Thursday, September 1st is the beginning of the Liturgical Year for the Orthodox Church. His All Holiness, Patriarch Bartholomew has asked all Churches to pray for God's creation on this day. The Roman Catholic Church and most Protestant confessions have in recent years decided to follow suit and do likewise.
Scientists and world leaders have been concerned for several years about the impact that such damaging effects as warming temperatures, pollution, deforestation, rising sea levels and other factors have had on this earth since the industrial revolution.
While we may feel that our individual efforts would not help much to alleviate these challenges on a global level, we must remember as Orthodox Christians we have been given the gift of intercessory prayer through our baptism. We should therefore earnestly pray for God's creation, while at the same time expressing fervent repentance for our sinfulness which may have contributed to adversely affecting the wellbeing of the environment we live in.
As we say in the prayer before Holy Communion: "Have mercy upon me and forgive my transgressions both voluntary and involuntary." Let us therefore pray that we will respect His creation in the way He commanded us to.
As Jesus taught: "If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can tell this mountain to move from here to there and it will move." (Matthew 17:20-21). Therefore, never doubt the impact that our earnest prayers may have on the whole planet.
-- Very Rev. Archpriest Terence Baz, D.Min.