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SEASON OF CREATION - Sundays, September 4 - October 9

The inception of the Season of Creation (SOC) as a liturgical practice can be traced to Ecumenical Patriarch Dimitrios’ 1989 declaration of September 1st as The Day of Prayer for Creation. In the years that followed, ecumenical partners, including the Lutheran World Federation, worked to develop a sustained time of creation-centred intercessory prayer. The resulting Season of Creation extends from September 1st to October 4th, the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi; in Canada the season is often lengthened to include the Sunday closest to Thanksgiving.

This year’s theme for the Season of Creation, “Listen to the Voice of Creation,” is a response to the Psalmist’s cry, “The heavens are telling the glory of God; and the firmament proclaims God’s handiwork. Day to day pours forth speech, and night to night declares knowledge ... their voice is not heard; yet their voice goes out through all the Earth, and their words to the end of the world” (19:1-4). This theme asks us to take a stance of conscious listening to the human and non-human beings with whom we share our home.

For many of us, this posture of listening necessitates a shift of heart and mind; it requires us to not only acknowledge the voices of other cultures and communities, but to acknowledge non- human beings as having subjectivity, dignity, and mutuality (sharing in action, feeling, and relationship). We are being asked to affirm what the dominant strains of Christianity have often denied: the goodness and vital contribution of each member of God’s creation, human and non- human. The Psalmist makes this affirmation, Jesus makes this affirmation (remember ‘consider the lilies’?), many of our saints and mystics make this affirmation, and Indigenous cultures today call on settler-colonial cultures to remember this affirmation. From such an affirmation, we can begin to see that we have much to learn from ‘all creatures great and small’ and from our human siblings who intimately bear witness to creation’s groaning.

As we listen to creation, the SOC Advisory Committee prompts us to “lament the individuals, communities, species, and ecosystems who are lost, and those who are threatened by habitat loss and climate change”; we are reminded to “centre the cry of the Earth and the cry of the poor,” who are disproportionately impacted by climate change and environmental degradation. The SOC Committee also asks us to remember that these same populations are often on the front lines of activism working for change, and that many of these movements are led by women who put their lives in danger for the sake of our common home. In our prayer and contemplation, we are to discern what action we are called to take, “so that our lives in words and deeds proclaim good news for all the Earth.”

In the context of the ELCIC, both our church and secular calendar help to facilitate this time of contemplation and prayerful action. The fall brings us saint days for Hildegard of Bingen (Sept 17) and Francis of Assisi (October 4). Both saints are renowned for their teachings on creation and spirituality. In our secular calendar, we celebrate Thanksgiving and observe The National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. Framing the latter with the Season of Creation is a reminder that residential schools were one of the policies that helped to facilitate the transfer of land and resources to the Canadian government, at great cost to Indigenous nations and to the detriment of the varied ecological communities that comprise what is called Canada.

As we begin together this time of prayer, may we remember that, as St. Augustine said Creation “is the divine page that you must listen to,” and as Luther said, “God has written [the gospel] not only in books, but in trees and other creatures.” Let us listen to creation, let us listen to the histories that got us here, let us prayerfully consider what science is saying about where we are, and let us listen to the hopes and dreams of our children. Each of these are gifts, and in response we both lament and give thanks in the hope of transformation.

(For more information, and ideas for action see

This post was originally published by the ELCIC Program Committee for Worship and Communication on the Worship website of the ELCIC and compiled and written by Rebekah Ludolph, member of Trillium Lutheran Church.