Each year from September 1 to October 4, the global church celebrates the Season of Creation– a worldwide celebration of prayer and action to protect our common home. This year the theme is “Jubilee for the Earth.” Participants are invited to “consider the integral relationship between rest for the earth and ecological, economic, social, and political ways of living.”
The Jubilee is a biblical concept originating in the Hebrew Scriptures that relates to the concept of Sabbath. Sabbath is a reminder, as Ched Myers, writes of gifts and limits: “the grace of receiving that which the creator gives, and the responsibility not to take too much, nor to mistake the gift for a possession.” Just as Sabbath was to be observed every week, in the 50th year God’s people were to observe the Jubilee, an entire year dedicated to ecological, social, and economic justice. The land was to be allowed to rest, debts were to be forgiven, and slaves released. (See Leviticus 25)
The Season of Creation guide for this year states “Climate change is a result of the intersection of greed, inequality and destruction of God’s earth. The theme of Jubilee is chosen for this year’s Season of Creation as it reflects those three interlocking themes. Jubilee is a time to renounce overconsumption and economic systems based on constant economic growth at the cost of the Earth and those who are poor. Jubilee is a time when those who have consumed the most must make restitution to those who have suffered the most. Jubilee is a time of rest for the land from constant exploitation, to restore ecosystems and people.”
This Season of Creation can we imagine new ways of living that give the earth its rest and ensure abundant life for all creation?
Here are 5 books to inspire you to take action for our common home this Season of Creation:
The Harmony Tree: A Story of Healing and Community – Randy Woodley
Written by Keetoowah Cherokee Randy Woodley, this beautifully illustrated book tells the story of Grandmother Oak. Spared by loggers, she is now living among strange and shallow rooted young trees. As she tells these new trees her story, they listen to her wisdom, and begin to heal and grow strong roots too. It is a children’s book, but well worth the read for adults as well.
Living the Sabbath – Norman Wirzba
If you’re interested in learning more about what it means to observe the Sabbath, this book examines how the practice of Sabbath is actually about learning to delight in the goodness of God’s world in all that we do. Wirzba gives theological context and practical examples to bring the idea of Sabbath to life.
More Powerful Together: Conversations with Climate Activists and Indigenous Land Defenders – Jen Gobby
Written from a Canadian perspective, Gobby interviews climate activists and Indigenous land defenders about the climate crisis, its root causes and how societal change can happen. It is a powerful call to collaborate and build better relationships with each other in order to work towards a better, climate safe world.
The Overstory – Richard Powers
For something completely different, read Richard Powers’ epic ecological ode to trees. In this novel, you are introduced to nine very different characters and how trees have shaped their lives. The storylines eventually weave together to help us understand the wonder of trees, and the urgency of protecting them.
An Altar in the World – Barbara Brown Taylor
This book is on my to read pile this month. Perhaps you’d like to pick it up alongside me. It is a book about spiritual practices that invite us to encounter God in our everyday lives and the world around us.