of their tribe actually originated from the word “kalahan” which refers to the evergreen pines and trees or shrubs that shed their leaves annually like the trees around me right now. I feel so at home and my soul is so peaceful. God’s creation is so beautiful and powerful.
On the other hand I cannot escape the stories of the devastation of creation around our state, nation and around the world. The fires that continue to ravage our state. The recent hurricane that flattened communities in Florida. The recent typhoons, tsunami and earthquakes that killed many people and destroyed towns in Indonesia, Japan, Philippines and other parts of the world. The severe droughts that are affecting so many communities world-wide. Would I be able to still say that God’s creation is beautiful? Or should I only be able to embrace the power of creation – both in co-creating something new and in its destruction?
As I look forward to these coming days, as I marvel and see God everywhere, I also invite you to reflect on the very deep connections and relationship of creation, our body and all the resources we are entrusted to take care of with all of who we are as God’s people. The beauty around me calls me to be mindful and to act out of gratitude, generously grounded on the intertwined relationships of the creation, body and all resources including wealth/money. What kind of stewards are you are called to be? What biblical stories/verses ground your understanding and actions as God’s stewards? How are you living God’s gift of generosity as we steward the creation, our bodies, and all the wealth we are entrusted with, reflected in our plan for congregational stewardship ? What is the impact you want to see on your neighborhood and the world, as you live generously and with gratitude as a congregation and individuals?
“To be grateful is to recognize the Love of God in everything he has given us – and He has given us everything. Every breath we draw is a gift of His love, every moment of existence is a grace, for it brings with it immense graces from Him. Gratitude therefore takes nothing for granted, is never unresponsive, is constantly awakening to new wonder and to praise of the goodness of God. For the grateful person knows that God is good, not by hearsay but by experience. And that is what makes all the difference.” Thomas Merton
Director for Evangelical Mission and Assistant to the Bishop
November 20, 2018
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