Rev. Henrik Grape is senior advisor on Care for Creation, Sustainability, and Climate Justice for the World Council of Churches. He shares his reflections on the Season of Creation, observed annually from 1 September to 4 October.
What inspires you most about the Season of Creation during 2020?
Rev. Grape: This year is special in many ways. Everyone, in every country of the world, has been affected by COVID-19. Suddenly, everyone had to change and, for many of us, we had to slow down. To celebrate Season of Creation and jubilee for the Earth in this time, we focus on the importance of understanding the need for creation to rest. COVID-19 has really highlighted how the intensive extractive economy with less ”space” and resilience possibilities for the Earth is dangerous for all of humanity. A year of jubilee helps us to slow down and can help us to change our ways.
What are your hopes for participation by the global fellowship?
Rev. Grape: In these times of the COVID-19 pandemic, I hope that the global fellowship of faith communities can be inspired to take a step back and, together, in a new way celebrate the Season of Creation. I think that COVID-19 has affected our way of thinking and also our spirituality is affected—or it should be! We have seen many ways in which people have shown care and love for neighbors. I think that Season of Creation helps us to stretch this love and care to the creation in a new and deeper way.
How does biodiversity fit into our Season of Creation framework?
Rev. Grape: I think that we started to plan for the theme long before anyone even had a hint of a pandemic. We all saw the importance of stopping the loss of biodiversity since this is really going fast in the wrong direction. Together with climate change, it is one of the most urgent issues we have to deal with. The tradition of jubilee goes very well with the need to stop the loss of biodiversity. Now, from a COVID-19 perspective, it seems that it is even more important when we see how easily a virus can spread since nature and the ecosystem are pressed by a very unsustainable extraction of natural resources.
“Seraphim of Zimbabwe: During Season of Creation, ‘we give back to God everything that he has given to us’ ” – WCC interview (29 August 2020)
“Season of Creation 2020 Celebration Guide, ‘Jubilee for the Earth,’ now available” – WCC news release (28 May 2020)