We are entering a new season in more ways than one. As we move gradually out of summer and feel already the change of air and subtle sense of Autumn arriving, our senses are awakened to the delicate and transient beauty of each season, as well as to the losses – life that can no longer be sustained and nature’s productive generosity that we may never see again – alongside the traumatic devastation wrought by climate change.
It is somehow fitting then, that this first day of the Season of Creation 2022 opens on the ‘World Day of Prayer for Care of the Earth’. It offers us a vital opportunity to stop, look, hear and pray with the beauty of the Earth and Life around us that radiates the presence of God. In this prayer we also carry with us the wounded Earth and all its suffering. A time to review, repent and recognise our hand in the destruction of this, our Common Home.
Thanksgiving for the Earth
Remember the fruits of the earth, for sowing and for harvest.
Remember the dew of the air.
Remember the down-coming of the rains and the waters and the rivers.
Remember the plants and the blooms of every year.
Remember the safety of humans and of animals and of me, your sinful servant.
For the rain, the wind of the sky, seed, plants, the fruit of the trees and also the vineyards,
and for every tree in the entire world,
We are grateful
For the Holy Trinity who brings us to perfection in safety and peace,
forgives us our sins,
brings us up according to their measure that we may grow and prosper through your grace,
who makes the face of the earth to rejoice,
waters her furrows,
lets her grain be abundantly multiplied and makes ready her seed-time and harvest,
We give You thanks
(adapted from the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Pre-Anaphora, and Anaphora of Basil)
Listen to the Voice of Creation
The theme for this year’s Season of Creation is: Listen to the Voice of Creation . “I have heard their cry … I know their sufferings…Come, now! I will send you … I will be with you” (Ex 3:1-12, with the logo of the Burning Bush.
Today, the prevalence of unnatural fires are a sign of the devastating effects that climate change has on the most vulnerable of our planet. Human greed, desertification and land misuse lead to the disintegration of ecosystems, the destruction of habitats, and the loss of livelihoods and species at an alarming rate. Creation cries out as forests crackle, animals flee, and people are forced to migrate due to the fires of injustice that we have caused.
However, the fire that called to Moses as he tended the flock on Mt. Horeb did not consume or destroy the bush.
This was a flame of the Spirit that revealed God’s life sustaining presence. This holy fire affirmed that God heard the cries of all who suffered, and promised to be with us as we followed faithfully to deliverance from injustice. During the Season of Creation, this symbol calls us to listen to the voice of creation, and faithfully respond through worship, repentance and action.
We are asked hear all voices, not just those we want to hear or those we are attracted to, as we enter this new season.
In the introduction to this year’s theme in the Celebration Guide 2022 prepared by the Season of Creation Steering Committee and Advisory Committee, they write:
“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 centre the cry of the Earth and the cry of the poor.
Communities of worship can amplify the voices of young people, Indigenous people, women and affected communities who are not heard in society. Through liturgies, public prayers, symbolic acts and advocacy, we can remember those who are displaced or have disappeared from public spaces and political processes.
Listening to the voice of creation offers members of the Christian family a rich entry point for interfaith and interdisciplinary dialogue and practice. Christians walk a shared path as those who hold different kinds of knowledge and wisdom in all cultures and sectors of life.
By listening to the voice of all creation, humans joined in our vocation to care for our common home (oikos)”.
Entering a new season
The Celebration Guide 2022 for this Season of Creation (see link below) speaks to our very being in how it writes about ‘those voices’ we need to hear and engage with. (See text reproduced here below). Let us enter this new season together.
Many voices are muted in public discourse around climate change and the ethics of Earth-keeping. These are the voices of those who suffer the impacts of climate change. These are the voices of those who hold generational wisdom about how to live gratefully within the limits of the land. These are the voices of a diminishing diversity of more than-human species. It is the voice of the Earth.
The 2022 Season of Creation theme raises awareness of our need to listen to the voice of all creation.
In his encyclical on Faith and Reason, Pope John Paul II recognized that while Christ is the heart of God’s revelation, creation was the first stage of that revelation. The harmonies that emerge when we contemplate the books of creation and Scripture, form our cosmology about who we are, where we are, and how we are called to live in right relationships with God and our co-creatures.
Listening to the voices of our co-creatures is like perceiving truth, goodness or beauty through the lives of a human friend and family member. Learning to listen to these voices helps us become aware of the Trinity, in which creation lives, moves and has its being. Jürgen Moltmann calls for “a discernment of the God who is present in creation, who through his Holy Spirit can bring men and women to reconciliation and peace with nature.”
Christian spirituality is replete with practices that move our bodies to contemplation in words and silence. Liturgical and spiritual practices are accessible from early childhood to adulthood. Cultivating a spirituality of active listening helps us to discern the voices of God and our neighbours amongst the noise of destructive narratives. Contemplation moves us from despair to hope, from anxiety to action!
Faced with the reality of brokenness, suffering and death, Christ’s incarnation and resurrection becomes the hope for reconciling and healing the Earth. The book of Scripture proclaims God’s Word so that we can go into the world and read the book of creation in a way that anticipates this Gospel. In turn, the book of creation helps us to hear the book of Scripture from the perspective of all creation that waits with eager longing for the good news. Christ becomes a key to discern God’s gift and promise for all creation, and particularly those who suffer or are already lost to us.
2022 Season of Creation Prayer (an extract)
In this Season of Creation,
we pray that you would call to us, as from the burning bush,
with the sustaining fire of your Spirit.
Breathe upon us.
Open our ears and move our hearts.
Turn us from our inward gaze.
Teach us to contemplate your creation,
and listen for the voice of each creature declaring your glory.
For “faith comes from hearing.”
Give us hearts to listen for the good news of your promise
to renew the face of the Earth.
Enlighten us with the grace to follow the Way of Christ
as we learn to walk lightly upon this holy ground.
Fill us with the hope to quench the fires of injustice
with the light of your healing love that sustains our common home.
In the name of the One who came to proclaim good news to all creation,
Resources for a new season
- You can download this wonderful Season of Creation Celebration Guide 2022 SOC-2022-Celebration-Guide-Final-English
- Also see Season of Creation Action Calendar Season of creation calendar pdf
And see Protect & heal God’s creation – Presentation Sisters Union North East Ireland (presentationsistersne.ie)