This is a beautiful message from Rev. Katherina Gea from Wild Church Freson California:
Have you ever paused in a forest or a city park to listen to the sounds of the birds? They are all around us, communicating in languages most of us cannot understand. One story I love about St. Francis of Assisi tells of the humble saint preaching the gospel to the birds. I imagine a flock of sparrows surrounding him, listening and nodding, hearing the gospel of Creator’s love for the whole earth, enfleshed in Jesus. I wonder if the birds preached back in their own tongues, singing good news back to St. Francis and the rest of creation in notes that, perhaps, he could understand.
In Acts 2, when the day of Pentecost came, the Holy Spirit fell over the disciples in Jerusalem and loosened tongues to speak in the languages of Jewish peoples from all over the known world. Wherever the Spirit falls, linguistic and cultural diversity abounds! After the Spirit fell on Pentecost, Peter stood and quoted the prophet Joel (2:28) to the astonished crowds, “‘And in the last days it shall be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh” (Acts 2:17 ESV). All flesh in Joel describes not only humans, but also the more-than-human world. Unique as we are, it seems that we humans are not the only flesh-bearers of the Spirit of God. What if biodiversity, not only linguistic and cultural diversity, is also a sign of the Spirit’s creative outpouring among us? Wherever the Spirit falls, biodiverse life abounds!
“Do not quench the Spirit,” Paul warns in 1 Thessalonians 5:19. The apostle’s warning to those living in the last days is still relevant today. Rachel Carson’s “Silent Spring” came as a wake-up call in 1962 about the impacts of chemical toxins in our environment, a warning about the silencing of birdsong. Environmental protections resulted from a spiritual awakening during that time, and some bird species rebounded, due to human actions. Today, our lives are bound up in systems that are quenching the Spirit through fossil fuel pollution and extraction of the gifts of God’s living earth, stealing from future generations at any cost. Yet an awakening is happening through movements of environmental justice around the world, empowered by the same Spirit that breathes all life into being.
Canticle of the Creatures St. Francis of Assisi
All praise be yours, My Lord, through all that you have made. And first my lord Brother Sun,
who brings the day....
How beautiful is he, how radiant in all his splendour!
Of you, Most High, he bears the likeness.
All praise be yours, my Lord, through Sister Moon and Stars;
In the heavens you have made them, bright and precious and fair.
All praise be yours, my Lord, through Brothers Wind and Air...
All praise be yours, my Lord, through Sister Water, so useful, lowly, precious and pure.
All praise be yours, my Lord, through Brother Fire, through whom you brighten up the night....
All praise be yours, my Lord, through Sister Earth, our mother,
Who feeds us...and produces various fruits with coloured flowers and herbs....
Praise and bless my Lord, and give him thanks,
And serve him with great humility.