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From Our Bishops

Bishop invites diocese to join Season of Creation

Bishop Andrew Asbil is inviting the diocese to participate in the upcoming Season of Creation, when Christians around the world give particular attention to praying and caring for God’s creation. This annual event is observed from Sept. 1 to Oct. 4.

You can find resources on the Anglican Church of Canada website and on the ecumenical Season of Creation website.

Video text:

In the beginning, when God created the heavens and the earth, the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep, while a wind from God swept over the face of the waters. Then God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. And God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day.

As we continue to listen to the first chapter of Genesis, we hear that day after day, God pulled and pushed and inspired life to put down roots, to sprout, to grow, to take flight, to walk, to gallop, to commune, and to relate to love. And God said it was very good.

And we were formed and created and imbued with breath and reason and likeness, and placed in the garden, to name, to tend, to love and to care for creation. And yet, as the story goes, we took too much, we overreached, we grasped for what was not ours to make our own.

And the next thing we knew the garden was behind us. The peace, the safety, the harmony and accord, the abundance and tranquility were lost. And our journey back was begun.

Paul reminds us that in Christ we are made a new creation, forgiven, set free, turned around toward our neighbour, toward God, toward life, toward creation. And yet, creation is groaning.

As the temperatures rise, we see and hear it everywhere: permafrost thawing in the Arctic, 70 years ahead of projections. Wildfires rage longer and hotter. Floodwaters swell in our cities and agricultural areas. Extreme heatwaves, drought and more intense storms sweep across the globe. We have lost of more than 60% of the world’s wildlife in the past five decades, with species going extinct every day.

As Christians, we are waking up to the fact that this is not just a physical problem, a social problem, an economic one. This is a spiritual problem. We have taken too much, we have overreached, we have grasped for what does not belong to us. We have failed to honour God’s command to care for each other and for creation so that all can flourish. Our sins of greed and selfishness have resulted in the rapacious exploitation of the earth, the waters and the skies.

We are called to pursue the vision of a new heaven and a new earth in which all living creatures can rejoice, where the tree of life bears fruit and foliage for the healing of the nations, where the water of life flows pure and bright through the city for all who thirst. In the face of a global crisis of climate change, it is tempting to lose our hope, to be overwhelmed, to have our arms fall to our sides and say, “It’s too much, what’s the point?”

And yet… in the face of 5,000 hungry souls, in the middle of nowhere, a little boy brought five loaves and two fish, and all were fed. In the face of a wedding feast running out of wine, water was transformed. In the face of a giant named Goliath, David shed the armour and went into the valley with a sling and five smooth stones. And in the face of an uncertain future, Mary said yes to the Angel Gabriel.

It begins with a few small steps, and I invite you – no, I urge you – to do two things. One: Christians around the world are invited to give particular attention to praying and caring for God’s creation as part of the global Season of Creation, observed from Creation Sunday on September the 1st to St. Francis of Assisi Day on October the 4th. This season gives us all an opportunity to lament and to confess, and to pray and to give thanks, to re-commit and to act as faithful stewards of creation. I invite your congregation to join Christians around the globe to immerse yourselves in the time of prayer and reflection, and to make it a part of your yearly liturgical life.

Second: Our diocesan Creation Matters committee is being re-established as a Bishop’s Committee, accountable directly to me, with the mandate to help us as a Diocese to find our voice, to use our minds, our hearts and our souls to move to greater accountability and care for creation in everything we do. I invite you this year as a congregation, during this Season of Creation and beyond, to consider how you can respond to God’s call for us. What is one new thing that you can do for the love of creation? One thing that you can stop doing to help lift the burden, or, one thing you can start doing for the love of life?

As Psalm 96 reminds us, “Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice; let the sea roar, and all that fills it; let the field exult, and everything in it. Then shall all the trees of the forest sing for joy before the Lord, for he is coming.”