On Monday evening, June 15th, twenty persons gathered at the Care for Creation Center next to the community gardens located on the property of St. Bernardine's Monastery. The presentation was the second in a summer series of talks dedicated to exploring the theme of caring for creation in practical and spiritual terms. This talk was more practical in nature and dealt with learning the basics of how to can, freeze, and dehydrate food. The presentation was given by Sharon MacDonald, a nutrition and food expert who works out of the Blair County Farm Extension office that is a part of the Penn State University Altoona campus. All present learned a great deal about food preservation and took away a number of helpful resources to aid them in their future efforts to preserve the harvest.
As a side note, an interesting question was posed by one one of the attendees. She asked me what the word "creation" meant. Basically, creation is a scriptural term that conveys the Judeo-Christian belief that God is the ultimate source of all that exists. However, this belief goes much further. The term creation also connotes a special mode of relationship between God and all creatures. It implies that as Creator, God maintains at all times a special interest and intimacy toward creation and every creature. God's concern is conveyed throughout the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures and is embodied especially in the covenants that God made with Noah, Abraham, Moses and Jesus. One concrete example of God's concern for creation is God's prescriptions regarding the Sabbath and Jubilee years (c.f., Leviticus 25:1-55). The Sabbath Year was to be observed by the ancient Israelites every 7th year and the Jubilee every 50th year. During these years, the land was to lie fallow, slaves were to be set free, and the debts of the indebted were to be canceled. So powerful and compelling was the vision of universal justice and God's righteousness embodied in the Jubilee year that Jesus himself identified his own ministry as a type of Jubilee event (Lk. 4:18-19). As Christians, we are invited and called to continue announcing and enacting "the year of the Lord's favor" for all creation, especially those creatures, both human and non-human, who are trodden underfoot, marginalized, dispossessed of their daily bread or dignity, or otherwise oppressed. Peace and good! Pat, TOR