By Lydia O'Kane
From 1 September to 4 October, Christians all over the world will celebrate the Season of Creation, as well as the Day of Creation on 1 September.
As in past years, both the Conference of European Churches (CEC) and The Council of Bishops’ Conferences of Europe (CCEE), are encouraging Member Churches in Europe to come together over the course of the month to celebrate the “richness of the Christian faith as an expression to protect our common home.
Creation a gift for mankind
In a statement issued by Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, President of CCEE, and Rev. Christian Krieger, President of CEC, Creation is described as “a gift of God for mankind and for all living beings. It is, therefore, our responsibility to protect it as good and reliable stewards, and as faithful servants of God.”
Pope Francis’s call to protect our common home
They point out that Pope Francis, in his encyclical Laudato Si’, underlines, “the urgent challenge to protect our common home includes a concern to bring the whole human family together to seek a sustainable and integral development."
They also stress Pope Francis’s appeal “for a new dialogue about how we are shaping the future of our planet.”
The eminent theologian Jurgen Moltmann, they highlight, calls for “a discernment of the God, who is present in creation through his Holy Spirit,” a discernment that “can bring men and women to reconciliation and peace with nature."
Emphasizing the ecumenical dimension to the Season of Creation, the joint statement gives thanks for the proposal of the late Ecumenical Patriarch Dimitrios I in 1989.
Since that time, the two presidents comment, “the idea of the Season of Creation and its ecumenical spirit has been further confirmed by the European Ecumenical Assemblies organised jointly by CEC and CCEE in Basel 1989, Graz 1997 and Sibiu 2007.”
This year, the Season will be observed in the midst of a global pandemic.
The Coronavirus, the statement reads, has shown “more than ever that we are not isolated from each other and that conditions related to human health and well-being are fragile.”
It goes on to say that the “impact of the pandemic forces us to take seriously the need for vigilance and the need for conditions of sustainable life throughout the earth. This is even more important when considering the environmental devastation and the threat of climate change.”
Jubilee for the Earth
In conclusion, the two presidents invite Christians to celebrate the Season of Creation this year under the heading of Jubilee for the Earth. “The concept of Jubilee,” they note, “is rooted in the Bible and underlines that there must exist a just and sustainable balance between social, economic and ecological realities.”
They also underline that “the lesson from the biblical concept of jubilee points us towards the need to restore balance in the very systems of life, affirming the need for equality, justice and sustainability and confirming the need for a prophetic voice in defence of our common home.”