Season of Creation message on behalf of the Moderator: 1 Sept - 4 Oct

From doom to bloom

As the Season of Creation rolls around, our initial reaction may be a mix of indifference and malaise. Bombarded by apocalyptic headlines of global heating, extreme weather events, and collapsing biodiversity, it’s easy to shut it all out and put it in the “too-hard basket”. 

This hopelessness or apathy to the possibility of change has a name: doomerism. I owe the title of this message to Jenny Sahng from Climate Club NZ, who talks about the urgent need to get out of the doomer rutt. Why? Because when we lose hope, we become apathetic and stop pushing for change.

Communication is everything. We can frame things within a narrative of fear. We can also frame things within a narrative of hope. Climate campaigners are increasingly aware that the narrative makes all the difference between apathy and action. It’s never too late. It’s never hopeless.

As followers of the risen Christ, we have a distinct advantage. That’s because, the gospel is fundamentally a narrative of hope. As a resurrection people being renewed in the Spirit, we are hardwired for hope, learning to see the world as a place that God is healing, transforming and renewing.

The Season of Creation is an opportunity for us to join with Christians all over the world in giving voice to this hope. Through prophetic prayer and preaching, we can draw the focus away from doomerist headlines to the countless possibilities of change in us, around us, and beneath us.

We may not be able to do it all ourselves. But no one has asked us to. In the church, we are part of the body of Christ all over the world. A trickle of change here and a trickle of change there can become a mighty torrent of justice and peace.

The theme for Season of Creation this year is “let justice and peace flow”, a quote from the prophet Amos. The Season of Creation website has links to many fantastic sources and ideas for worship and action. I warmly commend it to you.

I finish with a story of Flagstaff Community Church in Dunedin, who are quietly getting to work restoring the awa (river) in their backyard. A few years ago, School Creek was uncared for. The water was polluted and full of rubbish. Rats and possums haunted its banks. Through cleaning the creek, pest control, and native tree planting, the creek has gradually been restored. The water quality has improved. Kōura (freshwater crayfish), Tūī, and Pīwakawaka (Fantails) have returned. Not only that, other community groups, including the school, have also gotten on board, fostering friendships and community that weren’t there before.

This is a local story of “justice and peace flowing” – quite literally, in the case of the restored waters of School Creek. This Season of Creation, may we find our prophetic voice to celebrate stories like this as we move together from doom to bloom. 

•    Download the Season of Creation 2023 Celebration Guide and other resources here.

On behalf of the PCANZ Moderator
Rev Dr Jordan Redding
Minister of St Heliers Presbyterian Church
Convener of the Emissions Reductions Workgroup