Running Sept. 1 to Oct. 4, the Season of Creation is a global ecumenical movement that invites Christians “to renew our relationship with our Creator and all creation through celebration, conversion and commitment… to prayer and action for our common home.” An ecumenical steering committee provides resources to support the movement in churches around the world. The theme chosen for 2022 is “Listen to the Voice of Creation,” and the symbol is the burning bush encountered by Moses in the wilderness. As the resources for Season of Creation 2022 state, “The prevalence of unnatural fires are a sign of the devastating effects that climate change has on the most vulnerable of our planet. Creation cries out as forests crackle, animals flee, and people are forced to migrate due to the fires of injustice.”
Creation’s voice is urgent and distressed, because the sound we are hearing is the fires burning across the world. As I write this, the people of Lytton village and Lytton First Nation are once again under threat of evacuation as fire encroaches on their communities. In Europe, the vulnerable are dying in their homes and alpine ice fields are melting under an unprecedented heat wave. People across our diocese continue to clean up shattered trees in the wake of May’s derecho, one of the most destructive storms in Canadian history.
There is another aspect of fire in the story of Moses’ encounter – the fire that burns but does not consume, the fire of God, who hears the cries of the distressed and acts. “I know their sufferings,” God says, “and I have come down to deliver them.” What Moses struggled to understand and accept was that God was sending him to be the prophet; it was through his speech and his action that God would bring justice to the distressed. Moses resisted because he was afraid, because the task was overwhelming. But God convinced him with a promise: “I will be with you.”
We as the Church need to hear that voice, too – the voice that says, “I am sending you and I will be with you.”
There are global resources available at www.seasonofcreation.org to help you plan your worship, learning and prophetic action in this Season of Creation. Individuals and communities are invited to think in terms of prayer, sustainability projects and advocacy. For example: host an ecumenical prayer gathering that unites us as Christians to care for our common home; lead a cleanup project that helps creation thrive; raise your voice for climate justice by participating in an ongoing campaign, such as the fossil fuels divestment movement.
The Bishop’s Committee on Creation Care has also prepared resources for use in our diocese, including a guide to outdoor worship, hymn suggestions and notes on the lectionary readings for each Sunday. The Lent curriculum “Ecological Grief and Creational Hope” can also be adapted for use during the Season of Creation. You can find all these resources at www.toronto.anglican.ca/creationcare.
In this Season of Creation, the burning bush calls us to listen to the voice of creation in its groaning. May our ears be open and our hearts moved to take action, knowing that God goes with us to sustain and renew the life of the earth.