The season of Creationtide, also known as the Season Of Creation, has its origins in the Eastern Orthodox Church which in 1989 declared September 1st as a day of prayer for creation. Over the following decades, as awareness of the present ecological challenges facing our world grew, this single day of prayer developed into a liturgical season running from September 1st to October 4th, the feast day of St Francis of Assisi (the patriot Saint of Ecology). This season of Creationtide has been embraced ecumenically and Christians around the world are encouraged to pray for, and care for, God’s good creation. This is also when we celebrate Climate Sunday and Harvest services in our churches.
If there is maybe one positive aspect that came out of this time of Covid 19, it is that we tread more gentle on God’s creation. The reduced travel by air and land, the reduced pollution from factories etc enabled Mother earth to flourish without the devastating impact we as human beings have on the earth. Many of us forget that the 5th mark of Mission is: To strive to safeguard the integrity of creation, and sustain and renew the life of the earth. We are made in Gods image to do as God does, to create and not destroy, to respect and honour that was made good, to repair and to restore and to be guardians of a better future.
There are many modern day prophets in our midst from whom have we heard the warnings of the climate crisis? It could be communities in the global south, on the frontline of the climate crisis and feeling its effects acutely. Or, has it been activists, who have been campaigning on this issue for years? Voices such as Greta Thunberg’s and David Attenborough? Or, is creation itself the prophetic voice we need to hear? Should we be listening to the pain of wildfires, flooding, tsunamis and earthquakes?
Saint Francis the Patron saint of Ecology said: “Preach the Gospel at all times; and when absolutely necessary, use words.” Francis was all about orthopraxy, or living the Gospel, rather than orthodoxy, or merely verbal beliefs.
As the Church, a global body with brothers and sisters around the world, whom feeling acutely the impact of the climate crisis. Do we listen to these cries? What is our role as local churches sharing this message and addressing it? Please contact your mentor or one of the Green Apostle team members to learn some more.
Rev Daleen ten Cate
Missional Discipleship Mentor for Lancashire & Part of the Green Apostle Team