Preparing for Worship – George Mason.
He is the patron saint of Earth Day. You see his statue in gardens everywhere. When we sing “All Creatures of Our God and King” this morning, St. Francis of Assisi’s view of God and the world pulses through it all.
St. Francis lived in 13th-century Umbria, in what is now central Italy. The son of a wealthy merchant, Francis renounced riches and soldiering after seeing how they were both rooted in a violence that divided human beings from one another and destroyed the peace of nature. He lived simply and is said to have preached even to the birds about the love of God.
Francis founded the Franciscans, a mendicant order of friars that take a vow of poverty and serve the poor. Franciscans promote the healing of the world through the lens of salvation understood as wholeness.
Behind William Draper’s hymn that we sing to the tune LASST UNS ERFREUEN (Let Us Rejoice), is Francis’s poem “Canticle of the Sun.” Francis anthropomorphized nature, seeing the elements and the animals as our kin: brother sun and sister moon, brother wind and sister water, mother earth and sister death. He called on all of them to praise their Creator.
As we prepare for worship today, we give thanks to God for the saving work of Jesus Christ who has brought us near to God, granted us forgiveness of sins, but also re-sewed the torn threads that make up the fabric of life in every dimension.
Breathe deep the breath of life today that comes from the God who inspirited and inspired all things with loving intent. Let us answer the call of St. Francis today, joining all creation in a canticle of praise. Lift up your voice and sing alleluia to our God and King.