Fr Stephen posts a meditation offered by Met. Kallistos Ware. You can read the entire post HERE. The quote below contains the final thoughts of that meditation:
“Do we reflect sufficiently, I wonder, upon the environmental implications of our Lord’s Incarnation, upon the way in which Jesus is ecologically inclusive, embedded in the soil like us, containing within His humanity what has been termed ‘the whole evolving earth story’?
“Do we allow properly for the fact that our Savior came to redeem, not only the human race, but the fullness of creation? Do we keep constantly in mind that we are not saved from but with the world?
“Such, then, is our Orthodox vision of creation; such is our vocation as priests of the created order; such is our Christian reponse to the ecological crisis. Such is the deeper meaning implicit in the words that we say daily at the beginning of Vespers: ‘Bless the Lord, O my soul’.”
I love the thought of Jesus being “ecologically inclusive, embedded in the soil like us.” I am so thrilled that Orthodoxy has such a vibrant understanding of Creation. The Church’s understanding of Christ’s Incarnation provides the ultimate framework for a sound theology of and ministry toward Creation.
In fact, since 1989, much of the Orthodox Church observes September 1, the first day of the Church’s liturgical year, as the Feast of Creation. In a paper called, “Orthodox Liturgy and the Care for Creation,” Bishop Irineu offers the following thought:
“The vocation of humanity, as shown in liturgical theology, is not to dominate and exploit nature, but to transfigure and hallow it. In a variety of ways – through the cultivation of the earth, through craftsmanship, through the writing of books and the painting of icons – humanity gives material things a voice and renders the creation articulate in praise of God.”
Christ’s Incarnation fulfills humanity’s divine mandate in Genesis to be the stewards and caretakers of Creation. He is the ultimate steward of Creation, rescuing both his eternal family of co-stewards and Creation itself from the clutches of brokenness, sin and death. Jesus tramples down death and offers his life, which enables us to embrace our true vocation as Creation’s cultivators and craftsmen that gives it a voice of praise to God.