Here is a summer which is gradually coming to an end. Throughout the past weeks, between the stifling heat of July and the more uncertain weather of the weeks of August, comments have not been lacking. Some to remind us that summer often looks like that, with its share of uncertainty and meteorological fluctuation. The others to point out that, however, the heat records broken around the world both on land and in the oceans, not to mention the storms, fires and other floods, often dramatic, still mark this period of a very sad and disturbing record. There are more seasons, proclaim both Sunday commentators and many scientists.
The good news is that in the middle of all this, there is a new season just around the corner. No, I’m not talking about fall, for which we’ll have to wait a few more weeks. No, the season I’m talking to you about is the season for Creation. A time of prayer and commitment for Christians called to mobilize for the safeguard of our planet, the one that Pope Francis so rightly calls “our common home”. This season already has a great story behind it. In 1989, a few months before the Berlin Wall fell, the Orthodox Patriarch Dimitrios I (1914-1991), Primate of Constantinople, taking advantage of September 1, the opening date of the Orthodox liturgical year, launched a prophetic appeal, inviting “every Orthodox and Christian world to raise (…) prayers to the Creator of the world, prayers of thanks for the great gift of the created world, prayers of supplication for his protection and salvation.”
Within the World Council of Churches, this call echoes many of the works and proposals already in progress. Suddenly, in 2007, during the great ecumenical meeting organized in Sibiu, in Romania, the proposal was made to transform this day into a longer period of prayer and mobilization: the season for Creation was born. This has taken place since each year from September 1 to October 4, with the celebration of the feast of Francis of Assisi, the unanimously recognized patron of ecologists of yesterday and today. We will have to wait until 2015 in the Catholic world for Pope Francis to fully give the green light to this initiative.
After thirty years of this long process, where are we? On the Catholic side, there is still a lot to do so that this time really fits into the dynamics of the parishes, which are more concerned in September with the start of the school year and the relaunch of the movements. Unless we decide one day to restore order in our calendars and to develop our community years more around the liturgical calendar than the civil and school ones. With an opening on the first Sunday of Advent, the month of prayer for Creation in September would take its place as a month of welcome and celebration for the communities returning from holidays and in the phase of welcoming newcomers. By placing more emphasis on the wonder and coherence of life than on the often exhausting business of programs and calendars. In my little chapel, we have started to get started on it and it is already bearing great fruit. Why not you?
* Learn more: seasonofcreation.org/fr
Find Dominique Lang’s blog, Churches & ecologies: eglisesetecologies.com.