Welcome to our Creation retreat. You are welcome to use these resources in whichever way is most helpful to you.
The retreat is divided into sections. You can use them over a day, over several days or weeks, by yourself or with others. This section has some useful tools to help you start your retreat. Here are some ideas for creating sacred space and for praying with scripture. They can be used individually or with others.
In the Beginning.
Genesis chapter 1 unfolds the beginnings of the universe through the action of God who calls the whole of creation out of chaos and nothingness. Over six “days” the action of a loving God creates a universe that is arranged and balanced so that a huge variety of life forms can flourish and multiply, filling the earth with life and beauty, richness and diversity. At each stage of the process God pauses and reflects that what has been created is “very good”. At certain stages God blesses the creation. All God’s creatures have their source in the goodness and love of God.
These origins have particular significance for us. When, on the the sixth day, God creates humankind in God’s own image, we are both blessed and given responsibility. We are made co-creators with God. We are called to imitate God’s care and love for all of creation. We are called to live in ways that ensure we are a blessing for one another and for the whole universe. This has implications for how we conduct our lives, how we treat one another and how we use, maintain and protect the world’s resources.
We are too painfully aware today of the devastating effect of misusing those resources on the whole universe. In the face of all this it is easy to despair and to give up. Yet, God, in whose image we are made, has not given up on us. So, imitating that loving God who doesn’t give up, we are called to visit once again what it means to be made in God’s image. We are called to look again at what it means to have been entrusted with the stewardship of this beautiful and blessed universe.
In the Beginning
The first part of the retreat is a reflection on the seven days of creation. It’s divided into sections to allow for reflection on each part of the creation. Begin the meditation by reading Genesis 1:1 – 2:4 straight through, then return to the sections as listed below leaving a pause for reflection after each section.
Begin your retreat by reading Genesis 1: 1-5. Reflect on God calling creation into being.
Read Genesis 1: 6-10. Reflect on the waters dividing to allow sea and land to be created.
Read Genesis 1: 11-13. Reflect on the detail and precision that marks the creation of the trees and plants.
Read Genesis 1: 14-19. Reflect on the creation of sun, moon and stars.
Read Genesis 1: 20-23. Reflect on the wonder and beauty found in the world’s oceans.
Read Genesis 1: 24-25. Reflect on the beauty and variety of the animal world.
Read Genesis 1:24-28. Reflect on what it means to be made in the image of God.
Read Genesis 1: 29-32. Reflect on the richness of the plant life that God has given to sustain all God’s creatures.
Read Genesis 2: 1-4. Reflect on the image of God resting.
Now reread Genesis 1: 1-2:4. You may find the following questions helpful as you reflect.
“Let there be…” with these words God call us into being, gives us the permission to become. What feelings and thoughts does this phrase raise in you?
“Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness” What deepens your awareness of the divine image within you?
“And God saw that it was good” Think of your life, of the network of responsibilities and relationships that form its framework, of the things that please you, and the things that disappoint or anger you. As you think of each one allow yourself to hear God speak a word of blessing to each situation. What is the word of blessing that God speaks to you now?
You may want to end your reflection by watching this video.
Firstborn of all creation.
In this passage from Colossians Paul places Christ, the Redeemer at the centre of all of creation, not just humanity. It reminds us that we, and all of creation are held in being by the loving embrace of Christ. Our best hope of living up to the call of Genesis to be good stewards of the universe is to model ourselves on Christ. He calls us to find ways of living in harmony with the creation, to embrace its blessings, to enjoy its delights and goodness, to reconcile ourselves to its limitations, to tread the earth with gentleness and compassion.
You can use Colossians 1:15-20 for Lectio Divina or use the following questions for reflection.
“He is the image of the invisible God, the first-born of all creation.” How do you respond to Christ, the first-born of all creation?
“He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.” Where are you aware of the Christ who holds all things together in your life?
“For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.” Where do you need the reconciling presence of Christ in your life?
To end your retreat take some time to give thanks for the gifts and graces you have received.