The Seventeenth Sunday After Pentecost
In this long season after Pentecost, we not only enjoy the growth, blooming, and harvesting of spring, summer, and fall, but our liturgy often points us to a different kind of growth — the growth and movement of the Holy Spirit, which is not as easy to see as in plants, people, and animals. Also, this week we celebrate the life and ministry of St. Francis of Assisi, who loved the natural world, especially all of God’s creatures who show us that God’s love provides for all living things, including the humblest of animals, who demand nothing, and yet give so much to the earth and all of her inhabitants.
1. Sing and Dance
St. Francis and Mowgli (from the The Jungle Book) had a lot in common. Some of their closest friends were animals, and they learned from their animal friends to be grateful for what the earth provides — nothing more, or less, than The Bare Necessities.
2. Play and Pray
Play Animal Charades. Act out (without speaking) an animal while others guess. Keep a list of all of the animals you act out, and write down their unique gifts, especially how they care for and teach their young and other animals or species. Look up “animals with symbiotic friendships.”
Pray: Dear God, you have given us people to be our spiritual encouragers and teachers! Thank you for the people who show us how to love like you love and help us to be an encouragement to others. Amen.
Write a letter or thank you note to someone to encourage them, or to thank them for their encouragement of you. We encourage others without expecting anything in return. Encouragement (love and generosity) can grow itself. How would you feel if you received a letter or thank you note like this?