4th Sunday of Epiphany [by Rev. Henrik Grape]

1st Reading
Neh 8.1-3,5-6,8-10
2nd Reading
1 Cor 12.12-31a
Luke 4.14-21

1 Cor 12.12-31a

by Rev. Henrik Grape (Church of Sweden)
Senior advisor on Care for Creation, Sustainability and Climate Justice, World Council of Churches.

To be one …

We are one. The diversity in the Creation is rich but we are still one. The diversity of humans is impressive but we are one. The beauty of Creation is reflected in its diversity. In the story of Creation it is repeatedly said it was good. The Hebrew word TOV that is in the Creation story can also mean ‘beautiful’. Creation is beautiful. The diversity is beautiful.

When we gather in the kind of inclusive and open ecumenical spirit, as was experienced this autumn in Assisi at the 1st Ecumenical Prayer Meeting for Creation, it is also good and beautiful. Good, in the sense that we are aiming for a change: to protect and take care of the gift of Creation. Good in our efforts to answer the call to be caretakers of Creation and good in our attempts to change the narrative from a dystopic story about how a fragmented and polarised world destroying our common home to a narrative of hope. Hope that we as humanity can come together. Come together to act for a more just and equitable future.

But it is also beautiful. Beautiful when people come together to rejoice over the gift of life. To find the beauty in the wonder of sharing the gift of life. The beauty in celebration of the Creation that feeds us every day. To be thankful for the oxygen that we inhale and that gives us life in every breath. The beautiful mystery of life on Earth whispers to us that we are one.

In this world where we are facing threats to Creation and we hear the cry of the most vulnerable, humans or other life forms, we must understand that we are one. Today humanity is the most important power on the earth when it comes to the future of the whole planet. The Climate threat, the loss of Biodiversity and other global ecological disruptions can only be solved if we come together as one. We as human beings on this Earth, caretakers of Creation, must understand that we are one. As we are one in Christ. To follow Christ today, to be clothed in Christ today is to see the multitude of traditions as a gift. To see the unity in diversity. A unity that is an answer to a world threatened by climate change. With love and compassion we walk together for a more just and peaceful future. We are one humanity on one earth.

Rev. Henrik Grape