World Day of Prayer for Creation
2016 marks the start of a global celebration of the World Day of Prayer for Creation, 1st of September. The Orthodox Church has long celebrated this day, last year the Pope called on Catholics to celebrate, and this year the Anglican Communion Environmental Network and the World Council of Churches added to the call.
In the last 40 years, forty percent of land creatures and ocean creatures have been destroyed by human activity. In one generation we have destroyed vast tracts of God’s creation. So we pray and must act.
As Karl Barth said “to clasp the hands in prayer is the beginning of an uprising against the disorder of the world.’
As Christians of all denominations clasp hands across the barriers that divide us, we will begin to see change and action in our churches and communities.
The Catholic Cathedral of St Mary’s hosted a Prayer for the world Day of Creation and invited interfaith leaders and young people to lead the prayers and meditations.
The service was introduced and blessed by Archbishop Steven Brislin, and Lindiwe Van Staden, a young Anglican was the speaker for the day.
Here is her powerful message
“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth…
This is the line I read on the first day of Sunday school. I watched in awe as the children’s eyes lit up while they imagined this mind blowing miracle take place. As a kid I loved the story about the creation, but I never truly understood what my role was, even though the bible explicitly said we as humans are to protect his creation. I never really saw this as my responsibility but rather someone else’s. It was only much later in life when I started to appreciate outdoor expeditions that I truly understood what it meant to be a responsible citizen.
Though the bible talks a lot about caring and being responsible for his creation, it was never a core theme in the teaching while growing up. And maybe that is why I never understood that taking care of his creation was just as much my responsibility as anyone else’s. And now we are facing very difficult times as the world’s resources grow scarcer and our livelihoods are at stake. Becoming an environmentally responsible citizens should be considered more of a way of life that ensures respect for human dignity and peace.
But why is it important to take care of God’s creation? The creation provides us with the physical fibre of our lives: and nature provides us with the good stuff that we use every day single day. Nature gives us food on the table, it provides the material for clothes on our backs, nature is so amazing that it even provides the building material necessary to build our houses and churches. Mother Nature is also a place where God is felt and experienced the closest to man, for each plant and creature has a soul. You can feel God’s presence in the quiet of the Kalahari, the bustling of the forest, and even the roaring and crashing of the seas.
The Creation is a beautiful gift from God and provides us with the basics for our lives, yet it in our modern ways we can so easily and often take it for granted. For God says in Leviticus 18 verse 26 and 28 – if you defile the land, it will vomit you out as it vomited out the nations that were before you.
Our Modern ways has been both a blessing and a curse. For we are born to a knowledge Era and modern technology is at the centre of our day-to day lives. It has championed in providing us with a huge amount of benefits that can aid us to alleviate suffering and create new ways to bring about solidarity among people. However in the same breath, modern technology can also be our down fall for it has made it easier to become alienated from our environment and it has provided us with new ways to plunder the worlds natural resources on mass scale.
We should stop and listen to Mother Nature’s cry as we cannot keep taking from her because soon there will be nothing left. We should care for our creation, become responsible citizens that do not neglect but rather protects and respects the beauty nature has to offer.
I would like to end of with a quote by Richard Nelson – “I’ve often thought of the forest as a living cathedral, but this might diminish what it truly is. The forest is not merely an expression or representation of sacredness, nor a place to invoke the sacred; the forest is sacredness itself. Nature is not merely created by God; nature is God. Whoever moves within the forest can partake directly of sacredness, experience sacredness with his entire body, breathe sacredness and contain it within himself, drink the sacred water as a living communion, bury his feet in sacredness, touch the living branch and feel the sacredness, open his eyes and witness the burning beauty of sacredness”