Season of Creation Cover
“God so loved the world…” – John 3:16. – This is the start of probably the most well-known verse in the Bible
Sadly, humans have not treated the world that God so loves with great care, and so we are facing degradation of the land, water and eco-systems on which we depend. As Prof Mark Swilling of Stellenbosch University’s Sustainability Institute has noted, “The United Nations Millennium Eco-System Assessment has confirmed for the first time that 60% of the eco-systems that human systems depend on for survival are degraded and that the damage is largely irreversible.” Climate change threatens us with falling crop yields, sea level rise, and a rising intensity of storms, droughts and flooding.
Yet, in the face of this crisis, God’s Spirit is, as ever, always at work.
At the recent Anglican Consultative Council meeting in Auckland, one of the important resolutions taken was about the Season of creation. It includes the following:
3.a in light of alarming ecological trends observed worldwide and to which ACEN’s provincial representatives bear witness in their Report, requests that the Provinces take the following action:
‘to consider the inclusion of a season of Creation in the liturgical calendar’
The Creed reminds us that we confess, “We believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth …” Many churches, including within the Anglican Communion, are now incorporating in their liturgical calender a season to focus on God the Creator. While we have long had seasons to celebrate Jesus Christ in his Sonship at Easter and Christmas, and God the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, we have lacked a time to focus on God as Creator.
This “Season of Creation” was first adopted in 1989 by the Greek Orthodox church and the concept has spread to other denominations. Since then, churches in Australia, Europe, New Zealand, the Philippines, Southern Africa, the USA and elsewhere have taken initiatives and developed liturgical and other material for this period, generally known as the “Season of Creation” or “Time for Creation”.
Most commonly it has been celebrated between Creation Day on September 1 and the feast of St Francis of Assisi on October 4. In this scenario, the four Sundays in September are the core Sundays of the Season of Creation. However, the Season of Creation can also be celebrated appropriately in the Easter Season or at other times in during the Sundays after Pentecost. Alternatively, some congregations have spread the celebration of the four Sundays throughout the church year.
Of course, our acknowledgement of God the creator, Christ the redeemer of creation, and the Holy Spirit as sustainer of life, is integral to worship throughout the church year, and although we hope that caring for creation is a vital dimension of every worship service, the current crisis gives us a particular opportunity to explore in new ways our commitment to being carers of Gods earth.
. There are excellent resources available at:
South Africa: http://acen.anglicancommunion.org/resources/docs/season_of_creation.pdf
Britain and Ireland: http://www.ctbi.org.uk/10/
Please do share other resources with us!!
Rev Dr Rachel Mash
Anglican Church of Southern Africa