By The Revd Canon Cate Edmonds
Creationtide, or the Season of Creation, is the period in the annual church calendar from 1 September to 4 October, dedicated to God as Creator and Sustainer of life. The theme for the Season of Creation 2023 is “Let Justice and Peace Flow”.
“The prophet Isaiah proclaims: “Listen carefully, I am about to do a new thing, now it will spring forth; will you not be aware of it? I will even put a road in the wilderness, rivers in the desert.” (Isaiah 43: 19) Biodiversity is being lost at a rate not seen since the last mass extinction. The futures of young people are threatened by the cascading impacts of the loss of biodiversity and a changing climate.
The urgency grows and we must make visible peace with Earth and on Earth, at the same time that justice calls us to repentance and a change of attitude and actions. As we join the river of justice and peace with others then hope is created instead of despair.” – The Church of England
We all must have been disturbed by the recent devastation caused by natural disasters in Morocco and Libya. We, of course, can’t put either down to climate change but it focuses the mind on how vulnerable we are when nature appears to be out of control.
Some of the events over the last year have been exacerbated by our lack of care of creation: rising sea levels effecting Small Island States, raging wildfires in Mediterranean Countries and Canada, extensive flooding in Greece and even the US, to list just a few.
The prophet Amos cries out: “But let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream!” Amos 5:24. Where is the justice for many living in those places most effected?
During the G20 meeting of world leaders, Nerendra Modi, the Indian Prime minister says that tackling climate change should not be done at the expense of developing countries, suggesting that the West needs to be more “constructive”. He writes: “Many countries of the Global South are at various stages of development and climate action must be a complementary pursuit.”
The concept of complementary pursuit is, I believe, very helpful. Often when we think of issues around climate change, trying to reach net carbon zero feels almost too overwhelming. Nevertheless, if we are tackling these issues together it may not seem quite so daunting. Working together for the common good is of course what we as Christians are called to do.
In this season of Creationtide, there will be Harvest Celebrations. We will give thanks to God for “all good gifts around us are sent from heaven above”. We will give thanks for the labour of those who have produced the abundance of food we can enjoy. But we must also give thought to those who are struggling to feed their families; in this country due to the economic situation and in many other countries due to climate change, civil disruption and natural disaster. As we give thanks for the joy of creation which we experience let us pray for strength to do our part in stewarding God’s creation and supporting those who are suffering from the effects of climate change which have not been of their making. May this Creationtide be a time for reflection and a commitment to act together to work for peace and justice for all in God’s Kingdom.
Loving God, Lord of heaven and earth, this earth, our home belongs to you. Give us grace to love it as you do. Give us courage to give ourselves, as you do, for the good of all people and all of your creation. Amen.