Christian leaders from across the world came together on Wednesday to officially launch the 2022 Season of Creation, the annual ecumenical celebration that unites the world’s 2.4 billion Christians in prayer and action for our common home.
The leaders reflected on the need for all Christians to truly “Listen to the Voice of Creation,” the theme of the 2022 Season of Creation. God’s creation moans ever louder and suffers more every day amidst the ongoing climate emergency and biodiversity crisis.
WATCH: 2022 Season of Creation launch event
Rev. Rachel Mash, Provincial Canon for the Environment in the Anglican Church of Southern Africa, said: “We are recovering the sense of wonder at how the world was made, and we need to reclaim the theology of why it was made. We need to listen to creation so that we can move from a theology of plunder back to a theology of wonder.”
She and the other leaders encouraged all Christians to embrace the ecumenical Season of Creation and recognize how as one global Christian family united for our common home, we can be a force for so much good.
Rev. Chad Rimmer, Chair of the Ecumenical Season of Creation Steering Committee and Program Executive for Lutheran Theology and Practice for the Lutheran World Federation, said: “In prayer, when we center the cry of the Earth and the cry of those livelihoods who are threatened by habitat loss and climate change, communities of worship can amplify the voices of young people, Indigenous People and affected communities who are not heard in society and those who are displaced or have been disappeared from public spaces and political processes.”
But to listen to the voice of creation, we must recapture the ability to contemplate the beauty of God’s creation, said Father Joshtrom Isaac Kureethadam, Coordinator of the Sector of Ecology and Creation at the Vatican Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development.
“Creation speaks to us eloquently of the glory of God but we fail to contemplate, to listen. The root cause is probably we don’t have the right attitude,” he said. “That is the basic perspective we need to recover. Recover creation as a temple… as a holy place.”
Isabell Retamoza, with the National Association of Women Lawyers, spoke of her experiences of listening to marginalized groups and how that can help all Christians build community and take action.
“When you are a young person in these spaces of action and advocacy, [listening is] the first step to becoming really a steward for others and the planet and learning from one another. And that’s something I carry now in my own advocacy work, when I work with other organizations and attorneys, is really to listen, because that is the first step to building coalition and community and then action,” she said.
Rev. Mash invited everyone to remember the children who have had nothing to do with the greenhouse gas emissions scientists say are primarily causing the climate crisis.
“We need to listen to the voice of the young people, particularly those who are not yet able to vote,” she said. “Are we prepared to leave a bleak and barren world to our beloved children and grandchildren?”
To close, Rev. Sikawu Makubalo of Methodist Church from Southern Africa revealed the logo of the 2022 Season of Creation: the burning bush. The bush contrasts the fire of so many unnatural fires that aggravate the climate crisis, with the sign of fire as the light of the Holy Spirit that unites Christians.
As he revealed the logo, Rev. Sikawu Makubalo asked those in attendance: “Are we listening? What are we seeing? Are we moved?”