This Season of Creation, Christians around the world are uniting around the theme, “A home for all? Renewing the Oikos of God.”
They’re placing Abraham’s tent in their communities to symbolize that they welcome all and that they’re committed to creating a home for all during the Season of Creation and beyond.
Below is a template for how your community can host a 2021 Season of Creation prayer service using Abraham’s tent. Share your Season of Creation photos and experiences by emailing us here.
1. Celebrate the theme of the 2021 Season of Creation
Start by reading and sharing the purpose of the 2021 Season of Creation theme and logo. A detailed explanation about the theme and logo can be found below and on page 10 of the 2021 Season of Creation Celebration Guide. View the free guide here.
This year’s logo for the Season of Creation is Abraham’s tent, symbolizing “A home for all”. Abraham and Sarah opened their tent as a home for three strangers, who turned out to be God’s angels (Genesis 18). By creating a home for all, their act of radical hospitality became a source of great blessing.
Abraham’s tent is a symbol of our ecumenical call to practice creation care as an act of radical hospitality, safeguarding a place for all creatures, human and more human, in our common home, the household (oikos) of God.
This Season of Creation, consider pitching “Abraham’s tent” in the church garden or green space as a sign of hospitality for all beings who are excluded. Communities could be invited to pray with and for the vulnerable of the community. Perhaps bring parts of creation into the tent to pray with you. The tent can also be present as a symbol during events or in worship throughout the Season of Creation as a symbol of the community’s intention to create a home for all.
Abraham’s tent would have likely been open on multiple sides, so anyone passing by would feel welcome. The tent is often an emblem of dialogue, especially between monotheistic religions born from Abraham. Today, it is a sign of our interfaith and interdisciplinary call to create safe spaces for dialogue and discernment.
The tent represents a place of shelter or refuge. It links us with the homeless, refugees, and all who are on the move and displaced by the effects of climate change. Psalm 84 reminds us that in God’s house (oikos), even the sparrow finds a home to build a nest and lay her eggs.
In the Gospel of John 1:14, we read that the “the Word became flesh and pitched his tent among us.” The symbol of the tent can remind us of how Jesus came to dwell among us as a sign of God’s love. Love is the root of our faith, which compels us to love our neighbors by tilling and keeping our common home.
The tent is also a sign of simplicity. Particularly among young people, the tent and the backpack symbolize what is essential, sufficiency, living within our means, and travelling lightly upon the Earth. Like nomadic and semi-nomadic people today, Abraham and Sarah knew what it meant to be vulnerable, depending upon the goodness of the land, respecting its rhythms, and living in trust.
The tent is a sign of the grateful pilgrim who knows that as we pass through this life, our footprint must be light upon the Earth.
2. Pope Francis receiving the gift of a tent
Watch Pope Francis receive the gift of a tent to start the 2021 Season of Creation. Explore what that gesture means to you and your community, and how all of us can create a home for all.
3. 2021 Season of Creation prayer
Unite in prayer and give thanks to God by saying the 2021 Season of Creation prayer, which can be found below and on page nine of the 2021 Season of Creation Celebration Guide.
Creator of All,
We are grateful that from your communion of love you created our planet to be a home for all. By your Holy Wisdom you made the Earth to bring forth a diversity of living beings that filled the soil, water and air. Each part of creation praises you in their being, and cares for one another from our place in the web of life.
With the Psalmist, we sing your praise that in your house “even the sparrow finds a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young.” We remember that you call human beings to keep your garden in ways that honor the dignity of each creature and conserve their place in the abundance of life on Earth.
But we know that our will to power pushes the planet beyond her limits. Our consumption is out of harmony and rhythm with Earth’s capacity to heal herself. Habitats are left barren or lost. Species are lost and systems fail. Where reefs and burrows, mountaintops and ocean deeps once teemed with life and relationships, wet and dry deserts lie empty, as if uncreated. Human families are displaced by insecurity and conflict, migrating in search of peace. Animals flee fires, deforestation and famine, wandering in search of a new place to find a home to lay their young and live.
In this Season of Creation, we pray that the breath of your creative Word would move our hearts, as in the waters of our birth and baptism. Give us faith to follow Christ to our just place in the beloved community. Enlighten us with the grace to respond to your covenant and call to care for our common home. In our tilling and keeping, gladden our hearts to know that we participate with your Holy Spirit to renew the face of your Earth, and safeguard a home for all.
In the name of the One who came to proclaim good news to all creation, Jesus Christ.
4. Time of reflection
Whether your prayer service is online or in person, use this time for attendees to reflect on the prayer service, how God is calling them to care for creation, and on the Season of Creation in general. How is God calling you and your community to till and keep the Earth?
5. Praying together
As a group, recite this prayer by Francesco Costa, a Laudato Si’ Animator from Italy.
Come, our Lord!
Pitch your tent among us
so that every day
we welcome your word-giving life
going on breathing
on the church
giving us the strength
to be disciples and continuing to
announce the Gospel
of the universal brotherhood
and welcoming all.
Come, Lord Jesus!
Live the tent among your people
so they meet you
and recognize in your face of son of God
the face of each brother and sister of ours,
living, hoping, fighting and loving.
Come, Holy Spirit!
Help us pitch the tent of our everyday life, in a time of precarity,
let us find shelter and security in it.
Give us the courage to live this place,
symbol of the present, of the “here and now”,
a space which brings us back
to the concreteness of things, to the essential.
Let the world, our common home, the work of art by your hands,
be like a tent ready to welcome all creation!
6. Closing song
At the end of this special and joyful time together, listen to the below song and invite all of those in attendance, either in-person or online, to share their commitment of how they will create a home for all during the 2021 Season of Creation and beyond.
More about the 2021 Season of Creation