Celebrating Creation: Going Where the Wild Things Are
Does the hawk take flight by your wisdom
And spread its wings towards the south?
Does the eagle soar at your command
And build its nest on high?
It dwells on a cliff and stays there at night,
A rocky crag is its stronghold.
Job 39: 26-28 (NIV)
These questions are those that God put to Job in a great hymn to creation at a time when Job had lost everything. The season of creation invites us all to take a step back from our frenetic or otherwise broken lives to contemplate the natural world in all its raw beauty and wildness. Gaining a greater sense of the life of all creatures helps us in turn to acknowledge our own creatureliness. It also opens our eyes to God’s living spirit at work in all that exists. While we may not see eagles too often, kites are now returning in numbers to the countryside in the United Kingdom. Other stories of recovery abound. Such small changes show that, given a chance, it is quite possible for ecological habitats to recover and renew. In the book of Job, God acknowledges creatures as valuable for their own sake, and not just as instruments for human usefulness. It is time for us to do the same, to feel humbled in the face of the amazing creaturely abundance that is still persistent in our midst, in spite of our misuse, if we choose to look. Such contemplation can provide a source of healing for our woundedness as we begin to recognise that all creation is held by God’s providence.
The global spread of COVID-19 is a reminder not just of the power embedded in this miniscule aspect of creation, but also the need to give due respect to those aspects of the natural world that cannot be fully controlled by human agency. We are not immortal in the face of these powers, yet our actions and lives are entangled with those of other creatures whether we recognise it or not.
The season of creation asks us in a special way not to forget the cry of the earth, bound up as it is in a common cry of those who are poor, who know, often far more clearly than those living in affluent societies, what it means to recognise, acknowledge and affirm our interdependence with all that exists.
Dr Celia Deane-Drummond is Director of the Laudato Si' Research Institute at Campion Hall
Season of Creation
Each year during the month of September, the Christian family unites to celebrate the Season of Creation, a worldwide celebration of prayer and action to protect our common home. This year’s theme Jubilee for the Earth presents an invitation to consider the integral relationship between rest for the earth and ecological, social, and political ways of living.
Jesuit Missions has organised a number of ways that you can get involved and help to create a sustainable legacy for future generations. As well as reflections from around the world, including Fr James Martin SJ and Brother Guy Consolmagno SJ, we’ll be hosting a free Zoom webinar with Amazon activist, Leah Casimero, and Joel Thompson SJ, at 7.30pm Tuesday 22nd September. Register in advance here: https://jesuitmissions.org.uk/season-of-creation-jubilee-for-the-earth/
Check out the Season of Creation website here