A daily study of the Network’s diverse faiths

Jashan of Ardwahisht. In the Fasli and Bastani variants of the Zoroastrian calendar, a religious thanksgiving ceremony to worship Asha, the truth and righteousness cosmic order life force that originates from Ahura Mazda, the creator of the world, and stands in opposition to the falsehood and deceit of Druj. Ahura Mazda is considered to be all-good with no evil emanating from the deity. Jashan of Ardwahisht is held on the day on which the Ardwahisht month-name and day-name dedications coincide. It is virtually impossible in the Gathas, the oldest texts of Zoroastrianism thought to have been composed by Zoroaster, to distinguish between the moral principle of Ardwahisht (Asha) and the life force divinity. Image: en.wikipedia.org.

Caring for God’s Creation (Earth Day). Lutheran annual Lesser Festival, this year an opportunity to reflect on why followers of Christ care about sustainability, environmental justice, climate change and all things related to insects, birds, flowers and soil. When Martin Luther was asked what he would do if the world were to end tomorrow, he replied: “Plant a tree.” Now, the value of pollinators and native plants, composting, recycling, sustainable farming, environmental justice, vegetable gardening and eating local are all of supreme importance. Personal losses and other life moments at this critical time inspire an interest in nature and its healing properties, needing all of us to be devote ourselves to restoring our heaven on earth, with our hands and hearts working together to nurture and restore nature. Since 1970, Earth Day has been momentous and this year’s theme is to Restore Our Earth, focussing not only on how we can reduce our impact on the planet but also on how we might actively repair its ecosystems. Images: lutheransrestoringcreation.org, theatlantic.com.

Prayer We honour and worship the Creator and are called to cherish and care for God’s creation. Every day, we listen to the cry of the Earth and feel it in our hearts. May we all seek ways to heal, restore and renew the creation around us by learning about species extinction, climate change and land and water degradation. Amen

St Arwald of the Isle of Wight (d 686). Feast Day for last Jutish King of the Isle of Wight, the last pagan king in Anglo-Saxon England, and his 2 unnamed Christian sons. Having vowed to give a quarter of the pagan Isle of Wight to Bishop Wilfrid, the Wessex King Caedwalla invaded with merciless slaughter, endeavouring to destroy all the 1,200 families of the inhabitants and replace them with his own Christian followers. Arwald was killed in battle, but his 2 sons escaped to the Great Ytene Forest (New Forest), where they were betrayed to Caedwalla and taken to Stoneham, Southampton. Shortly before they were put to the sword, they were converted to Christianity by Abbot Cynibert of Hreutford (Redbridge), being therefore described by St Bede as the first fruits of the massacre. They are called collectively after the father, St Arwald. Arwald’s unnamed sister, a direct ancestor of Alfred the Great, survived as the wife of the King of Kent. Image: onthewight.com.