Today we honor the earth – this beautiful, interconnected web of relationships that offers us a space to call home. She deserves far more than one day – she deserves honor and celebration every day – and we need this day to remind us of what we frequently take for granted. We depend on the earth. We are part of that interconnected web of relationships, and being in relationship means we have a responsibility to each other.
Our sacred stories reveal God as an artist, speaking creation into being and shaping all that is seen (and unseen), establishing harmony and goodness. The Book of Genesis contains two different accounts of the creation of human beings, one revealing our nature as God’s image bearers, responsible for caring for the earth and her creatures, and the other connecting our bodies to the dirt of the ground, enlivened by the very breath of God.
My fourth grader has been learning about deforestation and the actions we can take to help. Her class has been fundraising to support an organization that plants trees. She has also been reminding us of the smaller ways our household can make an impact – turning off the lights, not wasting food, eating less meat, being mindful of our water usage, and eliminating single use plastics, to name a few. There’s nothing like the fervor of a nine year old to encourage accountability.
When I reflect on this past year, I’m reminded of how many times I heard from people who were attributing their daily time outside in nature with keeping them grounded and nourishing them with what they needed so they could bear with the effects of social distancing and isolation. Tending to gardens, listening to birds, walking among the trees, taking a quick plunge in the cold ocean…these practices settle our bodies, connect us to the wonder of things, and perhaps help us return to that sense captured in the creation stories – we bear the image of God, we breathe the breath of God, and we’ve been given gifts so that we may care for the earth and her creatures, including each other.
This week we witnessed some of that accountability in the trial for George Floyd’s murder. I know many of us were praying – for George Floyd and his family and friends, for police officers, for civic leaders, for a nonviolent response, and for the healing of the sin of systemic racism. While this is no cause for celebration – George Floyd is dead – this accountability is a step towards justice.
As people of faith, we know we are connected to each other. A mentor of mine used to always say, “You can’t practice God’s love alone.” May we all endeavor to live into our baptismal vow, to “strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being.”
If you’d like to learn about more ways to take action for our earth, please join us on Zoom this Tuesday, April 27th at 6pm for a forum with Ellie Cohen, CEO of The Climate Center, a non-profit working to respond to the climate crisis in California and beyond.