Creation Time/Season of Creation won’t be in your own diary, perhaps, for another nine months, though preparations have begun. This has so far involved my assessing the Lectionary readings for September 2020 with regard to their suitability for shaping worship with an environmental slant/bias/commitment/call it what you will.
As someone who, most weeks, preaches with this approach, this bit of ‘subjective’ is going to be the closest to ‘objective’ you will get.
I used a five-point grid:
XXXXX Ideal, with obvious Creation themes
XXXX Some obvious Creation themes
XXX Ok with prompting
XX Struggle: only for consistent writers on Creation
X Part of a set, but not easy.
It might be surprising that ideas like ‘the voice of the Earth’ or references to trees, seas and wildlife are not the only ‘point-scorers’ in such an assessment.
Themes emerging from an intensive reading of these texts are as follows:
Responsibility ( to self, God, world, neighbour ) including the responsibility to move beyond the mess you have made, rather than being overwhelmed by it. Given our (collective) complicity in global damage…. It is responsibility, rather than ‘control’ that God gives to our species in Genesis 1:26
Love for neighbour (taking neighbour rather widely). There’s a very serious need to hear and be shocked by the partisan xenophobia of some of the passages; to grow beyond local parochialism to a global concern. The vital movement in our thinking and praying is from “it” to “who”.
’Payback’ and revenge vs Forgiveness = as enabling power.
Urgency in all things: though set against the disabling idea of ‘already too late’. ( Advent is a time for alertness and urgency: ‘Lord come QUICKLY’ – rather than the luxury of relaxed patience.)
Maybe forgiveness, and the experience of grace will be the key to the most effective Christian environmental witness.
It takes little study of the New Testament to confirm that Jesus’ practice was to liberate with forgiveness first, before evidence of changed life came to light.
Should it be a surprise that the best we have to offer in the state of the world today are also the best expressions of the Gospel of Jesus Christ?
The sheer practicality of making forgiveness/healing/enabling a priority over vengefulness shoes through.
If the one who sings prays twice, then the one will also hurt twice, who insists on suffering and punishment, rather than a more ‘restorative’ sort of justice.