The Season of Creation is a month-long prayerful observance, from 1 September to 4 October, that calls the planet’s 2.2 billion Christians to pray and care for God’s creation.
It is a time to reflect on our relationship with the environment — not just “distant” nature, but crucially, the place where we live — and the ways in which our lifestyles and decisions as a society can endanger both the natural world and the humans and other creatures inhabiting it.
The theme for the Season of Creation this year is: “A home for all – renewing the oikos of God.” Oikos, the Greek word for house, means much more than just that. It refers to the household of God, the wholeness of creation.
The most important word in this theme, for me, is the word “all”.
We are invited to examine more deeply the theme: “a home for all,” in a way which honours the whole household of God to which we, as part of creation, belong.
This season offers a space for us to slow down, to rethink our value system, to look at compromises we as humans need to make at a cost, to be able to live safely with all species.
In relation to the above, we have had a misinterpretation of what stewardship is in relation to creation for a very long time. We are not masters or users but sharers and co-creators with the Beloved whom we call God.
Pope Francis wrote in 2019 for the World Day of Prayer for Creation, “We are beloved creatures of God, who in his goodness calls us to love life and live it in communion with the rest of creation.”
What then guides us in our response?
First, the knowledge that this oikos, this household of God, belongs to all. Secondly, our ability to be aware and conscious of our gift and responsibility.
Human beings are part of the oikos and have a right to a home, to safety, to warmth, to food. In achieving these basic rights, however, we also need to look at the rights of all who share this Earth and beyond.
Earth itself is rebelling. It can no longer support our feelings of entitlement, nor our actions as avid consumers. We are called to a conversion of understanding, of letting go of the belief that we are at the pinnacle of creation. Evolution is happening on many levels and we are part of that evolution still unfolding.
Our consciousness is evolving, changing, opening up, becoming more aware of the integrity of life and of its interconnectedness at all levels. If we recognise that the house of God belongs to all creation, to what is our new awareness calling us?
If we are too afraid to follow this awareness with loving action, we will either go backwards or attempt to maintain the status quo. God calls us to risk, I believe, and thus to act with compassion for all. “Perfect love casts out fear.”
In the Scriptures, Abraham was invited to expand his tent to welcome the stranger. This widening of the tent included the tent of his mind and heart.
In the light of this year’s theme, what does your creativity and spirituality call you to do to honour your oikos as it is, and also to expand it in love?
In this sacred moment, therefore, let us immerse ourselves in the oikos of God. We are part of this graced field.
Let us honour all life and respond in whatever way we can to the call of this moment, the Season of Creation.
Colleen O’Sullivan rsj