As summer draws to a close, we look back upon the beautiful weather we have had here in Bellingham and are grateful for the opportunities we have had to be outdoors, with friends, soaking in the beauty of God’s creation. And now we look forward into the fall with this beauty lingering in our minds, primed to ask how we can continue to steward God’s creation well, how to honor all that is good and beautiful, and how to protect and preserve all creation as good stewards of God’s reign here on Earth.
In 2015, Pope Francis declared September 1 to be a World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation. In the years that have followed, Christians around the world have taken it upon themselves to engage this day with faithful contemplation and action on behalf of the earth and the crisis which faces our global climate. We mark this day again this year by remembering “the Earth is the Lord’s and all that is in it…” (Psalm 24:1). All creation cries out to God, giving glory to God’s goodness and groaning in longing for health and flourishing for all.
As I have prepared for preaching this fall, I have been wondering at how we are to take matters of such present significance and crisis, such as climate change and its effects, and listen to them with the heart of Jesus. I have wondered at how Jesus’ wisdom and teaching can inform our action and engagement with issues of climate science, environmental stewardship, and working with complex geopolitical issues that face humanity today. If the earth is the Lord’s and therefore belongs to Jesus, how do his parables and teachings inform us as disciples in how we act and live today? This an enduring question of the faith and I am acutely aware of its importance today.
What I have found as I have explored the Scriptures and specifically looked at Jesus’ parables is that Jesus offers wisdom to very complex issues. Wisdom that does not bring easy, quick answers. But a way of living that enters into the complexity, rather than shying away; a way of engagement that faces the challenges of science and politics with a grounding in the truth that God’s love can and does work within these issues to lead us to the hope of all creation flourishing.
In the month of September, we will be engaging the question of climate change in our worship each week, through the lens of Jesus’ teaching. We will be worshipping and serving alongside millions of other Christians, around the world, who are choosing to take a proactive step in engaging the wicked problems of environmental disaster from the angle of hope and possibility. We will see that in Jesus’ teachings calls to humility, sacrifice, and urgency that embolden those who follow him to act faithfully and act now.
The Church has faced many great challenges through its history: war, famine, genocide, racism, persecution. The wisdom of Jesus has and will continue to provide us with a lens for how to live amidst all these challenges. And, through it all, the Church has persisted, modeled hope for all humanity and all creation, sought the flourishing and wholeness of all, for the glory of God and for the life of the world. And today, we continue this work, anticipating God’s continued love and faithfulness to us, now and forever. Amen.
Grace and peace,