An Eastern Christian Approach to Nature and Environmental Care
For the Life of the World: An Eastern Christian Approach to Nature and Environmental Care explores climate change and global ecological issues via the ability of Christianity—one of the world’s most frequently practiced religions—to provide insight. Author Robin Gibbons outlines the tradition of prior Christian involvement in the issue, drawing upon ideas of freely given care and human stewardship of the world. Recently, the issue of climate change and the Christian community’s inability to act against it has been characterized by a disconnect between human life and nature, with the biblical model of human stewardship subsumed by politics, business, and greed. In contrast, this book advocates for embracing an older model of Christian thought, theoretically surmounting the consequences of climate disaster through care and respect for nature.
Chapter 2. Liturgical Insights
I. Worship as a Matrix for Change
In the Eastern worship traditions of the Christian Church there is a rich seam of praise and thanksgiving that places the human in a different form of connection and relationship, not only with God and the world, but also with the cosmos. One has only to look at the iconography of the liturgical environment of the byzantine tradition to see the cosmos and the world of nature replicated in the design and imagery of the frescos, mosaics and icons of the church building itself. This imagery interweaves with powerful correctives in liturgical texts and prayers that prevent those who engage in these acts of worship from becoming too self-centred or too focused on the human condition, for instance, at the prayer of the ‘Little Entrance’, when the book of the Gospels is solemnly processed through the Church to re-enter the icon screen and enter the ‘Holy Place’ the priest prays; ‘Master and Lord, our God, who have established in heaven the ranks and armies of angels and archangels to minister to your glory: at our entrance, make the holy angels enter also, to minister with us and with us to glorify your goodness’.1 Immediately the connection between the divine and human is realised, this is perhaps more important than it first seems, because for the Byzantine Christian the Gospel Book is also seen as the vehicle of Christ,←31 | 32→ the One, who is...
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