When I was in Seminary, studying to become a priest, there was never, ever a single class in which we learned about “The Season of Creation.” Not one. Imagine my surprise when I came to this Diocese and learned that there was such a thing. I’m still learning about it!
By my calculations, St. Gregory’s Church has celebrated this little known liturgical season for decades. That’s quite a commitment! I’m not sure what the prevailing wisdom was to begin this innovation, other than it coincided with an increased awareness of the environment and of the role human beings had in changing it –sometimes irretrievably.
I’m glad to know that, 25 years or so later, Creation Season is becoming a ‘thing.’ That is, an honest-to-goodness liturgical and theological nod to God as Creator and to the world as God’s creation. This effort, largely coming from the Church in Australia, has been picked up in denominations across Europe and Africa, and received an extra push from the “Laudato Si” Encyclical on the Environment in 2015. So, it seems, Creation Season is coming into its own, with liturgies, music, policy statements, initiatives and all sorts of ideas about how to participate.
What changed? I’d like to say that we did, but that’s not the case. It’s more like the earth, the panorama around us changed and we began to take notice. We began to notice that things weren’t as pristine as they once were. We began to notice the impact of some of our decisions. We began to notice that some of the basic things we counted on, became hard to get: clean air, water, decent food, unspoiled places for rest and relaxation.
St. Gregory’s Church proudly calls itself a ‘green church.’ This in itself is a result of all those years of participating in Creation Season. It has challenged us on the one hand, to become environmental stewards, using our resources in ways that are ‘green-friendly.’ On the other hand, it has enabled us to become members of GreenFaith, an organization that helps us with programs and advocacy on issues of environmental importance. We embrace Creation Season as part of who we are in the community. We believe awareness leads to action and our belief calls us to care for God’s creation as an act of faith.
I’ll admit that it took me a while to learn that. That caring for the creation is an act of faith. I had to be reminded that the earth has a lot to teach us, if we would only pay attention. I had to become conscious of the fact that I am but a steward of the world God made. I had to be mindful of my actions. I had to find out how to praise God for being ‘marvelously made’! Not everything we need to know is taught in school –or in Seminary. The Good News is that we can always learn. Come, celebrate Creation Season with us!