Do you recall what were you doing last night (September 22) at 9:04 p.m. EST? Chances are you were not thinking about the astronomical phenomenon taking place on your terrestrial home, planet earth.

Last evening, while all earth’s creatures great and small went about their routine business, change came to the planet unobtrusively in the form of an equinox. An equinox is the only time when both the Northern and Southern Hemisphere experience roughly equal amounts of daytime and nighttime. This second equinox of 2022 marked the seasonal transition of summer to autumn in the Northern Hemisphere. The first one, back on March 20 (which you probably weren’t thinking about either), ushered in the season of spring for those of us living north of the equator.

The changing of the astronomical seasons is one of those routine occurrences of nature that takes place ‘behind the scenes,’ so to speak, and because of that it garners little or no attention. This general lack of awareness of the changing seasons leads us to the gist of this blog post, which deals with a religious season that also flies past most people’s radar screens undetected. I’m referring to the Season of Creation which, I confess, snuck in under my personal radar at the beginning of September.

To learn some of the history and purpose of the event I went to the Season of Creation website which states:
Ecumenical Patriarch Dimitrios I proclaimed 1 September as a day of prayer for creation for the Orthodox in 1989. In fact, the Orthodox church year starts on that day with a commemoration of how God created the world.
The World Council of Churches was instrumental in making the special time a season, extending the celebration from 1 September until 4 October.
Following the leadership of Ecumenical Patriarch Dimitrios I and the WCC, Christians worldwide have embraced the season as part of their annual calendar. Pope Francis made the Roman Catholic Church’s warm welcoming of the season official in 2015.
In recent years, statements from religious leaders around the world have also encouraged the faithful to take time to care for creation during the month-long celebration.
The season starts 1 September, the Day of Prayer for Creation, and ends 4 October, the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of ecology beloved by many Christian denominations. Throughout the month-long celebration, the world’s 2.2 billion Christians come together to care for our common home.”

This year’s Season of Creation theme is Listen to the Voice of Creation. It is meant to be a time of active listening as we put our ears to the earth and hear the groaning of all Creation (Romans 8:22). It’s a season of prayer and action for climate justice and an end to environmental racism and ecological destruction. It’s a time for renewing, repairing and restoring our relationship to God, one another, and all of creation. In celebrating the Season, we are invited and challenged to consider anew our ecological, economic, and political ways of living.

Actively listening to the voice of Creation is no simple task. It is not a part of our modern culture. In his poem, The World is Too Much With Us, William Wordsworth laments that humanity is out of tune (or tone deaf?) with nature because we are so caught up in worldly wealth, power and possessions:
“The world is too much with us; late and soon,
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers;—
Little we see in Nature that is ours;
We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!

Jesus exhorted, “S/he who has ears to hear, let her/him hear!” Such active listening must begin with intercessory prayer to our Creator God. May this closing prayer serve as a catalyst to action as we acknowledge what remains of the Season of Creation and seek to respond to the cries of Creation through all the changing seasons of our lives:

Loving God, even the sparrow has found a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she places her young near Your altar. You are attentive to all you have made. God, who listens to every living thing,
Help us listen as you do.
Loving God, help us provide refuge to every animal and plant with whom we live.
Help us be attentive to all you have made.
God, in whom all creation subsists,

Help us listen as you do.
Loving God, when Jesus cried out and gave up his Spirit, the earth shook and the rocks split. You are known by the whole of creation that listens to you. God, to whom all creation responds,

Help us respond to you.
Loving God, you are present in your creation and seek to heal her wounds. You can be found walking in the garden. Open our eyes to see you, the gardener. God, who is present with your creation,
Help us be present too.
Loving God, we often abandon your creation and cause its wounds. Help us to follow in your footsteps and learn to walk in the garden like you. God, who is present with your creation,
Help us be present too.
Loving God, who hears every voice, knows each cry of injustice, and is attentive to the
suffering of the earth: teach us to listen. Bring healing to our lives, that we may protect the world and not prey on it, that we may listen to the world you have created and not close ourselves off from it. Reveal to us the ways in which we have failed to hear your voice in how we treat the earth. God, who listens to every living thing,

Help us listen as you do.
(from Ecumenical Prayer Service for the Season of Creation – Appended Resource 1)