We begin our observance of the Season of Creation today, September 1, the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation. I share with you the invitation from the ecumenical leaders from around the world to enter this season with awe, hearts and minds for learning, a desire to care for creation, and hope:
The Season of Creation is the annual Christian celebration to listen and respond together to the cry of Creation: the ecumenical family around the world unites to pray and protect our common home.
The Season “Celebration” begins on 1 September, the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation, and ends on 4 October, the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of ecology beloved by many Christian denominations.
This year we will unite around the theme, “Listen to the Voice of Creation.” The Psalmist declares, “The heavens are telling the glory of God; and the firmament proclaims God’s handiwork. Day to day pours forth speech, and night to night declares knowledge…their voice is not heard; yet their voice goes out through all the Earth, and their words to the end of the world.” (19: 1-4) During the Season of Creation, our common prayer and action can help us listen for the voices of those who are silenced. In prayer we lament the individuals, communities, species, and ecosystems who are lost, and those whose livelihoods are threatened by habitat loss and climate change. In prayer we center the cry of the Earth and the cry of the poor. May this 2022 Season of Creation renew our ecumenical unity, renewing and uniting us by our bond of Peace in one Spirit, in our call to care for our common home. And may this season of prayer and action be a time to Listen to the Voice of Creation, so that our lives in words and deeds proclaim good news for all the Earth.
The Psalmist (19: 1-4) acknowledges that hearing the voice of creation requires a kind of listening that is increasingly rare. Within the ecumenical Christian family, there is a diverse range of traditions to help us recover our capacity to hear the voice of creation. Some of the earliest Christian writings refer to the concept of creation as a book from which knowledge of God can be read.
A “book” or a scroll was meant to be read aloud, and therefore, it was a spoken word that was meant to be heard. The scrolls, and books of Scripture were meant to be read aloud, breathed into a community, and heard as proclamation. The Psalmist who declares that creation proclaims God’s handiwork also knows that the book of Scripture perfectly revives the soul, makes the simple wise, rejoices the heart, and enlightens the eyes. (Psalm 19:7-8) The book of creation and the book of Scripture are meant to be “read” side by side.
Worship during this season will center on the theme “Listen to the Voice of Creation,” and we will conclude our observance of the season with a blessing of the animals on October 2.