“The Season of Creation is a splendid opportunity for Christians around the world to embody the communion for which we human earthlings are created, and to do so in the quest for lifeways that build justice among people and allow Earth’s web of life to flourish,” said the Rev. Dr. Cynthia D. Moe-Lobeda, Director of the Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary’s Center for Climate Justice and Faith. The celebration spans Sept. 1 through Oct. 4, shaped as an annual season instrumentally by the World Council of Churches, and is a time for Christians to come together to care for our common home (more).
In interwoven global awareness, local action and prayer, many of us are seeking to embody communion for the sake of God’s good creation. “Time after time a new report, study or press conference calls a ‘code red’ for our planet,” observes Christine Moffett, ELCA Program Director for Environment and Energy. “It is time for less talking about it and more acting about it.”
Significant global decision-makers will be meeting in confluence with Season of Creation dates. New York City hosts the highest-level gathering of the United Nations – the United Nations General Assembly – on Sept. 19-26, 2023. Heads of state meet, including for a “Climate Ambition Summit” on Sept. 20 to accelerate action by all sectors of society to address the increasing threat of climate change. National governments have not done enough to stop global warming in the seven years since the Paris Agreement was signed, relays our Lutheran Office for World Community (LOWC) program director Daniel Pieper from content of the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change March 2023 Synthesis Report. In that context, he notes that UN Secretary General António Guterres said “the world is running out of options to defuse the ‘ticking climate time bomb.'”
As a joint ministry with both the ELCA and Lutheran World Federation (LWF), LOWC colleagues find foundational affirmation from the Twelfth LWF Assembly: “the global ecological crisis, including climate change is, human-induced. It is a spiritual matter. As people of faith, we are called to live in right relationship with creation and not exhaust it.”
Stay attuned to COP28, the 2023 United Nations Climate Change Conference, being held Nov. 30-Dec. 12, 2023, at the Expo City, Dubai. ELCA and LWF presence will be onsite to advance advocacy priorities.
GreenFaith has organized a March to End Fossil Fuels on Sept. 17 in New York City in conjunction with the Climate Ambition Summit. Several of our faith partners and some ELCA congregations and leaders will be participating. Lutherans Restoring Creation (LRC) describes the event as a time to witness “in search of a better way to offer healthy energy to our communities.”
While advocating for global impact is vital, in each of our communities we are aware of the splendor of and the degradation to God’s gift of creation. The ELCA’s most recent social message, “Earth’s Climate Crisis,” reads: “This social message is rooted in our duty to be responsible caretakers of God’s creation. It is motivated by that responsibility and by hope… With God’s help humanity can turn from the present course, take loving and just action, and live more harmoniously within God’s beautiful and verdant creation” (pp. 1-2).
The 2023 Farm Bill reauthorization will have significant impacts for all: those of us with farm-related vocations; those of us who go to supermarkets, farmers markets, SNAP provisions and global food aid for needed provision; and the communities and natural foundations that are needed to feed us into the future. If you didn’t use the Farm Bill background & template letters as an act of advocacy in service to your neighbor on “’God’s work. Our hands.’ Sunday” this year, revisit the resource and consider reaching out to policy makers to influence a policy outcome that can – as Pr. Moe-Lobeda characterized – “allow Earth’s web of life to flourish”.
Many of us sense these times as a “Kairos moment,” a descriptor from the social message of a decisive time in our relationship with God’s creation. In this Season of Creation, let us all join in prayer.
Prayers and other liturgical resources are available around the 2023 Season of Creation theme, “Let Justice and Peace Flow.”
Additionally, LRC has shared a prayer composed by the Rev. Lee Gable and the Rev. Inge Williams called “Sowing the Seeds of Transformation.” It can be found in full online, but here is an excerpt:
O God, whose fingerprint is reflected in every leaf and person,
you have entrusted us with the resources of Creation
And yet we squander your generous life-giving gift as if there is endless supply.
Transform our stewardship from immediate gratification to generational investment.
Inspire in us repentance and encourage our struggle for a just future
As we join you in mending this wounded world and its people
So that the fullness of your Kin-dom dream may become reality for all
Into the ages of the ages.