Season of Creation 2021
A home for all? Renewing the Oikos of God
This year has witnessed not only a pandemic but powerful evidence that Climate Change is real. Communities around the world are feeling its impact in the form of unprecedented flooding, melting permafrost and extreme fire events. Predictably, the poor and marginalised are experiencing the effects of climate change the most. A recent BBC headline read: ‘Madagascar on the Brink of a Climate Change Induced Famine.’
The theme for this year’s Season of Creation is A Home for all? Renewing the Oikos of God. The Greek word oikos has a number of meanings, but it is the root of words such as ecology, and refers to the basic unit of society, the family, and the home. Humans are having a devastating impact on this home. Whether we leave a habitable planet for future generations is the urgent choice that each of us needs to make now.
In a recent statement members of the Season of Creation Advisory Committee said:
The oikos is a home for all but it is now in danger because of greed, exploitation, disrespect, disconnection, and systematic degradation. The whole creation is still crying out. Since the dawn of the Industrial Revolution the geography where we recognise God’s creative power has continued to shrink. Today only scraps of the human consciousness recognise God acting to restore and heal the Earth. We have forgotten that we live in the household of God, the oikos, the Beloved Community. Our fundamental interconnectedness has been at best forgotten, at worst deliberately denied. [i]
It is easy to give way to despair and to wonder what individuals can do. Pope Francis notes the powerlessness that we may feel, but also quotes Friedrich Hölderlin, saying, “Where the danger is, also grows the saving power. That’s the genius of the human story: there’s always a way to escape destruction.” [ii] He continues,
God asks us to create something new…We need a politics that can integrate and dialogue with the poor, the excluded, and the vulnerable, that gives people a say in the decisions that impact their lives. We need to slow down, take stock, and design better ways of living together on this earth. [iii]
This year Season of Creation holds special significance for those of us living in the United Kingdom as the country hosts COP26 this November in Glasgow. Each of us is called upon to speak out and use our collective voice to make certain that world leaders not only talk about taking action, but that they actually do take the urgent action that is needed now.
Recently, my nephew expressed the thought, wouldn’t it be great if in the future we could look back and say that Glasgow is where it all changed, where humanity decided to address the climate crisis with determination and creativity, and to take the necessary action to leave a planet that is habitable for all future generations. In the words of Pope Francis, there is always a way to escape destruction. The time to imagine this future is Now!
You can take action today by signing our Be BOLD petition, urging Boris Johnson to take bold action for our planet. Sign here!
[i] The Season of Creation Advisory Committee, The Season of Creation: Celebration Guide A Home for All? Renewing the Oikos of God 2021, p. 5
[ii] Pope Francis with Austen Ivereigh, Let Us Dream: The Path to a Better Future, p.6