Okay, this one got me hot under the collar some years ago when it was first pushed here in Australia by the Uniting Church and the Lutheran Church. Originally the brain child of Rev. Dr. Norm Habel, it appears to have caught on with the Europeans.
In a news release, the Conference of European Churches has announced that “More space to honour God as Creator and to reflect on the preservation of the environment is needed within the Christian calendar”.
“We have reaffirmed the proposal to establish a ‘Creation Time’ within the Christian yearly calendar,” said the Swiss theologian Lukas Vischer.
The news release says: “Already in 1989 the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople had invited all Christians to celebrate 1 September as a day of thanksgiving for the gift of creation and of prayer for its protection. This Orthodox proposal was picked up by the EEA2 and since then it has been accepted by several churches including various Protestant Churches, and the Roman Catholic Bishops’ Conferences of the Philippines and Italy.”
Well, one day is one thing—and it would never replace have precedence on a Sunday—but the audacity of claiming the Ecumenical Patriarch as their inspiration for this move is astounding! No matter how much he esteems the environmental cause, he would be the very last person to allow any tampering with the Church year for this purpose.
So, what’s my beef with this? It is completely alien to the Church’s liturgical year.
- The Church year is Christological in structure, just as Sunday is. The Church may have special days set aside for special causes, but the focus of the liturgy is always the Paschal Mystery.
- The Church Year has an “historical” structure, anchoring the cycle of the years in the Salvation History of our redemption.
- The Church year has developed organically over time, and is not hospitable to ideological innovation.
I could probably think of some more reasons. So could you. Leave a comment to this effect. I don’t think we need to fear that this will enter our lectionary while Cardinal Arinze is around!