The first Saturday during Season for Creation, we want to draw attention to and make it a a Walk for future day. This year, this Saturday falls on September 3. Then we encourage everyone - congregations, associations, families - to organize their own Pilgrim's Walk for Future. Go for a walk together, and reflect on the theme for this year's Season for Creation: Listen to the Voice of creation.
Season for Creation is an annual ecumenical celebration when the world's 2.4 billion Christians unite in prayer and action for our planet. Every year from 1 September to 4 October.
Below is a guide for leaders who want to lead a shorter Pilgrim's Walk for Future. If there is something you want to change in the order or replace, it is of course up to you. Good luck!
Listen to nature in wonder
“But ask the animals, and they will teach you,
or the birds in the sky, and they will tell you;
or speak to the earth, and it will teach you,
or let the fish in the sea inform you.
Which of all these does not know
that the hand of the Lord has done this?”
“To listen to the voice of creation, we must recapture the ability to contemplate the beauty of God’s creation. Creation speaks to us eloquently of the glory of God but we fail to contemplate, to listen. The root cause is probably we don’t have the right attitude. That is the basic perspective we need to recover. Recover creation as a temple… as a holy place.” Father Joshtrom Isaac Kureethadam, Coordinator of the Sector of Ecology and Creation
Take a few minutes and stand together in silence. What do you hear?
How many sounds of nature can you detect?
A question for reflection, to take with you on the walk:
Is nature a holy place for you? If not, could it become one?
“How many are your works, Lord!
In wisdom you made them all;
the earth is full of your creatures.”
Walk in silence to the next stop. Before you leave, stand in a circle and pray together the prayer of Saint Birgitta of Sweden:
“In prayer, when we center the cry of the Earth and the cry of those livelihoods who are threatened by habitat loss and climate change, communities of worship can amplify the voices of young people, Indigenous People and affected communities who are not heard in society.”
Rev. Chad Rimmer, Chair of the Ecumenical Season of Creation Steering Committee and Program Executive for Lutheran Theology and Practice for the Lutheran World Federation
Read to the group three examples of wounds, of cries:
Example from the human world: (eg heat waves with unbearable heat)
Example from the animal world: …
Example from nature/ecosystems: …
Share a moment of silence.
Question for reflection, to take into the silent walking:
How could we amplify these cries?
“God, for the sake of life you have given us the earth, our home in cosmos,
it’s beautiful fabric woven together with fragile threads.
Forgive our lack of insight, that we don’t protect it.
Forgive our lack of action, that we don’t nurture it.
Forgive our lack of passion, that we don’t love it.”
Lord, show us the way, and make us willing to follow it.
“We are recovering the sense of wonder at how the world was made, and we need to reclaim the theology of why it was made. We need to listen to creation so that we can move from a theology of plunder back to a theology of wonder.”
Rev. Rachel Mash, Provincial Canon for the Environment in the Anglican Church of Southern Africa
Our worldview consists of a number of stories that affect how we live. Some of them bar us in the necessary transition, for example the story that cheap consumption is the way to happiness.
But we can let our lives create new stories. For example, through buying local food at a slightly higher price we transmit another narrative, that we will get better and more sustainable food if we prioritize local relationships ahead of cheap transactions. Every action says something about who we are and what we stand for. When we put words to the story, the effect is amplified.
Share a moment of silence.
Until the next stop, walk in pairs and share with each other:
What does your vision of a sustainable future look like?
Share something about it - something that moves you and awakens your longing.
Prayer: Lord, show us the way, and make us willing to follow it.
When we can take part in changing the world for the better, our souls rejoice. Deep down we long to leave a more beautiful world behind, for the coming generations. Change is needed on so many levels, but what you and I do in our own lives do matter. Researchers at the University of Leeds have outlined six steps that would radically lower the greenhouse gas emissions of the world - if people in the richer nations would take them.
(The name of the report is “The Future of Urban Consumption in a 1.5°C World”. For inspiration, look at takethejump.org)
The actions describe a more resource-efficient lifestyle than that many of us lead today. No poverty, no insurmountable hardships - but a slightly lower material standard and fewer animal products on the plate. What would these changes mean in your life?
Insert a prayer here, if you want.
Walk in silence, if you’re not yet at the destination.
Which is my next step towards a more sustainable life?
(Do a round and let everyone who wants share something.)
Thank each other for doing this Walk for Future together!
The quotes are from the international launch of Season of Creation 2022: https://seasonofcreation.org/2022/04/04/2022-season-of-creation-listen-to-the-voice-of-creation/