The Orthodox Church year begins in September. The first month, until the feast of Francis, patron of all things ecology, is dedicated to creation. It is especially important to remember Creation Time this year as the worlds’ leaders prepare to meet in Paris in November for the 21st attempt to make a universal climate agreement. The aim of the conference is to achieve a new international agreement on the climate, applicable to all countries, with the aim of keeping the global temperature rise below 2°C. We’ve been here before and come away empty handed. This really is the issue of our time. The effects of even 2°C warming will be world changing. The current migration crisis will pale into insignificance when sea levels rise enough to cause whole countries to be uninhabitable. Not only will those who suffer unrest or terror be forced to become migrants, many more will end up as guest in foreign lands. The gospel readings throughout September this year speak of Jesus journeying in the company of his disciples encountering all kinds of people in need. This week we hear Jesus challenged by a woman who turns his words back onto him. We hear of a deaf man with a speech impediment brought to him. The journey for Jesus was not without confrontation. Neither will our journey if we are willing to take off our shoes and feel the cry of the earth beneath our feet and of those who dwell on it. To take off ones shoes is to unbuckle ones minds of normal thinking, to un-stopper our ears to the cry of those in pain and to open our mouths both in protest and with words of healing. This is to begin to see the world through the eyes of Jesus.
As we contemplate beginning a shared journey with each other and with the earth.
Take off your shoes and walk a mile in mine.
Walk in step unknowing beside our companions.
Walk slowly alongside those we nurture
Walk with an offer of hospitality and sanctuary to those we meet.
Walk with the inspiration to take a lighter journey
Walk with joy in every season.
Walk on a wide path with those we meet but rarely.
Walk on to catch but a glimpse of those far off.
Walk with kindred spirits from other islands.
Walk with souls connected at the deep down.
Walk on with a shared past, a story of struggle or pain.
Walk offering gifts, or a generous word.
Walk with a conversation picked up from the last journey.
Walk with poets whose words become the path.
Walk with a protest on our lips and a banner in our heart.
Walk with those who hold us in prayer, with those for whom we must pray.
Walk with those who offer a new challenge
Walk close to those who are a challenge.
Walk with a shared chance encounter.
Walk, lives connected, weaving in and out
Walk with those who sing, and with those who we wish would not sing.
Walk as artists gathering the colours of nature
Walk with those we have carried and allow them to carry us in their turn.
Walk with the gentle ones, and those who could learn to be gentle
Walk with a vision to go further than we can go
Walk a woven path with the friends of friends of friends
Walk with those who make us laugh at ourselves
Walk with those whose words will carry us until our walking days are done.
Walk in the company of strangers who at journeys end become friends.